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Tulane University (officially The Tulane University of Louisiana or simply TU) is a private, nonsectarian research university located in New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker, United Statesmarker. Founded as a public medical college in 1834, the school grew into a comprehensive university in 1847 and was eventually privatized under the endowments of Paul Tulane and Josephine Louise Newcomb in 1884. Tulane is a member of the Association of American Universities as well as the colloquial Southern Ivy League.


Founding and early history – 19th century

The university was founded as the Medical College of Louisiana in 1834 partly as a response to the fears of smallpox, yellow fever and cholera in America. The university became only the second medical school in the South, and the 15th in the United States at the time. In 1847, the state legislature established the school as the The University of Louisiana, a public university, and the law departmentmarker was added to the university. Subsequently, in 1851, the university established its first academic department.

The university was closed from 1861 till 1865 during the American Civil War. After reopening, it went through a period of financial challenges because of an extended agricultural depression in the South which affected the nation's economy. Paul Tulane, owner of a prospering dry good and clothing business, donated extensive real estate within New Orleans for the support of education. This donation led to the establishment of a Tulane Educational Fund (TEF), whose board of administrators sought to support the University of Louisiana instead of establishing a new university. In response, through the influence of former Civil War general Randall Lee Gibson, the Louisiana state legislature transferred control of the University of Louisiana to the administrators of the TEF in 1884. This act created the contemporary Tulane University of Louisiana. The university became privatized, and is the only American university to be converted from a state public institution to a private one.

In 1885, the university established its graduate division, later becoming the Graduate School. One year later, gifts from Josephine Louise Newcomb totaling over $3.6 million, led to the establishment of the H.marker Sophie Newcomb Memorial Collegemarker within Tulane University. Newcomb was the first coordinate college for women in the United States and became a model for such institutions as Pembroke College and Barnard Collegemarker. In 1894 the College of Technology formed, which would later become the School of Engineering. In the same year, the university moved to its present-day uptown campus on historic St. Charles Avenue, five miles by streetcar from downtown New Orleans.

20th century

In 1901, the first cornerstone was laid for the F.W. Tilton Library, endowed by New Orleans businessman and philanthropist Frederick William Tilton (1821–1890). During 1907, the school established a four year professional curriculum in architecture through the College of Technology, growing eventually into the Tulane School of Architecture. One year later, Schools of Dentistry and Pharmacy were established, albeit temporarily. The School of Dentistry ended in 1928, and Pharmacy six years later. In 1914, Tulane established a College of Commerce, the first business school in the South. In 1925 Tulane established the independent Graduate School. Two years later, the university set up a School of Social Work, also the first in the southern United States.

University College was established in 1942 as Tulane's division of continuing education. By 1950, the School of Architecture had grown out of Engineering into an independent school. In 1958, the university was elected to the Association of American Universities, an organization consisting of sixty-two of the leading research universities in North America. The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine again became independent from the School of Medicine in 1967. Originally established in 1912, it was arguably one of the first public health schools in the United States. Tulane's School of Tropical Medicine also remains the only one of its kind in the country. On April 23, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., spoke at Tulane University's Fogelman Arena at the invitation of Congressman F. Edward Hebert, a representative of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District. During the historic speech, Ford announced that the Vietnam War was "finished as far as America is concerned" - one week before the fall of Saigonmarker. Ford drew parallels to the Battle of New Orleansmarker, saying that such positive activity could do for America’s morale what the battle did in 1815.

21st century

In July 2004, Tulane received two $30 million donations to its endowment, the largest individual or combined gifts in the university's history. The donations came from Jim Clark, a member of the university's board of trustees and founder of Netscape, and David Filo, a graduate of its School of Engineering and co-founder of Yahoo!. A fund-raising campaign called "Promise & Distinction" raised $730.6 million as of October 3, 2008, increasing the university's total endowment to more than $1.1 billion; by March 2009, Yvette Jones, Tulane's Chief Operating Officer, told Tulane's Staff Advisory Council that the endowment "has lost close to 37%", affected by the late-2000s recession.

