Tulane gets $5 million for ‘success center,’ and other news of higher education

Thanks to a $5 million donation from 1985 graduate David Mussafer and his wife, Marion, Tulane University’s former School of Social Work building will be transformed into a new student center.

The 16,000-square-foot building is being renovated and soon will host the Center for Student Success with a 7,400-square-foot extension, 72 private offices, a multipurpose room and a research room.

The two-building center, to be renamed Mussafer Hall, will house the Academic Advising Center, Career Services and the Success Center.

Mussafer received a bachelor’s degree in management from Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“David Mussafer himself is a model of the success that great academic and career planning can achieve,” Tulane President Mike Fitts said. “Tulane is indebted to him for this remarkable gift.”

Mussafer said he was drawn to the project after discussing Tulane’s needs with Fitts during a recent visit to the campus.

Mussafer is managing partner and co-chairman of the executive committee of Advent International, a Boston-based global private equity firm. He is a member of the Tulane board and President’s Council and founded the Mussafer Family Endowment Fund, which supports the Cowen Institute for Public Education at Tulane.

UNO grant to improve evacuation planning

The University of New Orleans has received a two-year, $260,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to help improve evacuation planning.

The school will make recommendations to the city and the Regional Transit Authority on how the city’s most vulnerable residents should be evacuated during emergencies and disasters.

Planning will be done by UNO’s Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology, a research center that collaborates with Louisiana communities.

UNO researchers will examine how technology and risk communication practices can serve vulnerable community members who often are overlooked.

“In evacuation planning, people are defined as vulnerable if they may need additional assistance in the process, including the elderly, vision-impaired, mobility-impaired, hearing-impaired or transient, or if they don’t have a car or have limited English proficiency,” said Monica Teets Farris, director of UNO-CHART.

Farris and John Kiefer, director of UNO’s Master of Public Administration program, are co-principal investigators on the grant.

The researchers will submit a report to the city and RTA that will include recommendations on how to identify residents who need evacuation assistance.

It also will cover ways to communicate information about risk, capacity to transport special-needs populations and an outreach strategy.

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