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President’s Letter

Tulane President Michael Fitts

Dear Tulane Community,

At Tulane, the opportunities to learn and to engage with the world around you are not restricted to the classroom. Each year, Tulane offers a shared intellectual experience to the entering class and the campus community through the reading and discussion of a common book; we call it the Tulane Reading Project. As president, I am pleased to announce the selection of Between the World and Me by the celebrated author Ta-Nehisi Coates as the 2017 Reading Project book. Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, a MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow and is also a finalist for the National Book Award. Newcomb-Tulane College, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Academic Equity, the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching, and the President’s Commission on Race and Diversity are proud to serve as co-sponsors of this year’s selection.

Between the World and Me is a letter to the author’s teenaged son about the feelings, symbolism and realities associated with being black in the United States. The Reading Project committee, made up of students, faculty, and staff, selected this book for its beautiful prose and its poignant message, reflecting Tulane’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the exploration of race. The committee hopes that the book will foster meaningful discussions about empathy for others, appreciating the fundamental differences in the ways people are treated, and our shared human experience.  

The book will be available for purchase in the Tulane bookstore throughout the summer, and for new students, this will be their first book purchased for their academic career at Tulane. Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, Tulane will offer a series of interactive events exploring the themes addressed in Between the World and Me. Please also visit the Events and Activities page on the Reading Project website for a schedule of events, including a keynote lecture, discussion groups, panel discussions, and a film series. The schedule will be updated throughout summer break so please check in frequently for new information. Also check the Materials and Resources page for additional materials pertinent to the book, such as guidelines for discussion, support resources, and how you can get involved.

It is my hope that the whole campus community can engage with Between the World and Me in course assignments and discussions, conversations in the residence halls and Bruff Commons, and the moments in between that make Tulane such a vibrant intellectual community.  


Michael A. Fitts
President, Tulane University