Tulane University is a private, nonsectarian research university in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is considered the top university and the most selective institution of higher education in the state of Louisiana. From a nationwide perspective, U.S. News & World Report categorizes Tulane as "most selective," which is the highest degree of selectivity the magazine offers. The school is known to attract a geographically diverse student body, with 85% of undergraduate students coming from over 300 miles away.
The school was founded as a public medical college in 1834, and became a comprehensive university in 1847. The institution was privatized under the endowments of Paul Tulane and Josephine Louise Newcomb in 1884. Tulane is the 9th oldest private university in the Association of American Universities, which consists of major research universities in the United States and Canada. The Tulane University Law School and Tulane University Medical School are considered the 12th oldest and 15th oldest law and medical schools, respectively, in the United States.
Alumni include prominent entrepreneurs, founders, and inventors in technology, medical devices, entertainment, retail, mass media, fashion, and public policy; the President of Costa Rica; U.S. State governors; Federal judges (including a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court); U.S. Senators; U.S. Members of Congress (including a Speaker of the House); heads of Federal agencies; two Surgeons General of the United States; U.S. diplomats; at least 23 undergraduate Marshall scholars (which ranks Tulane 18th among all universities and colleges); at least 18 Rhodes scholars; at least 12 Truman scholars; 155 Fulbright scholars; prominent screenwriters; Emmy-award winners; Pulitzer-prize-winning authors; chief executive officers; major law firm partners; university presidents; and living billionaires, including Ricardo Salinas Pliego and David Filo. At least two Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the University.
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 the United States. 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 University of Louisiana, a public university, and the law department was added to the university. Subsequently, in 1851, the university established its first academic department. The first president chosen for the new university was Francis Lister Hawks, an Episcopalian priest and prominent citizen of New Orleans at the time.
The university was closed from 1861 to 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 goods 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 confederate 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 Tulane University of Louisiana. The university was privatized, and is one of only a few American universities to be converted from a state public institution to a private one.
In 1884, William Preston Johnston became the first president of Tulane. He had succeeded Robert E. Lee as president of Washington and Lee University after Lee's death. He had moved to Louisiana and become president of Louisiana State University.
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. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College 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 College. 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.
With the improvements to Tulane University in the late 19th century, Tulane had a firm foundation to build upon as the premier university of the Deep South and continued this legacy with growth in the 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. Tulane was instrumental in promoting the arts in New Orleans and the South in establishing the Newcomb School of Art with William Woodward as director, thus establishing the renowned Newcomb Pottery. The Middle American Research Institute was established in 1925 at Tulane "for the purpose of advanced research into the history (both Indian and colonial), archaeology, tropical botany (both economic and medical), the natural resources and products, of the countries facing New Orleans across the waters to the south; to gather, index and disseminate data thereupon; and to aid in the upbuilding of the best commercial and friendly relations between these Trans-Caribbean peoples and the 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 62 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. It was established in 1912. Tulane's School of Tropical Medicine also remains the only one of its kind in the country. On April 23, 1975, President Gerald Ford 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 Saigon. Ford drew parallels to the Battle of New Orleans, saying that such positive activity could do for America's morale what the battle did in 1815.
A detailed account of the history of Tulane University from its founding through 1965 was published by Dyer.
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 by 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 Great Recession.
In April 2010, the Tulane admissions office reported that it had received 44,000 applications for the class of 2014, breaking the previous record set by the class of 2013. While unable to confirm it, the admissions office stated that "it appears that we have the most applications for the upcoming fall semester of any private university in the country."
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, Texas 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. The storm inflicted more than $650 million in damages to the university, with some of the greatest losses impacting the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and its collections.
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 service learning 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 desire to return to Tulane and serve New Orleans in its renewal.
Tulane's primary campus is located in Uptown New Orleans on St. Charles Avenue, directly opposite Audubon Park, and extends north to South Claiborne Avenue through Freret and Willow Street. The campus is known colloquially as the Uptown or St. Charles campus. It was established in the 1890s and occupies more than 110 acres (0.45 km2) of land. The campus is known both for its large live oak trees as well as its architecturally historic buildings. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. The campus architecture consists of several styles, including Richardsonian Romanesque, Elizabethan, Italian Renaissance, Mid-Century Modern, and contemporary styles. 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. The President's residence is the former home of "banana king" Sam Zemurray, who donated it in his will.