In August 2009, the Tulane admissions office reported that the undergraduate admissions rate for the class of 2013, at 26.4% , was the lowest in the University's history, the number of applications received (approximately 40,000) was the highest in the University's history, and the percentage of students in the top 10% of their high school class (68%) was the largest in the University's history. The admissions office also noted that the classes of 2012 and 2013, with average SAT scores ranging from the mid 1300s to the mid 1400s , were the most academically qualified in the University's history.

Hurricane Katrina

As a result of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and its damaging effects on New Orleans, most of the university was closed for the second time in its history—the first being during the Civil War. The closing affected the first semester of the school calendar year. The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine's distance learning programs and courses stayed active. The School of Medicine relocated to Houston, Texasmarker for a year. Aside from student athletes attending college classes together on the same campuses, most undergraduate and graduate students dispersed to campuses throughout the U.S.

Facing a budget shortfall, the Board of Administrators announced a "Renewal Plan" in December 2005 to reduce its annual operating budget and create a "student-centric" campus. Addressing the school's commitment to New Orleans, a course credit involving "community service" became a requirement for an undergraduate degree. In 2006 Tulane became the first Carnegie ranked “high research activity” institution to have an undergraduate public service graduation requirement. In May 2006, graduation ceremonies included commencement speakers former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who commended the students for their willingness to return to Tulane and serve New Orleans in its renewal.



The Academic Quad behind Gibson Hall, shaded by many large live oak trees.

Tulane's uptown campus is located on St. Charles Avenue, directly opposite of Audubon Parkmarker, and extends north to South Claiborne Avenue through Freret and Willow Street. It was established in the 1890s and occupies more than of land. The campus is known both for its large evergreen oak trees as well as its architecturally historic buildings. The campus architecture consists of several styles, including Richardsonian Romanesque, Elizabethan, Italian Renaissance, Brutalist Modern, and Ultramodern styles. Though there isn't a coherent building design across the entire campus, most buildings make use of similar materials. The front campus buildings use Indiana White Limestone or orange brick for exteriors, while the middle campus buildings are mostly adorned in red St. Joe brick, the staple of Newcomb College Campus buildings. Loyola University is directly adjacent to Tulane, on the downriver side. Audubon Place, where the President of Tulane resides, is on the upriver side.

Tilton Memorial Hall, home to the Departments of Economics and Political Economy.

The centerpiece of the Academic Quad is the first academic building, Gibson Hall, along with the schools of Architecture and Social Work. The middle of the campus, between Freret and Willow Streets and bisected by McAlister Place and Newcomb Place, serves as the center of campus activities. The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, Fogelman Arena, McAlister Auditorium, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, and most of the student residence halls and academic buildings populate the center of campus. The facilities for the Freeman School of Businessmarker line McAlister Place and sit next to the Tulane Law Schoolmarker. The middle campus is also home to the historic Newcomb College Campus, which sits between Newcomb Place and Broadway. The Newcomb campus was designed by New York architect James Gamble Rogers, noted for his work with Yale Universitymarker's campus. The Newcomb campus is home to Tulane's performing and fine arts venues. The back of campus, between Willow Street and South Claiborne, is home to two residence halls, Reily Recreation Center and Turchin Stadium, the home of Green Wave baseball.

After Hurricane Katrina, Tulane has continued to build new facilities and renovate old spaces on its campus. The newest residence hall, Lallage Feazel Wall Residential College, was completed in August 2005 and took in its first students when Tulane re-opened in January 2006. The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life was renovated to be a green, environmentally friendly building and opened for student use in January 2007. In late November 2008, the university announced that donors are funding the elimination of the street that runs through the middle of the Uptown New Orleans campus in an effort to transform the core of the campus "into a vibrant, pedestrian environment." The street will be replaced with a crushed-granite surface adorned with Japanese magnolias and irises. The project is scheduled for completion in October 2009. The project's blueprint can be viewed here. Coincidentally, in late November 2008 the City of New Orleans announced plans to add bicycle lanes to the St. Charles Avenue corridor that runs in front of campus.

Other campuses

Environmental sustainability

Tulane hosted an Environmental Summit at the law school in April 2009, an event that all students could attend for free. Many students from Tulane’s two active environmental groups, Green Club and Environmental Law Society, attended. These student groups push for global citizenship and environmental stewardship on campus. In 2007 Tulane made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10%, and students help by reading the Energy Smart Shopping Guide and by visiting IT to green-up all of their electronics. Tulane recently received a C+ on the College Sustainability Report Card.


