Originally founded in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana, the university was not known by its current name until 1884, when the Louisiana State Legislature ceded control of the institution to the Tulane Educational Fund. To date, it is the only university in America that has been converted from a public to private institution. The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College was founded two years later to educate female undergraduates, and was folded into Newcomb-Tulane College, which now educates all undergraduates, in 2006. The university moved to its present location in 1894.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane University closed for only the second time in its history, canceling its fall semester to allow for renewal and reorganization. The school instituted a public service requirement for graduation, and when classes resumed in the spring of 2006, 93 percent of all students returned to Tulane.
Tulane’s Uptown Campus houses many of the school’s academic buildings, with most of the dormitories clustered in the center. Students can be found relaxing or frolicking in beautiful Audobon Park, which lies across from the administrative building, Gibson Hall. The Newcomb Campus, between Newcomb Place and Broadway, houses Tulane’s performing arts venues. Much of the Newcomb Campus was designed by James Gamble Rogers, who also designed Yale’s campus.
The university has undergone a number of renovations since Hurricane Katrina. In January 2006, Lallage Feazel Wall Residential College opened to students, and Greer Field was renovated and ready for the 2008 baseball season.
The city of New Orleans is one of America’s most treasured locales, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Part of what makes the Crescent City so appealing is its unique mash of cultures: African-American, Creole, Cajun, French, German, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Latino, Spanish, and Vietnamese communities have all had a significant impact on the development and culture of the city.
Oftentimes the city is characterized by jazz, the American art form that was essentially born within its borders. The Jazz Heritage Festival is a popular draw for tourists and locals alike each year. Of course, the annual celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is known as one of the best parties on the planet.
Tulane students are often found in Uptown New Orleans frequenting the Boot, Bruno’s, or the Crepe, all local bars. Since the return of the streetcar, students have been venturing further out into the French Quarter, where they can find a number of bars, restaurants, and live music shows. However, the volume of tourists there can be a turn-off for many students.
The Blarney Stone—Tulane’s version bears no relation to the stone of Irish lore—is currently affixed to a pedestal outside of Stanley Thomas Hall. For many years, the stone was repeatedly stolen and moved by rival engineering and business students.
The Victory Bell was donated by a former governor of Louisiana and used to be rung after Tulane’s athletic triumphs.
Every fall, the Tulane ring is presented to upperclassmen by the president in a ceremony held in Rogers Memorial Chapel.
The Friday night before commencement, students and their families are thrown a classic New Orleans-style party known as Wave Goodbye on the Gibson Quadrangle.
Phillip J. Carrol (1961) is a former CEO of Shell Oil.
David Filo (1988) is a co-founder of Yahoo!
Newt Gingrich (1971) is a former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Jerry Springer (1965) is a colorful television personality and former mayor of Cincinnati.
John Kennedy Toole (1958) wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Confederacy of Dunces.
The Tulane Green Wave, led by a strong baseball squad, have enjoyed significant success in athletics. While the 2007 season was the first in ten years in which the team failed to receive an NCAA tournament bid, the fact that several former players have gone on to play in the Major Leagues is a testament to Tulane baseball’s reputation as a top-notch program.
In 2003, the university reviewed its athletic program and recommitted itself to fielding well-rounded and academically sound NCAA Division I teams. President Scott Cowan helped to create a Presidential Coalition for Athletic Reform, and has been vocal in his criticism of a college sports system that he charges favors the largest and most well-known teams. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane has been rebuilding its athletic program and is set to field 12 teams in fall 2008, with the goal of returning all 16 pre-Katrina teams to action by 2010.
Top Ten: Tulane sports by the numbers
Intramural Sport at Tulane: Ping Pong gains more popularity
Tulane is one of the original “Southern Ivies,” along with Vanderbilt University and Emory University.
Before it was destroyed in 1980, Tulane Stadium was the site of three Super Bowls and the Sugar Bowl. It was also once the home of the New Orleans Saints.
Tulane’s College of Commerce, founded in 1914, is considered the first business school of the South.
Tulane’s thirteen dormitories house a little over half of the undergraduate population.
As reported by our campus rep:
“Most freshmen are placed in the decidedly unpopular Monroe or Sharp. These facilities are in less-than-stellar condition, with the main benefit of living here being that they’re close to the Academic Quad, where all classes are held. In addition, Monroe and Sharp are also near the UC, which is where almost everyone goes to get food.
Since freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, most freshmen move on to Irby and Phelps, the sophomore dorms. Irby and Phelps are often thought of as an extension of Monroe and Sharp, mainly due to the perception that they are also relatively shabby buildings. Irby and Phelps are just a little bit further from the Academic Quad but closer to the mailroom, Bruff Commons (the dining hall), and PJ’s Coffee. Irby and Phelps are suite style, so while residents have roommates, they are connected to four other rooms through the bathroom. This arrangement is ideal for large groups of friends, and their balconies make Irby and Phelps ideal for hanging out with friends and spending time outside without having to go far.
"By the time junior and senior years roll around, most students have either moved off campus or are looking forward to moving into the upperclassman dorms, which include the Willow Residencies, whose hotel-like rooms are quiet and clean. Each floor contains a study lounge and television area. There is a balcony for students to hang out on, and often people can be found sitting there, talking on the phone or reading. Willow isn’t the most social spot, as most of the people who live there are looking for a nice, quiet place to study. The most coveted spots are in Aron Apartments. Most residents are seniors, and each apartment contains three to five people who share a kitchen but enjoy single bedrooms. Willow and Aron are conveniently located near PJ’s, the printing lab, and the student parking lot. They are rather far from the Academic Quad, which can impart the feel of off-campus living to students who still get to enjoy the amenities that come with living on campus.”