Dean's Message – Fall 2012

Fall 2012 | Nicholas J. Altiero, Dean

Nicholas J. Altiero, Ph.D.In the last issue of this Newsletter, I reported that the School of Science and Engineering was anticipating a record number of incoming students in Fall 2012 and that it appeared that fiscal year 2011-12 would end with record numbers for the School in research funding and publication/patent activity. I am now pleased to report the results. This Fall, Tulane University welcomed 1651 first time freshmen. Of that number, 476 have declared majors in science or engineering disciplines, more than 34% of the incoming undergraduate students who have declared majors to date. At the graduate level this fall, the number of doctoral students in SSE has increased by 6% , to 320, and the number of masters students by 12%, to 120. There are now more than 2150 students enrolled in SSE academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Fiscal year 2011-12, which ended on June 30, 2012, brought us more than $23 million in funded research, a nearly 70% increase over the previous year, and a whopping 21 faculty and student invention disclosures, more than the prior three fiscal years combined! And alumni and friends have responded to our vision for the School with close to $6.2 million in gifts this past year, a 44% increase over the prior fiscal year. Needless to say, we are all very proud of the continuing success of our School.

However, this academic year also has begun on a very somber note as we have all been shocked and saddened by the devastating injury suffered by Tulane football player, Devon Walker. Devon has been a wonderful example of what it means to be a student-athlete: a starting safety on Tulane's football team and a senior, majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology, with aspirations for a career in the medical field. Since the accident, I have heard from a number of faculty members who know Devon well and who have had him in class. Without exception, they speak of a highly-motivated and deeply-committed young man with a passion to excel and a spirit of teamwork. Here is some of what I have heard from them. "He is the kind of student that you like to teach, engaged, attentive and interested. He works hard, knows that his education is important and does the work. To me that is what a student athlete is supposed to be. He got it right." "He just kept looking forward about what he could do to achieve his goals. He was able to apply his teamwork skills to studying and working well with the group." "After a disappointing grade, Devon would come back with twice the effort and commitment. He was never discouraged and his grades would always rebound quickly." Devon Walker is clearly a special young man and the entire Tulane community is pulling for him to rebound quickly so that he can continue on a path to the success he so richly deserves. To support Devon and his family at this difficult time, please see the site that has been set up on his behalf at

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