4 years in: Mike Fitts in review

Edwin Wang, Staff Writer

When Tulane announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook would be the university’s 2019 commencement speaker, many Tulanians felt a sense of pride in securing such an accomplished individual at our university.

Czars Trinidad | Senior Staff Artist

Indeed, having Cook, a leader of one of the world’s most innovative firms, as Tulane’s commencement speaker is inspiring for Tulanians striving to make an impact in this new generation.

While Cook is praiseworthy for his steady business stewardship and cutting-edge ideas, his connection to Tulane is a result of one Tulanian’s zeal not only to increase the university’s impact in New Orleans, but on the global stage as well.

As you can probably guess from the title of this article, this Tulanian is our very own President, Mike Fitts.

Fitts has conspicuously pushed ahead with his fundraising plan, “Only the Audacious,” seeking to raise $1.3 billion for the university. In recent years, Tulane has shattered unprecedented fundraising records, an impressive accomplishment few university leaders can add to their resume.

Fitts’ financial achievements for Tulane do more than just add juice to his resume. As Tulane seeks to further its presence in both the local and global community, Fitts’ efforts have succeeded in acquiring the assets necessary to make an impact. Transforming a university into a changemaker requires an arsenal of resources, and Fitts has seemingly done everything in his power to acquire them.

Furthermore, Fitts’ actions speak much louder than his words. Unlike many institutional leaders, Fitts is easily approachable and readily accessible on campus. It is a common occurrence to see Tulane’s president strolling through the Academic Quadrangle or down McAlister Drive. As students, we often take this opportunity for granted.

Of course, no leader’s tenure is perfect. Fitts continues battling demanding on-campus challenges including staggering sexual assault rates and calls for increased diversity in Tulane’s student body. These issues undoubtedly take time to resolve, but incremental progress on concerns as critical as these is not enough.

If Fitts was as audacious in tackling these communal struggles as he is for his fundraising campaign, perhaps the environment on campus would be brighter. In all fairness, however, it seems clear that Fitts values the wellbeing and success of every Tulanian, and hopefully he is successful in building on strides made in these fronts.

As Tulane delves deeper into the 21st century, this institution is fortunate to have a leader with the vision of Fitts. Fitts has ambitious goals for both the university and its students. He recognizes a diversified, wide-ranging education is critical for success in this new era of outreach and expansion. With time, it can be said with confidence that the potential realization of Fitts’ dreams for Tulane will make the university a more impactful force in both New Orleans and around the world.

Actions always speak louder than words, and when it comes to making a difference, the saying is no different. Tulane must be up for the challenge if we seek to best it. Thanks to Fitts, we are on that track.

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