Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Thoughtful Reminder of Katrina from the President of Tulane University

A Letter From President Scott Cowen

Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends:
Exactly one year ago Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans, ravaging our beloved city and university and forever changing us all.

Due to this monumental disaster, Tulane University became the first major American university in the last century to close its doors for a whole semester. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane our university fought for its survival, and we did survive. It challenged every fiber of our being to recover, but we did recover. We were forced to reconfigure and renew ourselves for the future--academically, physically and financially--and we are in the process of that renewal. We have beaten the odds and look to the future with confidence, determination and a sense of realistic hope born from our strength under fire. Tulanians have been inextricably bound together by the singular desire to renew our university and to rebuild our city.

I hope you will join your fellow Tulanians for a Katrina Remembrance at McAlister Auditorium today at noon. I may be late or miss the ceremony due to an earlier scheduled meeting I and a few others have with President George Bush during his visit to New Orleans on the Katrina anniversary. If I am not with you in person because of this commitment, I can assure you I will be with you in spirit.

My hope for the future rests in all of you--our Tulane family. You have overcome sometimes overwhelming personal adversity, demonstrated your commitment to Tulane and the city and have performed above and beyond the call of duty in the last year. This is why you are my heroes, and this is why we will succeed regardless of whatever challenges the future might hold.

As we pause to remember what happened last year, let us reaffirm our commitment to do whatever it takes in the months and years ahead to continue to renew Tulane and New Orleans. Out of this great tragedy we have an unprecedented opportunity to set an example of "civic engagement" both as an institution and as individuals. In doing so, we will be pursuing a noble endeavor befitting what society expects of us in the academy--to lead with our minds, our knowledge and our actions in order to make the community and world around us a better place.
There could be no better time or reason for us to shine!

Scott Cowen
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