Scott Cowen didn't have green hair that would come later when he addressed the parents and alumni who filled Dixon Hall on Friday (Oct. 8), but he was filled with Tulane spirit at his annual town hall meeting during homecoming festivities.
The Tulane president radiated optimism about the university and its home city in his presentation, “Five Things You Should Know About Tulane University.” One of the five things, appropriately, was “Becoming Greener,” a discussion of the environmental initiatives under way on campus, including the newly renovated and energy-efficient Dinwiddie Hall.
Hundreds of visitors descended on the uptown campus on Friday for the start of homecoming and parent and family weekend. Cowen, who sported green hair at Saturday's (Oct. 9) football game against Army, opened his Friday morning town hall session with a buoyant tone. After weathering Hurricane Katrina, the economic downturn and the BP oil spill, he said, “We have not let one of those shocks defeat us.”
Student-interest and quality was first on his list of five top things about Tulane. Enrollment is at its fourth-highest level in the university's history, with many students drawn to Tulane because of its public-service graduation requirement. Last year, undergraduates performed more than 300,000 hours of community work “and that speaks to their character,” he said.
Cowen also spoke about $100 million physical development projects now under way, including a new residence hall on the uptown campus. Another new residence hall is planned “in the next couple of years,” he said, and a 10-year building program of $1.1 billion is being contemplated.
“A university of discovery,” detailing the growth in research funding, and the new Tulane Empowers fundraising program also drew mention. Tulane Empowers will raise funds to expand community engagement in areas of health care, public education and urban initiatives.
“We're a university trying to serve our community and communities around the world,” he said, adding a note of thanks to parents and alumni: “We wouldn't be on the trajectory we are today if it weren't for you.”