Tulane's history dates back to 1834, when the Medical College of Louisiana was founded to serve the rapidly expanding city of New Orleans.
Tulane began as a private university in 1884 when the public University of Louisiana was reorganized and named in honor of benefactor Paul Tulane, a wealthy merchant who bequeathed more than $1 million to endow a university "for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral and industrial education." A native of Princeton, New Jersey, Paul Tulane had made his fortune in New Orleans and his gift expressed his appreciation to this Southern city on the Mississippi River.
In 1886, the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for Women was established as part of Tulane. The university moved to its present campus on St. Charles Avenue in 1894, but medical school classes were held on the uptown and downtown campuses until the 1960s. The Tulane University Health Sciences Center in downtown New Orleans now includes the School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, while the Tulane National Primate Research Center is in Covington, Louisiana.
Research in many disciplines has flourished at Tulane through the establishment of centers such as the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Middle American Research Institute, the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, the Murphy Institute, the Tulane Cancer Center, the Tulane Center for Gene Therapy and the Newcomb College Institute for Research on Women.
In the fall of 2005, following the nation's worst national disaster, Hurricane Katrina, Tulane was confronted with unprecedented challenges and, if those challenges could be mastered, tremendous opportunities. The administration and the Board of Tulane University 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."
A broad-based Renewal Plan was adopted which has at its center a focus on an exceptional undergraduate program that is campus and student-centric as well as a dedication to the holistic development of students. In addition, Tulane's undergraduate core is surrounded and strengthened by superb graduate, professional and research programs that build on the university's historical strengths and distinctive characteristics.
The university is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a select group of the 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada offering "pre-eminent programs of graduate and professional education and scholarly research." Tulane is ranked by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a university with "very high research activity." Of more than 4,300 higher educational institutions rated by the foundation, Tulane remains in a prestigious category that includes only 2 percent of universities nationwide.
Did You Know?
Tulane University hosted the first Clinton Global Initiative on campus in Spring 2008.