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A vintage postcard of Tulane UniversityTulane University, founded in 1834, is one of the most highly regarded and selective independent research universities in the United States. Tulane's schools and colleges offer degrees in the liberal arts, science and engineering, architecture, business, law, social work, medicine, and public health and tropical medicine.

The university is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a select group of the 63 leading research universities in the United States and Canada with “preeminent programs of graduate and professional education and scholarly research.” Tulane also 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.

Located in New Orleans, Tulane traces its origins to the Medical College of Louisiana, the Deep South’s second-oldest medical school, which was founded in 1834. By 1847, the Medical College was part of the newly established public institution, the University of Louisiana.

Tulane emerged 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 donated more than $1 million in land, cash and securities “for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral and industrial education.” A native of Princeton, N.J., 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 was established for women as part of the university. Newcomb-Tulane College today enrolls all undergraduates at the university.

Tulane moved to its present campus on St. Charles Avenue in 1894. The Tulane University Health Sciences Center in downtown New Orleans includes the School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, while the Tulane National Primate Research Center is in Covington, La.

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.

In fall 2005, Tulane weathered Hurricane Katrina, the nation’s worst natural disaster. A renewed Tulane emerged from the storm as a stronger institution focused on an exceptional undergraduate program complemented by superb graduate, professional and research programs based on the university’s historical strengths and distinctive characteristics.

Tulane’s programs have been shaped by the university’s experience with Hurricane Katrina, providing faculty, staff and students with unprecedented research, learning and community-service opportunities.

The Katrina experience also informs the future direction of the institution. In 2010, President Cowen announced the launch of the “Tulane Empowers” campaign, an effort that will further the university’s efforts to encourage social innovation and to develop the next generation of community-minded citizens and leaders.


  • 1834 The Medical College of Louisiana is founded in New Orleans by seven young doctors.
  • 1847 The state legislature establishes the University of Louisiana.
  • 1847 The Medical College of Louisiana becomes the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana.
  • 1847 The University of Louisiana adds a law department, the 12th such department in the United States.
  • 1851 An academic department for men opens. Its first students are enrolled — 12 freshmen and two sophomores.
  • 1861 The university closes its doors because of the Civil War. Classes resume in 1865.
  • 1882 Paul Tulane donates extensive real estate in New Orleans for the support of education. A Board of Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund is appointed and holds its first meeting. The board decides to support and incorporate with the University of Louisiana rather than create a separate institution.
  • 1884 The Louisiana Legislature passes a bill transferring the University of Louisiana at New Orleans to the control of the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund, thus creating the Tulane University of Louisiana, a private, nonsectarian university.
  • 1885 The university establishes a graduate division, later to become the Graduate School.
  • 1886 Newcomb College is established within Tulane University. Josephine Louise Newcomb gave the gifts to found the college in memory of her daughter, Harriott Sophie Newcomb.
  • 1894 The university organizes the College of Technology, which later will become the School of Engineering.
  • 1894 The university moves to its uptown campus on St. Charles Avenue, five miles by streetcar from downtown New Orleans.
  • 1894 The Newcomb Pottery is established.
  • 1907 The College of Technology organizes an architecture department, which will evolve into the School of Architecture.
  • 1912 The School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is established. It later merges with the College of Medicine.
  • 1914 The College of Commerce is established. It is the first business school in the South and the forerunner of the A. B. Freeman School of Business.
  • 1925 The Graduate School is established.
  • 1927 The School of Social Work is established — the first in the Deep South.
  • 1942 University College is founded as Tulane’s division of continuing education.
  • 1950 The Department of Architecture separates from the School of Engineering and becomes the School of Architecture.
  • 1967 The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is established.
  • 1976 The Tulane Medical Center, a 300-bed teaching hospital and ambulatory clinic, opens.
  • 1993 The name of the College of Arts and Sciences changes to Paul M. Tulane College and is referred to as Tulane College.
  • 1998 Scott S. Cowen is named the 14th president of Tulane University.
  • 2005 The university cancels the fall semester because of Hurricane Katrina. Tulane University announces a bold renewal plan in December.
    • Strategic initiatives:
  • Newcomb and Tulane colleges are combined to form Newcomb-Tulane College for all undergraduates.
  • The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute is established.
  • University College is renamed the School of Continuing Studies.
  • The Faculty of the Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering are reorganized into two schools: the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Science & Engineering.
  • A public-service graduation requirement for all students is initiated.
  • The Partnership for the Transformation of Urban Communities is established.
  • 2006 Classes resume in the spring with 93 percent of all students returning to Tulane University after Hurricane Katrina.
  • 2007 The university's incoming freshman class of 1,400 students is almost 60 percent larger than in 2006, marking the largest one-year increase in first-year students in the history of the university.
  • 2010 “Tulane Empowers” begins, a campaign to build resources that will help people build a better world.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000