One hundred years ago this month, some very exciting things were happening at Tulane University. In August 1914, the Board of Tulane had voted to establish a college of business administration if, and only if, the business community could guarantee the college’s initial operating expenses. That resolution set off a flurry of activity in the community as individuals and companies stepped up to donate to the cause. At its next monthly meeting — Sept. 14, 1914 — Tulane’s board acknowledged the receipt of $15,450, enough to fund the college’s first three years of operation. Less than a month later, the new college offered its very first class, Commercial Law. Tulane University’s College of Commerce was open for business.
In the last year, it’s been my honor to preside as we celebrate this major milestone, the centennial of the A. B. Freeman School of Business. We kicked off the festivities last fall with a party on campus for students, and we celebrated throughout the year with centennial themed activities and a special website dedicated to Freeman School history. On May 2, more than 650 alumni attended our centerpiece event, the Freeman Centennial Celebration in City Park. I had the pleasure of speaking with many alumni that evening, and I was again overwhelmed by their stories of how the Freeman School influenced and impacted their lives. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons our Centennial Scholarship Initiative was such a resounding success. Centennial Co-Chairs Frank B. Stewart Jr. (BBA ’57) and Jay Lapeyre (MBA/JD ’78) helped raise more than $500,000 to fund scholarships and ensure that outstanding students are able to attend the Freeman School regardless of financial constraint.
This fall, as we approach our 100th birthday on Oct. 19, we plan to release a special commemorative book chronicling the history of the business school. A Century of Business Education: The A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University will feature articles, faculty and alumni profiles, and rare photos from the Tulane University Archives. This issue of Freeman magazine, in fact, features an excerpt. In the coming weeks, we hope to announce details on how you can obtain a copy of this fascinating and entertaining book.
It’s been a busy summer here at the Freeman School. In July, we hosted 160 students from China, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and several other countries who were here to complete coursework for various programs, and we sent another 250 students to Europe, China, Latin America and India in conjunction with other programs. You might have seen that the Freeman School was recently ranked No. 5 in the nation for studying business abroad by Business Research Guide, which ranked schools on commitment to excellence in international business education, variety of study abroad options for full and part-time students, and focus on global exchange with educational institutions across the globe. Based on all our activity this summer, it’s easy to see why the Freeman School is beginning to earn national accolades for our international business expertise.
In July, we also welcomed 10 new faculty members to the Freeman School, including eight tenured/tenure-track professors, the latest recruits in our ongoing faculty enhancement initiative. Since we began this important effort three years ago, we’ve grown our researchactive faculty by more than 25 percent, and we’re not done yet. We hope to add five additional tenured/tenure-track professors in the next two years.
In closing, I wish to pay tribute to a Freeman School legend who recently passed away. Beauregard J. “Beau” Parent served as an accounting instructor for more than 35 years, teaching thousands of students in that time and launching countless careers in accounting. While I only knew Beau for three years, I feel as though I’ve known him much longer, in part because he’s one of a handful of professors that alumni always seem to ask me about. One only has to look at the profusion of memorial comments on Facebook and LinkedIn to see the impact Beau had on so many lives. He will be missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to Beau’s wife Elizabeth, his daughters Christine, Collette and Lisa, and all of his family and friends.