Tufts has seen remarkable achievements this year as students and faculty continue to shine in fulfilling our academic mission. There are many reasons to celebrate our novel academic programs, recently appointed leaders, a vibrant arts festival, and the three national championships won by our student-athletes. We made important progress on facility improvements while preparing for the MBTA Green Line to be extended to Tufts. And generous alumni and friends made over $100 million in gifts to support the university.
It is also important that we pause to reflect on the recent murders in Charleston as a tragic reminder of how much remains for all of us to do to combat violence, hate, and discrimination through education and civic engagement. The Tufts community addressed these and related issues last semester, including convening a forum on race, inequality, and action. In the coming academic year, we will continue to support the members of our campus community while providing opportunities to engage critical social, legal, and political challenges.
On all three campuses, we are implementing initiatives outlined in the T10 strategic plan to ensure that Tufts continues to make its distinctive mark. Our Schools are making progress on strategic planning within the T10 framework—highlighted this spring by the release of exciting plans from the School of Arts and Sciences and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Later this summer, we will welcome an outstanding new academic leader when Dr. Jianmin Qu arrives as Dean of the School of Engineering; he will succeed Dean Linda Abriola, who has been named a University Professor in recognition of her transformational institutional leadership and outstanding research.
Across Tufts, our faculty recognize the importance of curricular and pedagogical innovation in an era of rapid changes in knowledge, technology, the economy, and society. In February the School of Medicine graduated the first class of students in its Physician Assistant program, while the Dental School prepared to launch its new oral medicine program. This fall, under the auspices of Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, we will pilot the new Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year Service Learning Program for entering undergraduates.
Advances in research and scholarship from across Tufts continued to make news, but our researchers face constrained external support and complex regulation: the Change Collaborative for Research Administration continues its work to support funding and compliance. In today’s climate it is important we tell Tufts’ story well, and Christine Sanni, most recently Executive Director of Advancement Communications and Services, has now assumed university-wide responsibilities as Vice President for Communications and Marketing.
The arts and humanities are essential to our understanding of human society and the ongoing vitality of thought and culture, and their continued scholarly and academic excellence is central to our educational and research missions. In April, faculty and students from across the Medford/Somerville campus came together to present the Spring Festival for the Arts@Tufts, celebrating our vibrant programs in the arts.
Community life on all campuses reflected the very best of Tufts. Our student-athletes had an extraordinary year. Our women’s softball team continues their remarkable record of accomplishments by winning their third NCAA championship in a row. Men’s soccer won their first NCAA championship in December followed in the spring by men’s lacrosse winning back-to-back titles. As longtime Athletics Director Bill Gehling transitions to a new role in University Advancement, our programs are poised for further success under the leadership of new Athletics Director John Morris.
It remains a priority to ensure that our facilities enhance teaching and research, clinical practice, and co-curricular life. The extension of the MBTA’s Green Line to Medford offers important opportunities to strengthen collaborations between our Medford and Boston campuses. Earlier this month, we announced that the university will construct a new academic building at the College Avenue station—an exciting project made possible by generous support from Trustee Emeritus and alumnus William Cummings and Joyce Cummings through Cummings Foundation, Inc.
Construction work is well underway on the Science and Engineering Complex and the Central Energy Plant in Medford as well as the expansion of the Foster Hospital for Small Animals in Grafton. Faculty and staff from a range of departments and programs in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering are now moving into the new Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex at 574 Boston Avenue in Medford.
We continue to implement the recommendations of the TEAM initiative: Tufts Effectiveness in Administrative Management. Next month, we will launch the new university Budget Center, which will facilitate a uniform, strategic and transparent budgeting process across Tufts.
In May, we welcomed some 3,400 new graduates to our dedicated worldwide alumni community. They will further extend Tufts’ impact while contributing to the university in myriad ways through their continued engagement. Alumni have been critical to our students’ success through the Financial Aid Initiative, which has now raised more than $60 million since its launch in 2012. In addition to underpinning financial aid, the more than $100 million in gifts from alumni and friends this year will support our community of scholars—faculty and students across all of our schools—as well as our programs and facilities. We are grateful for the continued generosity and involvement of all of our friends.
After such a productive year—and a particularly long and snowy winter—I hope that all of you are looking forward to a good summer. We often refer to loyalty and dedication to Tufts as Jumbo pride. It was particularly fitting that this spring saw the arrival on the Medford Quad of a wonderful new sculpture of our beloved Mascot, Jumbo—because the Tufts community can take real Jumbo pride in what the university achieved over the past year.