Welcome back!

I sent this message out to the UNO community last week as we began a new academic year.

I would like to welcome everyone back to campus for the 2015-16 academic year. It’s always thrilling to meet our new students, faculty and staff, and it’s a great pleasure to reconnect with others who I have not seen since the spring semester.

As we prepare for the upcoming year, I would like to get everyone caught up on some of the headlines of the past several months. As many of you are already aware, the most dire predictions about state budget cuts for Louisiana’s colleges and universities did not come true during the spring legislative session. We are thankful to state lawmakers for their creative and difficult decisions to spare higher education. We also realize that the amount of state funding budgeted for the University is never a guarantee, and we continue to look for ways to be more efficient in our operations. Rest assured that our goal is to maintain the quality of our academic programs and our student experience.

It’s been a busy and productive summer for many of you. Please allow me to cover a few highlights. To read more about each of these topics, click on the embedded links.

Some of our civil engineering and environmental engineering students returned home to Nepal to help people still suffering from April’s deadly earthquake that left hundreds of thousands homeless. In addition to raising money for the victims, these students helped design and build corrugated metal shelters before the country’s rainy monsoon season began. Under the direction of the UNO students, the Nepalese army built 27 dwellings. I am in awe of their resourcefulness and dedication.

On the academic front, English professor Anne Boyd Rioux won a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her book about the classic American novel “Little Women.” For the second straight year, computer science professor Golden Richard conducted an intensive cybersecurity training program for high school teachers from around the country. The program, funded by the National Science Foundation and National Security Agency, has been used as a model for other universities. Mark Kulp, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, won a $225,000 grant from the U.S. Geological Survey to continue to study Louisiana’s evolving coastline. Norma Jean Mattei, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was named president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers. When she becomes president in 2017, she will be only the third woman to hold the post in the 163-year history of the organization. These are only a few of the recent accomplishments of our outstanding faculty.

I had the privilege of attending the opening ceremonies for the 40th anniversary of the UNO-Innsbruck International Summer School in Austria. Since its inception, more than 10,000 students have participated in our signature study aboard program. It was incredibly satisfying to see how our European friends celebrated the University of New Orleans and its contributions abroad.

In our continuing efforts to support our community, the University announced that the New Orleans Police Department will train its recruits at the UNO Lindy Boggs International Conference Center in the Research and Technology Park over the next two years. The NOPD will take advantage of the facility’s work and meeting space while it remodels its permanent police academy building. We are happy they’ve found a temporary home here on the Lakefront.

You may have also noticed that we have a new provost. John Nicklow began his tenure as UNO’s chief academic officer on July 1. He brings exceptional leadership and an innovative approach to his job, and I am confident that he will strengthen our institution.

The University of New Orleans has a few new rankings that validate what we already know: UNO is a superb university with outstanding people. We were named one of the world’s top universities by the Center for World University Rankings as well as one of “The Best 380 Colleges” by The Princeton Review.

Whether you are a student, a faculty member or a member of our professional staff, I would like to thank you for the part that you play in our university community. The University of New Orleans occupies a singular role in the city of New Orleans and the region’s higher education landscape—and it is a vital one. I wish you an enjoyable and fulfilling academic year.

UNO’s Federal Research Agenda

The University of New Orleans has a specific mission. We are a comprehensive urban research university committed to providing educational excellence to a diverse undergraduate and graduate student body. We advance shared knowledge that contributes to the region’s industry, culture and economy. In an effort to better integrate the research and education components of our mission, the Office of Research will now be overseen by the Office of Academic Affairs. Going forward, the provost will be responsible for research activities on campus.

Historically, a significant portion of the University’s extramural research funding has come from the federal government. Given the close relationships between UNO’s research specialties and the region’s economic strengths, the University has always enjoyed enthusiastic support from the Louisiana congressional delegation in our efforts to secure federal funds for research. Until 2009, members of congress routinely “earmarked” funding from various agencies for research and economic development projects in their home states and districts. The practice of congressional earmarking during the federal appropriations process was eliminated in the wake of the Great Recession. Additionally, sequestration has made pursuit of federal funding even more highly competitive in nature.

The University will continue to compete for funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents and apply for funding from private sources. The federal government, however, remains a robust source of support for a wide variety of research endeavors, and UNO has developed a strategy to maximize its competitiveness in that funding arena. The strategy marries UNO’s areas of expertise with the research priorities of federal agencies. Although the Office of External Affairs has been eliminated, the Office of the President retained one of its employees, Crystal Ellerbe, who is an expert in federal appropriations and government relations. As Director of Federal Affairs, Crystal has worked with deans and researchers to establish a federal agenda for the University. The federal agenda directly supports our strategic plan, UNO 2020, and is aligned with my vision for the University.

The federal agenda for research funding encompasses the following areas: information assurance and cybersecurity; advanced materials and manufacturing; coastal resilience; smart-grids and power systems engineering; naval architecture and marine engineering; and urban resilience. On a regular basis, representatives from UNO visit with members of Congress, congressional committee staff, agency officials and other stakeholders in the federal government to share progress and explore opportunities regarding our research priorities. By leveraging our assets to gain federal support for these areas of research, the University will continue to function as a premiere source of shared knowledge and a major catalyst in the region’s economy.

Meet the Mayeauxs

Meet husband and wife graduates, Melissa and Larry Mayeaux, who embody the spirit of perseverance of so many University of New Orleans students. We are honored to call them members of our UNO family.

Peter J. Fos

Crawfish Mambo

Crawfish Mambo is a signature event of the UNO International Alumni Association. More than 50 boiling teams participate in this annual competition, all in hopes of winning an engraved boiling paddle and a little glory. The Annual Crawfish Mambo and Music Festival on the Lake brings more than a dozen top bands from around the city to campus.
Crawfish Mambo is a signature event of the UNO International Alumni Association. More than 50 boiling teams participate in this annual competition, all in hopes of winning an engraved boiling paddle and a little glory. The Annual Crawfish Mambo and Music Festival on the Lake brings more than a dozen top bands from around the city to campus.
As the end of the semester approaches, I am looking forward to one of my favorite annual events, Crawfish Mambo. I hope that you’ll join Lori and me on Saturday, May 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Cove as the UNO International Alumni Association hosts this fourth annual crawfish cook-off and music festival. Mambo is open to all faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community-at-large.

Tickets are only $20 in advance and $25 at the gate, with children 7 and under admitted for free. Admission includes all-you-can-eat boiled crawfish prepared by more than 50 teams, free parking, and an all-day live, local music lineup: UNO Jazz All-stars, Tank and the Bangas, Stooges Brass Band, Bucktown All-Stars, Shamarr Allen, and Honey Island Swamp Band. Teams will be competing for $1000 and the ultimate boiling championship. Mambo will also once again host an Artists’ Village and the UNO Panhellenic Council will host a Kid’s Tent.

I am proud to witness the continued growth of this festival that brings more people to our lakefront campus than any other event throughout the year. The 2015 Crawfish Mambo Committee, led by UNO College of Business Administration alumni Dennis deBoisblanc ’04 and Todd Tournillon ’97 and College of Engineering alumnus Glenn Scorsone ‘80, has recruited more teams, has raised more sponsorship dollars and will attract more attendees, all of which will ultimately help to impact more students than ever before.

Proceeds from Mambo allow the Alumni Association to expand programs that support UNO student success, such as Resume & Café au Lait, Dine Like a Professional and networking events to name a few.

For additional information or to purchase tickets online, please visit the event’s official website at www.crawfishmambo.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the UNO Federal Credit Union, a great Mambo partner.