The centerpiece of the Gibson Quad is the first academic building built on campus, Gibson Hall, in 1894. The Schools of Architecture is also located on the oldest section of the campus, occupying all of Richardson Hall. 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 Howard-Tilton Memorial Library was under construction from 2013 to 2016. The library now has two additional floors including the Rare Books room.
The facilities for the Freeman School of Business line McAlister Place and sit next to the Tulane Law School. 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 University'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. In January 2013, ground was broken on Tulane's Yulman Stadium between Reily Recreation Center and Turchin Stadium. Tulane Green Wave Football had played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after Tulane Stadium's demolition in 1980. They now play in Yulman Stadium, opened in September 2014.
After Hurricane Katrina, Tulane has continued to build new facilities and renovate old spaces on its campus. The newest dorm building, Weatherhead Hall, was completed in 2011 and houses sophomore honor students giving it the nickname "SOHO" amongst students. Construction on Greenbaum House, a Residential College, began in January 2013 and was completed by Summer 2014. The 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 2009, the university altered McAlister Drive, a street that ran through the middle of the uptown campus into a pedestrian walkway renamed McAlister Place. The area was resurfaced, and the newly added green spaces were adorned with Japanese magnolias, irises and new lighting. 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.
The graduate housing for Tulane University includes the following:
Tulane hosted an Environmental Summit at its 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%, getting students involved by providing an Energy Smart Shopping Guide and electronics "greening" services from IT. In 2010 Tulane completed its renovation of 88-year-old Dinwiddie Hall, which was subsequently LEED Gold certified. A new residential college, Weatherhead Hall, opened in 2011 as housing for sophomore honors students. The residence – colloquially known as SoHo – has also applied for LEED Gold certification. Tulane received an "A-" on the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card, garnering an award as one of the top 52 most sustainable colleges in the country.
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 15 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.
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.
Tulane is unique among universities in the United States in its academic organization in that all undergraduates are enrolled in Newcomb-Tulane College as well as being registered in the School which houses their major. Newcomb-Tulane College serves as an administrative center for all aspects of undergraduate life at Tulane.
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) freshman seminars called TIDES classes, (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 Health ranks funding to Tulane at 79th. The university is home to various research centers, including the Amistad Research Center.
Overall university rankings and ratings include:
A total of 32,006 applications were received for the freshmen class entering Fall 2016; 8,162 applicants were accepted (25.5%), and 1,856 enrolled. Women constituted 58.4% of the incoming class; men 41.5%.
Among freshman students who enrolled in Fall 2016, SAT scores for the middle 50% ranged from 620-710 for critical reading, 630-710 for math, and 640-720 for writing. ACT composite scores for the middle 50% ranged from 29–33. In terms of class rank, 61% of enrolled freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school classes; 87% ranked in the top quarter. The average high school GPA for incoming freshmen was 3.52.
Tulane’s admitted first-year undergraduate students entering in the Fall 2017 semester represent one of the most diverse and academically qualified incoming classes in the school’s history. Tulane had more than 35,000 applications; 21% of applicants were accepted.
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 between 75 and 100 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 score 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 and David Filo.
After her death in 1999, Lallage Feazel Wall, daughter of interim U.S. Senator William C. Feazel and widow of State Representative Shady R. Wall of West Monroe left $18 million to Tulane to promote "creativity" among university faculty and staff.
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.
Tulane maintains 3,600 beds in 13 residence halls 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. Due to the increasing size of incoming classes, Tulane has allowed a small number of rising sophomores to reside off campus instead of being required to remain in campus housing. Housing is not guaranteed for juniors and seniors.
The Tulane Hullabaloo is the university's weekly student-run newspaper. It is published every Thursday of the academic year, except on holidays, and has received multiple Pacemaker Awards, the highest award in college journalism.
The Tulane Vignette is the university's unofficial weekly satirical online newspaper. It has received multiple awards.
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 Rival is a student-run, online-only publication of opinion, commentary, and satire. It features three sections: campus, culture, and current.
Tube, an acronym meaning Tulane University Broadcast Entertainment, is the university's student-run television station.
The Tulane Literary Society produces an arts, poetry, and prose magazine once a semester called the Tulane Review.
Every fall, usually during homecoming week, Tulane holds a special ceremony for the presentation of the Tulane Ring, the class ring of the school, which is conferred upon students having earned 60 credits or more.