Tulane University, as a private institution, has been governed since 1884 by the Board of Tulane (also known as the Board of Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund) that was established in 1882. There have been 14 presidents of Tulane since then. The board comprises more than 30 regular members (plus several members emeriti) and the university president. In 2008, Tulane became one of 76 U.S. colleges to maintain an endowment above $1 billion.


Schools and divisions

Tulane is organized into 10 schools centered around liberal arts, sciences, and specialized professions. All undergraduate students are enrolled in the Newcomb-Tulane College. The graduate programs are governed by the individual schools.

  • The first architecture courses at Tulane leading to a architectural engineering degree were offered in 1894. Intitially part of the College of Technology, the Tulane School of Architecture was separately formed as a school in 1953. The Tulane School of Architecture ranks 15th nationally for its research performance.

  • The A.B.marker Freeman School of Businessmarker was named in honor of Alfred Bird Freeman, former chair of the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and a prominent New Orleans philanthropist and civic leader. The business school is ranked 44th nationally and 28th among programs at private universities by Forbes magazine. US News & World Report's 2010 edition ranked the MBA program 48th overall. It was ranked 28th nationally and 48th internationally by Mexican business magazine Expansion (August 2007), and 17nd nationally and 24th internationally by AméricaEconomía magazine (August 2008). Its finance program was ranked 10th in the world by the Financial Times. The school ranked 13th nationally for entrepreneurship by Entrepreneur magazine (October 2006).

  • The Tulane University Law Schoolmarker, established in 1847, is the 12th oldest law school in the United States. In 1990, it became the first law school in the United States to mandate pro bono work as a graduation requirement. US News & World Report's 2010 edition ranked the School of Law 45th overall and 11th in environmental law. The school's maritime law program is widely considered to be the best in the United States, with the Tulane Maritime Law Journal being the paramount admiralty law journal of the country. In May 2007, Tulane Law announced a Strategic Plan to increase student selectivity by gradually reducing the incoming JD class size from a historical average of 350 students per year to a target of 250 students per year within several years. Meanwhile, the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 has reportedly led to an increase in student selectivity in and of itself, as applications to law schools across the nation are estimated to have risen by 5% between 2008 and 2009, including a 15% increase at Tulane Law alone.

Newcomb Hall, constructed in 1918.

  • The School of Liberal Arts consists of 15 departments and 22 interdisciplinary programs. All of the departments offer an undergraduate major and minor. Tulane's Latin American studies program was ranked first in the country by the Gourman Report. Tulane's Department of Spanish and Portuguese is ranked second nationally. According to the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, Tulane's French program was ranked 6th in the country. This index ranks departmental faculty at research universities based on their awards, grants, and publications.

  • The Tulane University School of Medicine was founded in 1834 and is the 15th oldest medical school in the United States. Faculty have been noted for innovation. For example, in 1850 J. Lawrence Smith invented the inverted microscope. In the following year John Leonard Riddell invented the first practical microscope to allow binocular viewing through a single objective lens. In 2001 the Tulane Center for Gene Therapy started as the first major center in the U.S. to focus on research using adult stem cells. The school has highly selective admissions, accepting only 175 medical students from more than 9,000 applications. It comprises 20 academic departments: Anesthesiology, Biochemistry, Family and Community Medicine, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, Otolaryngology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychiatry and Neurology, Radiology, Structural and Cellular Biology, Surgery and Urology. In 2008 US News and World Reports ranked the School of Medicine's research at 55th.

  • The Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is arguably one of the oldest public health schools in the U.S. Although a program in hygiene was initiated in 1881, the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was not established until 1912 as a separate entity from the College of Medicine. In 1919 the separate school ceased to be an independent unit and was merged with the College of Medicine. By 1967 the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine reestablished as a separate academic unit of Tulane. In the fall of 2006, the School of Public Health began admitting undergraduate students. US News & World Report's 2007 edition ranked the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine 13th among public health programs.

  • The Tulane University School of Science and Engineering offers degrees in Biological Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Engineering Physics, Environmental Biology, Environmental Science, Geology, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology, Psychology and Early Childhood Development with minors also in Engineering Science and Marine Biology.

