April 14, 2016
Dear Members of the Tufts Community,
I write with two pieces of exciting news.
With the launch of its strategic plan today, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, founded nearly 17 years ago, will move forward with a new name to better reflect its mission to prepare students to take action and make positive change in their communities and in the world: the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. We all engage in civic life when we organize and debate, when we serve, and when we advocate for and act on the issues that affect us and those around us. Collectively, the more active we are as responsible citizens, the more just, equitable, and prosperous our world can become.
At the same time, I am pleased to share news of a transformative gift that will further the mission of the college. Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch have pledged $15 million to help us prepare every student for a lifetime of effective engagement in civic life.
Endowed a decade ago with a $40 million gift from Jonathan Tisch, the college’s creation was driven by the belief that universities have a responsibility to help young people become agents for thoughtful advocacy, action, and positive change.
Jon and Lizzie share Tufts’ vision, and their new gift will support all three pillars of the college: education, research, and practice. Through the creation of endowed professorships in civic studies, an emerging field that examines what defines civic engagement, their gift will help fund joint appointments between Tisch College and other Tufts schools and departments. The gift will also finance leading research by Tisch College’s renowned Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, creating knowledge and advancing civic learning and engagement. Finally, the gift will empower student experiential learning opportunities, such as the Tisch Scholars leadership development program, Tisch Summer Fellowships, and the Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program, ensuring that such transformative experiences are available to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
A longtime advocate of individuals and corporations using the power of civic engagement to address challenges, Jonathan credits his parents for instilling in him a sense of responsibility to others, and Tufts for fostering in him the importance of an active civic life.
Please join me in thanking Jonathan and Lizzie for their leadership and generous support, which will greatly help Tufts strengthen its role as a trailblazer in civic engagement and as an intellectual center for studying civic life.