Tulane's purpose is to create, communicate, and
conserve knowledge in order to enrich the capacity of individuals,
organizations and communities to think, to learn, and to act and lead with
integrity and wisdom.
Tulane University, one of the foremost independent national universities in the South, is ranked among the top quartile of the nation's most highly selective universities. With ten schools and colleges that range from the liberal arts and sciences through a full spectrum of professional schools, Tulane gives its students a breadth of choice equaled by few other independent universities in the country. Tulane University's ten academic divisions enroll approximately 8,000 undergraduates and about 5,000 graduate and professional students. The schools of Architecture, Business, Liberal Arts, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Science and Engineering offer both undergraduate and graduate programs. Other divisions include the Schools of Law, Medicine, Social Work, and Continuing Studies. All divisions except the medical complex, which includes a teaching hospital and clinic, are located on Tulane's 110-acre campus in uptown New Orleans.
The University's origins trace back to the founding of the Medical College of Louisiana, the Deep South's first medical school, in 1834. Classes started the next year when 11 students and seven faculty members met in a rented hall; students paid for instruction by the lecture. Born of the desperate need for competent medical care in this region and of the founders' dedication to study and treat "the peculiar diseases which prevail in this part of the Union," the college quickly earned recognition. Soon the medical college merged with the public University of Louisiana in New Orleans, adding a law department and a "collegiate" department that became Tulane College. The university continued building a national reputation. J. L. Riddell, professor of chemistry, built the first successful binocular microscope in 1852. The medical department faculty fought for improved public health and sanitation; and, in 1857, Christian Roselius, an early graduate of the collegiate and law departments, was appointed Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The Civil War forced the University to close. After the war, the University reopened in financial trouble. Total assets, excluding buildings, totaled $4,570.39 in 1866. In the early l880s, Paul Tulane provided a permanent solution by donating more than $1 million "for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral, and industrial education" Tulane had made his fortune in New Orleans before returning to his native Princeton, New Jersey; his gift expressed his appreciation to the city. The 17-member board authorized to administer the Tulane Educational Fund decided to revitalize the struggling University of Louisiana instead of founding a new institution. Paul Tulane concurred, and in 1884, the Louisiana legislature gave the University of Louisiana to the administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund. Tulane University of Louisiana, a private, non-sectarian institution, was born. As a result of its new strength, the University was able to create the Department of Philosophy and Science, which later became the Graduate School, and initiate courses in architecture and engineering. In 1886, Josephine Louise Newcomb founded Newcomb College as a memorial to her daughter, Harriott Sophie. Newcomb was the first degree-granting women's college in the nation to be established as a coordinate division of a men's university. It became the model for other coordinate women's colleges, including Barnard and Radcliffe Newcomb's founding is linked with the World's Industrial and Cotton Exposition which opened in Audubon Park in 1884. Several artisans who came to the New Orleans Exposition to exhibit their own work and see the works of others stayed to establish the arts program, which was at the heart of Newcomb's early curriculum. By the early 1900s, Newcomb pottery had won a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition, its fame had spread across the nation, and young women were engaged in the unusual task of earning an independent living.
In 1894, Tulane moved to its present campus on St. Charles Avenue, five miles by streetcar from its former site in downtown New Orleans. At about the same time, the Richardson Memorial Building was built on Canal Street to house the medical school. Some medical classes were moved to the uptown campus, but clinical teaching remained downtown. The medical school was split between campuses until a major reorganization in the 1960s. For a quarter of a century, Newcomb College had been on Washington Avenue in the Garden District. In 1918 it, too, moved uptown to join other divisions of the university. Around the turn of the century, Tulane's curriculum grew as several new professional schools were established, including the Deep South's first schools of architecture, business, and social work. City officials frequently consulted the College of Technology, which became the School of Engineering, on construction techniques and soil conditions. Engineering alumnus A. Baldwin Wood designed the famous Wood screw pump that helps drain New Orleans in times of torrential rains and flooding. The first student yearbook, Jambalaya, and the first Tulanian, the alumni magazine, were published. The Alumni Association was founded with 800 members, and significant contributions to the University financed new buildings, library holdings, and research facilities. The Middle American Research Institute, founded in 1924, became a pioneer in Central American archaeology and anthropology, excavating and restoring the Mayan village of Dzibilchaltun in the Yucatan.
Since then, research in many disciplines has flowered through the establishment of research centers, including: the Murphy Institute of Political Economy, the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for Bioenvironmental Research, the Tulane Museum of Natural History, and the Amistad Research Center, curator of one of the largest collections in the world of primary source material on American ethnic groups, especially African-Americans.
As early as the 1890s, Tulane offered free lectures and classes to the New Orleans community. This commitment to community service was reaffirmed in 1942 with the founding of University College, now the School of Continuing Studies, which offers adult education and sponsors the annual Summer School.
After World War II, Tulane's Graduate School and the professional programs continued to grow. The university was elected to the Association of American Universities, a select group of over 60 universities with "pre-eminent programs of graduate and professional education and scholarly research" The Tulane Medical Center, now the Health Sciences Center, was established in 1969 to include the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the Tulane University Medical Center Hospital and Clinic. The Health Sciences Center also administers the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana; the F. Edward Hebert Riverside Research Center in Belle Chase, Louisiana; and the International Collaboration in Infectious Diseases Research (ICIDR) Program in Cali, Colombia.
By their very nature, universities are organic, constantly changing in reaction to their people, their immediate environment, and the educational climate in general. Most change occurs slowly, over time; unless, of course, something happens - a hurricane, for example - to speed the process.
In the fall of 2005, following the nation's worst national disaster - Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding - Tulane University was confronted with unprecedented challenges and, if those challenges could be mastered, tremendous opportunities. The administration and the Board of Tulane University were faced redefining and renewing the university for the future. University President Scott Cowen called the resulting plan "the most significant reinvention of a university in the United States in over a century"
The plan outlined four characteristics that define Tulane University
With these four characteristics in mind, an intensive examination of the university's organizational structure was undertaken and ways of maximizing organizational efficiency were identified. The resulting renewal plan has at its center:
Tulane's programs were shaped by the university's direct experience with the unprecedented natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and the experience provided faculty, staff and students with equally unprecedented research, learning and community service opportunities that have had a lasting and profound impact on them, the city of New Orleans, the Gulf Coast region, and other world communities.
Tulane University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, doctorate, and professional degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Tulane University.
Michael A. Fitts
Ana M. López
James M. MacLaren
F. Thomas Luongo
School of Architecture
A.B. Freeman School of Business
Paul A Spindt
School of Continuing Studies
Richard A. Marksbury
Terrence W. Fitzmorris
School of Law
School of Liberal Arts
School of Science and Engineering
Nicholas J. Altiero
Gary L. McPherson
School of Social Work
School of Medicine
M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Libraries and Academic Information Resources
J. Davidson Porter
W. Ross Bryan
Tulane UniversityNew Orleans, LA firstname.lastname@example.org