Although this month’s February meeting of the Board of Trustees featured a condensed schedule due to the blizzard that shut down the Medford/Somerville campus, we were able to conduct both face-to-face and virtual meeting sessions. Accordingly, I begin this report by thanking the many Tufts staff members who made this series of productive meetings possible under challenging circumstances.
Most importantly, this February meeting included the election of Peter Dolan as the Board’s new Chair Designate; Peter will work closely with the current Board Chair James Stern until the leadership transition officially concludes in November. Also, as is customary at this particularly eventful mid-year meeting, the Board worked to orient its newest members to the body’s duties and processes. We welcomed to the Board new trustees John de Jong, Michael Gordon and Diane Hessan and returning trustee Thomas Alperin. It was a pleasure to see this newest generation of the university’s fiduciaries begin to apply their considerable talents and diverse experiences in the service of this institution for which they all share such abiding passion.
During a condensed schedule of committee meetings, the Administration and Finance and Academic Affairs committees held a joint session to review the current national debate on tuition costs and its implications for us as we seek to increase access to a Tufts education, a topic then discussed by the full Board. The meeting of the University Advancement committee included a discussion of long-term planning for fundraising as well as an update on the university-wide fundraising initiative for financial aid, which has raised $5 million toward its $25 million goal for the undergraduate schools as well as $2 million for the graduate and professional schools. The Committee also discussed the policy and communications challenges posed by potentially divisive issues on campus.
In a full-Board plenary session, I had the opportunity to deliver to the Board a presentation on our unfolding initiatives to renew our vision for Tufts, build a strategic plan for institutional success in the next decade, address current financial challenges in higher education, and bolster the effectiveness and efficiency of our administrative management structures and procedures. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss these issues with members of the campus community in a number of settings this semester including town meetings in Boston, Grafton, and Medford.
The blizzard notwithstanding, this year’s February meeting of the Board of Trustees was extremely productive. It is always a pleasure to work with this skilled group as we all exercise our commitment to ensuring sustained success and the best possible future for Tufts.