Past Honorees

At Central Synagogue

Scott S. Cowen, Ph.D.
2006 President of Tulane University

Professor Scott S. Cowen, author of four books and over 100 other academic works, has been president of Tulane University in New Orleans since 1998. His excellent work there earned him recognition in TIME Magazine as one of the top 10 college presidents in the U.S., as well as the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award in 2009. In 2010 he received the double honor of being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of being appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions.

Cowen is also well known for his dedicated and successful efforts of rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, particularly in his role in the city’s Bring New Orleans Back Commission, leading a committee to repair the city’s failing public school system. Under his guidance, Tulane chartered a K-12 school in New Orleans and created an Institute for Public Education Initiatives to support the reform of public education in New Orleans. In addition, Cowen co-founded the Fleur-de-lis Ambassadors program in order to promote news of New Orleans recovery and status as a livable and economically viable city to the rest of America. He was honored for his efforts with the award of the Times-Picayune’s Loving Cup, and by being named New Orleanian of the year by Gambit in 2011.

Before he became a nationally recognized figure, President Cowen earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 1968 and then his masters and doctoral degrees in finance and management from the George Washington University. In the intervening three years he served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. Before coming to Tulane, he served as a professor and eventually a dean at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Today he is the chair of the Association of American Universities, and has four children and four grandchildren with his wife, Marjorie.