Tulane competes in NCAA Division I as a member of the American Athletic Conference (The American). The university was a charter member of the Southeastern Conference, in which it competed until 1966. Just before leaving the SEC, it had notably become the first conference school to field a black athlete when Stephen Martin, who was on an academic scholarship, played on the baseball team in the 1966 season. Tulane, along with other academically-oriented, private schools had considered forming the "Southern Ivy League" (Magnolia Conference) in the 1950s. Tulane's intercollegiate sports include football, baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's volleyball, men's and women's track and cross country, women's swimming and diving, women's tennis, women's golf, women's bowling, and women's sand volleyball. Tulane's graduation rate for its student-athletes consistently ranks among the top of Division I athletics programs.
Tulane Green Wave teams have seen moderate success over the years. The school's national championships have all come from men's tennis, with one team title in 1959 and multiple singles and doubles titles. The baseball team has won multiple conference titles, and in both 2001 and 2005, it finished with 56 wins and placed 5th at the College World Series. The women's basketball team has won multiple conference titles and gone to numerous NCAA tournaments. The women's volleyball team won the 2008 Conference USA Championship tournament. The Green Wave football team won the 2002 Hawaii Bowl, the 1970 Liberty Bowl, and the inaugural Sugar Bowl. In 1998 it went 12–0, winning the Liberty Bowl and finishing the season ranked 7th in the nation by the AP and 10th by the BCS.
Most administrative and athletic support facilities are located in the Wilson Athletic Center in the center of Tulane's athletic campus. The adjacent area was once home to Tulane Stadium, which seated more than 80,000 people, held three Super Bowls, was home to the New Orleans Saints, and gave rise to the Sugar Bowl. Home football games moved to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when it opened in 1975, and Tulane Stadium was demolished in 1980. The university has committed to upgrading its athletic facilities in recent years, extensively renovating Turchin Stadium (baseball) in 2008, Fogelman Arena (now Devlin Fieldhouse; basketball and volleyball) in 2006 and 2012, and Goldring Tennis Center in 2008. The Hertz Center, a new practice facility for the basketball and volleyball teams that includes athletic training and strength and conditioning rooms, offices, film rooms, and lockers, opened in 2011. Tulane completed construction of Yulman Stadium in September 2014 and began using it for home football games that season.
Tulane is home to many alumni who have contributed to both the arts and sciences and to the political and business realms. For example, from television: Jerry Springer, from literature: John Kennedy Toole, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Confederacy of Dunces, Shirley Ann Grau, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, and Andrew Breitbart, conservative journalist; 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 fine arts: Sergio Rossetti Morosini, artist and conservator; from music: conductor and composer Odaline de la Martinez, who was the first woman to conduct at a BBC Proms concert in London; from government: Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House who famously coordinated the first Congressional Republican majority in 40 years, and Luther Terry, former U.S. Surgeon General who issued the first official health hazard warning for tobacco; from medicine: Michael DeBakey and Dr. Regina Benjamin, President Obama's Surgeon General; from science A. Baldwin Wood, inventor of the wood screw pump and Lisa P. Jackson, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator under President Obama; 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, NASA 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 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. Supreme Court Justices 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, Nick Spitzer, and Melissa Harris-Perry.
Several football alumni play in the National Football League, including 5 time NFL Champion Wide Receiver Max McGee of the (Green Bay Packers) . Mewelde Moore (Indianapolis Colts), Matt Forté (Chicago Bears), Troy Kropog (Minnesota Vikings), Dezman Moses (Green Bay Packers) and Cairo Santos (Kansas City Chiefs).
Several baseball alumni play in the Major Leagues, including Brian Bogusevic (Chicago Cubs), Brandon Gomes (Tampa Bay Rays), Mark Hamilton (free agent), Aaron Loup (Toronto Blue Jays), Tommy Manzella (Colorado Rockies), and Micah Owings (Washington Nationals).
Tulane has been portrayed in several books, television shows and films. Several movies have been filmed at the Uptown campus, especially since tax credits from the state of Louisiana began drawing more productions to New Orleans in the early 2000s. The uptown campus has been host to two movie premieres from 2006 to 2007.
Tulane made some hard decisions after Katrina, and we are not in as difficult position that many institutions are in now. We are conditioned in times like this because of how we have worked so long. Endowment has lost close to 38%, the income off of that is only 6% of our revenue base. The challenge is the endowments whose market value is lower and we cannot pay out on, but generally we are in good shape.