Tulane University 2018 Unified Commencement Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, Louisiana

On Saturday, May 19, the number of Tulane University alumni grew by approximately 3,000 during the 20th anniversary of the Unified Commencement Ceremony held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The ceremony includes several traditions including the procession of colorful gonfalons.
Clockwise from top left: Graduates Amanda Wittels, left, and Leah Kaplan sing the national anthem; clarinetist and alumnus Dr. Michael White plays "Just a Closer Walk With Thee;" Tulane President Mike Fitts addresses the Class of 2018.
New Orleans Saints hero and ALS activist Steve Gleason, center, receives a standing ovation after receiving his honorary degree. Applauding Gleason are, from left, President Mike Fitts, commencement speaker and novelist Jesmyn Ward, and other honorary degree recipients: Grammy-winning singer Irma Thomas, medical anthropologist and physician Dr. Paul E. Farmer, second from right, and Netscape co-founder James H. Clark, far right. Third from right is Gleason's associate Dillon Parfait.
Clockwise from top left: Honorary degree recipient Irma Thomas sings, "It's Raining;" 2018 Weiss Presidential Fellowship for Undergraduate Teaching recipients Meenakshi Vijayaraghavan, left, and Laura Rosanne Adderley enjoy a musical performance; Marc Zender, left, and Kerstin Höner zu Bentrup don medals as recipients of the President's Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching; Topsy Chapman sings, "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans."
Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward imparts words of encouragement and inspiration to graduates during her commencement address: “Take a step that will lead you toward the realization of your dream, and then take another, and another, and another.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates second-line to a traditional New Orleans jazz band.
Graduates receive a rousing send-off complete with pyrotechnics, confetti and streamers.


Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano

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