  • In 1914 the Southern School of Social Sciences and Public Services was the first training program for social workers in the Deep South. By 1927 the school became a separate program with a two-year master of arts. The Tulane University School of Social Work has awarded the master of social work degrees to more than 4,700 students from all 50 of the United States and more than 30 other countries.

Core curriculum

As part of the post-Hurricane Katrina Renewal Plan, the university initiated an extensive university-wide core curriculum. Three major elements of the university core are (1) TIDES classes which is a freshmen seminar, (2) a two-class sequence for public service, and (3) a capstone experience for students to apply knowledge in their fields of study. Many course requirements of the core curriculum can be certified through Advanced Placement (AP) exams or International Baccalaureate (IB) course credits, or placement exams in English and foreign languages offered by the university during orientation. Some schools have different core requirements (e.g., students in the School of Science and Engineering are required to take fewer language classes than students in the School of Liberal Arts).


Tulane was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1958. Tulane also is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with "very high research activity." For 2007, Tulane reached the highest level of research funding in its history, exceeding $157.5 million. In 2008 Tulane was ranked by the Ford Foundation as the major international studies research institution in the South and one of the top 15 nationally. The National Institutes of Healthmarker ranks funding to Tulane at 79th.


Overall university rankings and ratings include:
  • One of 195 U.S. universities recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching with a "community engagement" classification.
  • US News & World Report's 2010 edition ranked Tulane's undergraduate program 50th overall among "national universities." Tulane has been ranked as high as 34th in the past by USNWR.
  • Forbes magazine ranked Tulane 32nd overall in a study conducted by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
  • Tulane holds four ratings from The Princeton Review: Great College Towns, Best in the Southeast, College With a Conscience, and Happiest Students.
  • In Kaplan/Newsweek's 2008 edition, Tulane was again rated among the "hottest" schools in the nation.


  • 2009 undergraduate applications: 39,928
  • 2009 freshman class size: 1,507
  • SAT scores (middle 50%): 1880–2150
  • ACT scores (middle 50%): 28–32
  • Average SAT/ACT: 1370/31
  • Acceptance rate: 26%
  • 75% of Tulane's student body comes from more than away.
  • 2009 endowment: $807 million (as of June 30), down from $1.04 billion in 2008


The Dean's Honor Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship awarded by Tulane which covers full tuition for the duration of the recipient's undergraduate program. The scholarship is offered to 50 incoming freshmen by the Office of Undergraduate Admission, and is awarded only through a separate application. This scholarship is renewable provided that the recipient maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA at the end of each semester and maintains continuous enrollment in a full-time undergraduate division. Typically, recipients have SAT I scores of 1450 or higher or an ACT composite score of 33 or higher, rank in the top 5% of their high school graduating class, have a rigorous course load including honors and Advanced Placement classes, and an outstanding record of extracurricular activities. Notable recipients include Sean M. Berkowitz, David Filo and Eric R. Palmer.

Student life

The student body of Tulane University is represented by the Associated Student Body (ASB). In 1998, the students of Tulane University voted by referendum to split the Associated Student Body (ASB) Senate into two separate houses, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA). USG and GAPSA come together twice a semester to meet as the ASB Senate, where issues pertaining to the entire Tulane student body are discussed. The meetings of the ASB Senate are presided over by the ASB President, the only student that represents all students of Tulane University.

The Jambalaya, Tulane's yearbook, published annually since 1897, published its last edition (Volume 99) in 1995, because of funding and management problems. In the fall of 2003, the Jambalaya was reestablished as a student club, and in the Spring of 2004, the centennial edition of the Jambalaya was published. The staff now continues to publish a Jambalaya annually. The student-run radio station of the university, WTUL-FM, began broadcasting on campus in 1971.

Tulane maintains 3,350 beds in 11 residence halls and one temporary housing complex on its uptown campus for undergraduate students. Per the Renewal Plan instituted after Hurricane Katrina, Tulane requires all freshmen and sophomores to live on campus, except those who are from surrounding neighborhoods in New Orleans. Housing is not guaranteed for juniors and seniors. Tulane will begin building a new residential college that will have roughly 250 new beds.


