‘Always’ Audacious text

‘Always’ Audacious

The university’s successful Only the Audacious campaign has raised more than $1.5 billion and continues as Always the Audacious, with four key priorities to transform university life.

When Tulane University first launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history — Only the Audacious, the campaign for an ever bolder Tulane — the goal was to redefine what is possible for Tulane’s future. 

Almost six years later, the campaign has raised more than $1.5 billion, which has helped improve almost every aspect of the university. Now, the momentum shows no sign of slowing as President Michael A. Fitts announced that the campaign will continue as Always the Audacious.

The new iteration of the campaign will focus on four key priorities: empowering the university’s world-class research enterprise, continuing to transform the holistic undergraduate student experience, sustaining excellence in Tulane’s ascendant athletics program, and fueling a major expansion of the university’s campus in downtown New Orleans.

“Tulanians are rewriting the narrative of what our university can achieve and what our student experience can be,” Fitts said. “Thanks to the unwavering commitment and support from alumni, parents and friends across the globe, we will continue this extraordinary trajectory of ambition, momentum and expansion together.” 

The campaign will support 21st-century advances in climate, river and coastal sciences, emerging infectious diseases, brain health, healthy aging, health equity and much more while expanding and increasing lab spaces and infrastructure for clinical trials and translational research.   

“Tulanians have come together like never before, unlocking achievements and initiatives undreamed of when Only the Audacious started,” said Cathy and Hunter Pierson, campaign co-chairs and Board of Tulane emeritus administrators. “We are entering a new era, and we are able to do so because the Tulane community has embraced the vision for the university’s limitless future.”

As Always the Audacious launches, Tulane is one of the most selective universities in the country with its incoming classes continually breaking records for academic quality and diversity. In addition, its faculty are receiving national recognition and honors at an astonishing rate and attracting more research funding than ever — an increase of 70 percent in the last six years. The university is also in the midst of a transformative, once-in-a-generation physical expansion on both its uptown and downtown campuses.

“Tulane’s current growth is historic, fueled by the audacious spirit of our community and our commitment to making a global impact. Let’s continue this extraordinary momentum and create a future where anything is possible,” said Richard Yulman, co-chair of Only the Audacious.

“…the Tulane community has embraced the vision for the university’s limitless future.”

Cathy and Hunter Pierson, Campaign Co-chairs

Tulane’s physical growth that will continue under Always the Audacious is truly historic and includes such major completed projects as Mussafer Hall, The Malkin Sacks Commons, The Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex, a new TUPD station on Broadway Street, the Small Family Collaboration Hub and more. 

Current components of this effort include: River and Lake Residence Halls, which opened this semester as the first installment of The Village, a complex of five new residence halls; Steven and Jann Paul Hall, the new home for the School of Science and Engineering; and expansion and modernization of Richardson Memorial Hall, home of the Tulane School of Architecture. 

Powered by Always the Audacious, Tulane will also dramatically expand its downtown campus, with approximately $600 million being invested in new construction and enhancements, including a revitalization of the Charity Hospital building and repurposing of the Tulane Medical Center building. 

The downtown campus will become a thriving center of cutting-edge research and innovation featuring a new nursing program, the Tulane Innovation Institute, clinical research programs, educational space for students as well as graduate programs in public health, social work, professional advancement and medicine, and new research space.

Innovation Institute exterior with colorful umbrellas decorating doorway

Innovation Institute

Tulane’s strong academic standing is known nationwide, but now the university can help students, faculty and other Tulanians turn our tradition of academic excellence into viable businesses that solve global problems. In 2022, Tulane established the Tulane University Innovation Institute (TUII), which seeks to act as a combined technology and startup accelerator that will unite entrepreneurs and investors. With a lead gift from the Priddy Family Foundation, TUII’s the Robert L. Priddy Innovation Lab — named for alumnus Robert Priddy, who graduated from Tulane in 1969 — will drive its commercialization efforts and elevate promising technologies. Additional support for TUII came from David Mussafer (B ’85) and his wife, Marion; David Barksdale (TC ’00) and his wife, Stephanie; Carol Lavin Bernick (NC ’74), chair of the Board of Tulane; Walter Isaacson, the Leonard A. Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane, and his wife, Cathy; and Jeffrey Silverman (A&S ’89), and his wife, Amy.

