Paul Tulane's donation of $363,000 in 1882 was the seed that became the Tulane University of today. The school’s history dates to 1834, when it began as the Medical College of Louisiana, in part a response to fears of yellow fever and cholera. By 1847, the college had become part of the University of Louisiana.
Paul Tulane, a philanthropist and businessman from Princeton, N.J., developed a fondness for New Orleans. During his time in the city, he established Paul Tulane & Co., a dry goods and clothing business.
In 1894, Tulane moved from its original building on the corner of Common and Barrone streets to its present-day campus Uptown on St. Charles Avenue. The campus includes 110 acres and 80 buildings, housing the majority of its schools and colleges. The university has six other campuses, including the Tulane University Health Sciences Center, which encompasses the School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in downtown New Orleans. With 4,400 employees, Tulane is the largest employer in the city.
Tulane Stadium opened on Tulane’s campus in 1926 on the site of a former sugar plantation. The stadium was in operation until its demolition in 1979. In addition to hosting the Tulane Green Wave and the Sugar Bowl, the stadium was a temporary home for the Saints from 1967 to 1974.
Newcomb College was the women’s college of Tulane University, founded in 1886 by Josephine Louise Newcomb in memory of her daughter. It was the first women’s coordinate college within a United States university. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Newcomb was merged into Tulane’s undergraduate colleges under Tulane’s Renewal Plan. The move was met with an unsuccessful lawsuit from Newcomb college supporters, who claimed the plan violated the donor’s original intent.
Tulane closed its doors twice in its history. In 1861, the Civil War forced its closure. Classes resumed in 1865. In 2005, the university canceled its fall semester because of Hurricane Katrina. In December 2005, facing budget shortfalls in the aftermath of Katrina, President Scott Cowen announced the Renewal Plan, implemented to reduce the university’s operating budget. Classes resumed in the spring of 2006, with 93 percent of all students returning.
Paul Tulane’s 1882 donation spurred the school to become a private, comprehensive university. Tulane now enrolls 12,622 graduate and undergraduate students in more than 100 degree programs.