Tulane is a member of Conference USA in athletics and an official member of the NCAA Division I. Baseball and women's volleyball are among its stronger sports. In 2008, Tulane reopened Greer Field at Turchin Stadiummarker, a renovated baseball venue for its team. The baseball team consistently ranks among the top 25 in national polls such as Baseball America, USA Today/ESPN, and Collegiate Baseball. In 2001 and 2005, Tulane baseball finished with 56 wins and placed 5th at the College World Series.

The women's volleyball team, which plays in Fogelman Arenamarker, won the 2008 Conference USA Championship tournament. Fogelman Arena was renovated for basketball in the fall of 2006. The Green Wave football team went 12-0 in 1998, winning the Liberty Bowl and finishing the season ranked No. 7 in the nation. The Green Wave also won the Hawaii Bowl in 2002, the Liberty Bowl in 1970, and the 1935 Sugar Bowl. Tulane once used Tulane Stadiummarker on the uptown campus that seated more than 80,000 people, held three Super Bowls, and was the home of the New Orleans Saints and the Sugar Bowl. The football team now plays in the refurbished Louisiana Superdomemarker and occasionally has played at Tad Gormley Stadiummarker.

Tulane also participates in a variety of men's and women's intercollegiate sports such as basketball, track and cross country, swimming, tennis, and golf. Tulane's graduation rate for its student-athletes consistently ranks among the top of Division I athletics programs. Most of the administrative and athletic support facilities (such as weight rooms, training center, locker rooms, conference rooms, and hall of fame displays) are located in the Wilson Athletic Center.

Notable persons

Tulane is home to many outstanding alumni who have contributed to both the arts and sciences as well as the political and business realms. For example, from literature: Shirley Ann Grau, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner; from business: David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo!, and Neil Bush, economist and brother of President George W. Bush; from entertainment Lauren Hutton, film actor and supermodel, and Paul Michael Glaser, TV actor of "Starsky and Hutch"; from government: Luther Terry, former U.S. Surgeon General who issued the first official health hazard warning for tobacco; from medicine: Michael DeBakey, inventor of the roller pump, and Dr. Regina Benjamin, President Obama's Surgeon General; from science A. Baldwin Wood, inventor of the wood screw pump; from sports: Bobby Brown, former New York Yankees third baseman and former president of the American League. A former graduate residence hall on campus was also named for Engineering graduate Harold Rosen, who invented the geosynchronous communications satellite. Douglas G. Hurley, NASAmarker astronaut and pilot of mission STS-127, became the first alumnus to travel in outer space in July 2009.

Tulane also hosted several prominent faculty, such as two members who each won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Louis J. Ignarro and Andrew V. Schally. Other notables such as John Kennedy Toole, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Confederacy of Dunces, Rudolph Matas, "father of vascular surgery," and George E. Burch, inventor of the phlebomanometer in medicine, also were on faculty at Tulane. Five U.S.marker Supreme Court Justicesmarker have taught at Tulane, including Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Tulane has also hosted several prominent artists, most notably Mark Rothko, who was a Visiting Artist from 1956-1957. Currently on the faculty are James Carville and Nick Spitzer.
Several football alumni play in the National Football League, including Patrick Ramsey (Tennessee Titans), J.P. Losman (Buffalo Bills), Anthony Cannon (Detroit Lions), Mewelde Moore (Pittsburgh Steelers), Matt Forté (Chicago Bears), and Roydell Williams (Tennessee Titans). Several baseball alumni play in the Major Leagues, including Andy Cannizaro (New York Yankees) and Micah Owings (Cincinnati Reds).

Image:Corinne_boggs.jpg|Lindy Boggs, former U.S. representative and ambassador who was the first woman to preside over a U.S. major party conventionImage:David Filo.jpg|David Filo, co-founder Yahoo!Image:NewtGingrich.jpg|Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of RepresentativesImage:Regina Benjamin crop.jpg|Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States

Tulane in literature and media

Tulane has been portrayed in several books, television shows and films. Also, several movies have been filmed at Tulane University, especially since tax credits from the state of Louisiana have drawn more productions to the new "Hollywood South" in the late 2000s. Also the uptown campus has been host to two movie premieres from 2006 to 2007.

Notes and references

External links

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