Tony Hu stands in a lab with equipment
Tony Hu

Research: Tony Hu

Tulane’s world-class faculty is at the forefront of leading innovative research and projects that address society’s most pressing issues. Among the faculty is Tony Hu, director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Diagnostics, and professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Microbiology. Made possible by Celia Weatherhead (NC ’65), who leads the Weatherhead Foundation and is an emeritus member of the Board of Tulane, Hu has been invested as the inaugural Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Biotechnology Innovation at the School of Medicine. Through the Weatherhead professorship, Hu will continue to lead pioneering research, which has already produced novel scientific discoveries such as tuberculosis testing using nanotechnology and AI, a COVID-19 blood test, and most recently, a test that can detect both HIV and tuberculosis at the same time. Authoring more than 65 studies, Hu has been awarded the Innovation Award at the 2021 Tulane Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Awards, and was the recipient of the Galaxy Award at this year’s awards for his groundbreaking work.

law books and close up of white coats

Scholarship Impact

Always the Audacious supports several student scholarships, expanding the opportunities for students from all backgrounds and fields of study. Rowan Bienes, a first-generation college student in the Class of 2024 at Tulane Law School, said throughout her higher education journey, she has leaned heavily on the goodwill of those who offered scholarships. “Without the Thomas J. Andre Memorial Scholarship, the financial barrier to attending law school would have been insurmountable,” she said. Bienes, who plans to focus on civil or human rights law, participated in an internship with an organization that rewrites criminal justice policies in an effort to decrease discrimination and improve criminal justice system outcomes. She plans to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves. “Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that work,” she said.

blue image of research on computer screen
Brain Institute

Brain Institute

Tulane could already claim more than 30 years of successful neuroscience research when a generous lead gift from Bill (E ’81, E ’83) and Marta Marko helped establish the Tulane Brain Institute in 2016. The Markos recognized the university’s critical need for an interdisciplinary center that would bring together faculty members to address the study of human memory, cognition and neurodegeneration. Today, the Tulane Brain Institute combines expertise across several Tulane schools and units to treat and prevent conditions and diseases of the brain. Encouraged by the Brain Institute’s early successes, the Markos continued their support by contributing to the institute’s Spark Innovation Research Fund, which resulted in research awards that, in turn, led to millions of dollars of National Institutes of Health funding for Tulane.

2 members of sailing team sail boat on water
Athletics: Sailing

Athletics: Sailing

Tulane’s athletic excellence is not slowing down, and thanks to a lead gift from longtime Tulane supporters Board of Tulane member Libby (NC ’84) and Robert Alexander, Tulane’s sailing program has grown in its success on several fronts. With the generosity of the Alexanders, the university’s sailing club was elevated to intercollegiate varsity status during the 2018-19 academic year. Their investments, in partnership with Community Sailing New Orleans (CSNO), aided in the construction of the Community Sailing Center, the home of Tulane’s varsity sailing program. Since then, the Green Wave notably won the 2022 ICSA Open Dinghy National Championship, expanding Tulane’s rich sailing history as the university earned a national championship in 1974 and has had several alumni compete as Olympic athletes. The Alexanders furthered their support this summer through a gift to help build a new multipurpose headquarters, which will be named the Libby and Robert Alexander Community Sailing Center. The center will continue to serve as the home for Tulane sailing and expand the operations of CSNO, which strives to make sailing accessible to the local community.

(Contributions by Alicia Serrano Bilich, Faith Dawson, Molly McCrory)