To: Tufts Community
From: President Lawrence S. Bacow
Date: Sept 9, 2004
Dear Students and Colleagues,
It is great to see the campus coming back to life with the arrival of students and the return of faculty and staff. I hope all of you enjoyed the respite that summer offers and that you are looking forward to the new academic year as much as I am.
Even though summer is a time for relaxation, there is still plenty of activity on campus. There have been many interesting developments since Commencement. Let me try to summarize just a few of them for you.
New Dean for the Friedman School: On July 1, Tufts welcomed Dr. Eileen Kennedy as the new Dean of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Dean Kennedy has extensive experience in nutrition policy having served as Deputy Under Secretary and then Acting Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and as a teacher and scholar at distinguished universities including Tufts, Columbia, Cornell and Johns Hopkins. She has worked with the United Nations, the National Academy of Sciences, the White House National Science and Technology Council, the White House Biotechnology Subcommittee, the Surgeon General’s Task Force on Health Disparities and other prominent organizations on issues of nutrition policy here in the U.S. and abroad. She is internationally recognized for studies of maternal and child health and nutrition in Africa, Asia, and North and Central America, and for the creation of the “Healthy Eating Index” a validating measure for researchers monitoring nutrition. She recently was president of the Global Nutrition Institute which links science-based nutrition research to action through public/private partnerships, and she was global executive director of International Life Sciences Institute. Beyond these superb qualifications, Eileen Kennedy brings to Tufts core values that are important to our community: superb teaching and scholarship, an international perspective, a commitment to active citizenship and an appreciation for collaboration across disciplines. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Kennedy to Tufts.
Tissue Engineering Resource Center: This summer the National Institutes of Health announced the creation of a Tissue Engineering Resource Center on the Medford-Somerville campus. Tissue engineering uses the tools of cell and molecular biology, biomaterials science and engineering, and bioreactor design and function to create the potential for artificial organs and tissue. The Center’s core laboratories, to be located at the Science and Technology Center, will offer researchers from throughout the world full access to the latest techniques in the field. Professor David Kaplan, chair of the biomedical engineering department within the School of Engineering, led the effort to bring the Center to Tufts. Colleagues and students from Tufts Schools of Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine will participate in the activities of the Center, as will faculty from MIT’s Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
The Tufts Childhood Obesity Initiative: In July, The New Balance Foundation agreed to fund and support a 10-year initiative with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy entitled “Children in Balance: The Tufts Childhood Obesity Initiative.” This partnership will result in the establishment of The New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, endowed graduate fellowships for students focusing on issues related to childhood nutrition, and current funding for core research, graduate students, and program development at the Friedman School. Professors Miriam Nelson and Christine Economos played an important role in developing this partnership with the New Balance Foundation. They will lead this initiative, together with Dean Eileen Kennedy.
Partnership Agreement with Medford and Somerville: Shortly after Commencement, Tufts entered into a historic partnership agreement with our host cities of Medford and Somerville. We have always worked closely with both communities, and have tried to assist each of them over the years financially on an ad hoc basis. Now we have formalized our partnership with the two cities. Medford and Somerville each will receive $1.25 million over the next 10 years, with accelerated funding in the first two years to assist with anticipated budget shortfalls. In addition, we formally agreed to continue a number of university programs that benefit Medford and Somerville residents. The new agreement underscores our mutual commitment to work together on a wide range of issues including economic development, housing, open space and others. I want to thank Mayors McGlynn and Curtatone for their leadership in helping to forge this partnership. Medford and Somerville are home to many of our faculty and staff, and of course to all of our students who study on the Hill. I hope all of you take pride in this agreement and in our strong relationship with the cities, their leadership, and residents.
Toward that end, I would like to invite everyone to Tufts’ second annual Community Day, sponsored jointly by the university and the cities of Medford and Somerville, which will take place on Sunday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the academic quad (or in the Carzo Athletic Cage at Cousens Gym, in case of rain). Faculty have volunteered to lecture, and students have arranged a variety of activities for children. Lunch will be provided to all who attend. This is a great way to meet our neighbors and to show our appreciation to them. I guarantee a fun day. Please try to attend.
Labor agreement with the custodians: Some members of our community expressed interest last spring in the status of the contract negotiations between OneSource and the SEIU, the union that represents custodians on our campuses. I am pleased to report that the parties successfully entered into a new contract prior to the expiration of the old agreement on July 1. The new contract is fair to both sides and includes significant improvements to wages, sick leave, and health care. The president of the union expressed his appreciation to Tufts for our role in facilitating the agreement.
Fundraising: I am pleased that Tufts enjoyed another record-breaking fundraising year in fiscal 2004 with overall university achievement totaling $116 million. Included in this total is the extraordinary gift we announced yesterday from Cummings Foundation to benefit the School of Veterinary Medicine. We also set a record for the Tufts Fund for the third consecutive year with achievement of $11.6 million. The Tufts Fund supports unrestricted gifts for current use. Many generous individuals and organizations contributed to this year’s fundraising success, and we are grateful to them all. Their support underwrites scholarships, faculty development, research initiatives, enhancements to student life, and physical improvements to our campus. Tufts is a better place today because of the generosity of our alumni and friends.
Facilities improvements: Summer is a time for sprucing up our facilities. You need only drive by Anderson, Robinson, Paige and Miner Halls on the Medford-Somerville campus to see evidence of the investment we continue to make in maintaining and enhancing our physical plant. All of these buildings are undergoing major improvements to their facades. (In fact, they look like Christo-wrapped art installations.) While the list of projects is long and includes everything from academic to residence to recreational improvements, I want to mention just a few. In the Dranetz Tower of Tisch Library, renovations have created the Tower Caf?, a gathering place for students, faculty and staff. The Tower Caf? is a direct outcome of the recommendation of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience. To encourage student-faculty interaction outside of the classroom, if an undergraduate student and a faculty member go to the Tower Cafe together, their drinks will be complimentary, supported by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education.
The Fletcher School completed phase one of a three phase interior renovation, which included substantial work in the library, along with new faculty offices and classrooms. Pearson East Wing saw major renovation of two chemistry labs, and new mechanical and plumbing systems. A new faculty dining facility and function space is being created adjacent to Carmichael Hall and will be ready for use in mid-October. This new space replaces the Wren Dining Room which will be affected by future construction at the Fletcher School. Bello Field, a new synthetic turf field located just behind the baseball diamond opposite Cousens Gym, is almost ready for use, and our runners will be happy to know that the track at Ellis Oval has been completely resurfaced. On the Boston campus, work continues in South Cove with structural repairs and significant laboratory renovations. We have also negotiated for additional housing to be made available for medical, dental, and nutrition students in a new apartment building located across from Posner Hall. The Peabody Pavilion on the Grafton campus also saw renovations of animal housing spaces. All told, the university invested close to $39 million in its facilities this summer.
Sophia Gordon Hall and the new music building: We also have taken important steps forward for two new buildings on the Medford/Somerville campus: Sophia Gordon Hall and the new music building. Sophia Gordon Hall is being redesigned and re-sited to better meet the needs of our students and community. The new residence hall will feature a modified suite configuration with 4 single rooms clustered around a kitchen and living room. The hall’s site, along Talbot Avenue, will allow for the preservation of 20 Professor’s Row which previously housed the music department. A new timeline for the project anticipates construction beginning in June 2005 and occupancy by September 2006.
Planning for the new music building has resumed. A new site on Talbot Avenue, adjacent to the Aidekman Arts Center, was selected for the building, thereby allowing the arts at Tufts to hold a central place on our Medford/Somerville campus. The music building will be home to a 300-seat recital hall, numerous practice and rehearsal rooms, classrooms, the music library and faculty offices. Some programmatic aspects will be accommodated in the renovated lower level of Cohen Auditorium. Construction is slated to begin in June 2005 with completion by September 2006.
Campus Master Plan: All of our building projects on the Medford/Somerville campus are being considered in the context of a new campus master plan. Our old plan, which was completed 20 years ago, is out of date. We are working with a consultant, William Rawn and his associates, to update it. Our goal is to preserve the same sense of place that makes the campus special while also identifying how we might accommodate new space for teaching, research, office, student, residential and other uses. Some of you participated in a few community meetings last spring organized by our consultants to help identify commonly traveled routes on campus or centers of activity. Since Commencement, our planners have been working diligently with guidance from the Deans of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and the Fletcher School, and the university’s senior officers to develop their ideas in the form of a draft interim report. There will be several opportunities in the coming months for all members of the Tufts community, including our neighbors, to comment on this draft and offer additional insight. We hope to complete the plan within the next six to nine months, and we anticipate that it will be a helpful guide in the ongoing evolution of our campus.
Snyder and Fares Lectures: I am delighted at this time to announce the speakers for two prominent Tufts’ lecture series. On October 4, Tufts will inaugurate the Richard E. Snyder Presidential Lecture Series. Made possible through the generosity of alumnus Richard E. Snyder A55, former Chairman and CEO of Simon & Schuster, the series brings prominent public figures to campus to present provocative and perhaps controversial points of view on issues of national and international importance. Leon Kass, chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, and the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, will give the inaugural lecture at 4:00 p.m. in the Cabot Center. Dick Snyder endowed this lecture series in response to a recommendation from the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience to enhance the intellectual climate on campus outside of the classroom. I am very grateful to Dick for helping us to implement this recommendation.
On November 10, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will give the Issam M. Fares Lecture at 4:30 p.m. in the Gantcher Center. The Fares Lecture always is a highlight of the academic year, and Senator Clinton’s address promises to be especially interesting and timely, given its proximity to the presidential election. For those of you who are new to campus, the Issam M. Fares Lecture brings internationally renowned leaders to campus to speak about issues in the Middle East. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and Colin Powell are among the series’ recent speakers, and I look forward to welcoming Senator Clinton to Tufts and to this distinguished group of Fares lecturers.
New Tufts Website: I would like to congratulate our Public Relations and Web Central groups for their outstanding work on the new Tufts website. Please check out our new homepage. It is much easier to navigate, has far better graphics and content, and I believe does a much better job of presenting Tufts than did the old homepage. Feedback is welcome. In fact, you can provide us with your ideas and reactions through the website itself. I encourage you to share your thoughts with the staff as the site continues to evolve.
My health: Finally, on a personal note, many of you have kindly inquired about my health. Some of the problems I encountered with pericarditis last spring proved to be a bit more persistent than I (or my doctors) originally anticipated. I returned to the hospital a few times over the summer to adjust my medication. I am now feeling well and keeping a full schedule. However, I still must be careful not to overdo things, so please understand if I cut back a bit on my evening commitments this fall. I expect to be able to resume running shortly and hope that many of you again will join me on my early morning runs. I will let you know as soon as I am back on the road. Thank you all for your understanding. Tufts is a wonderfully caring community.
The new year is upon us! Best wishes to all of you for an invigorating and rewarding academic year.
Lawrence S. Bacow,