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July 24, 2018

Dear Members of the Tufts Community:

I hope all of you are enjoying summer. It is a great time to reflect on the last academic year, which saw achievements across the university that exhibited Tufts’ unique character and enduring values.

We continue to develop innovative educational program offerings to meet the needs of our students and society. Engineering graduate offerings are expanding with the nation’s first graduate-degree program in human-robot interaction and new programs in computer engineering and data science. We will harness contemporary online learning technologies to offer students beyond our campus a new Master of Global Business Administration in The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching focused on elementary STEM education in the School of Arts and Sciences. A novel undergraduate major in civic studies reflects our deep commitment to civic engagement and active citizenship. And the extraordinary creativity at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts was evident in May, when a special thesis exhibition of work by graduating M.F.A. students transformed interior and exterior spaces across the Medford/Somerville campus.

Over the course of the academic year, faculty and administrators from across the university engaged in a rigorous planning process to develop a university-wide strategic plan for research and scholarship. This process, led by Vice Provost for Research Simin Nikbin Meydani, identified five priority research themes that Tufts is uniquely qualified to address over the next five to 10 years. The university will move ahead with support for a number of high-impact research proposals to advance our efforts in the five core themes. In May, we celebrated the opening of Tufts Launchpad | BioLabs, an incubator supporting high-potential, early-stage life sciences startup ventures in the Boston area.  Recent awards such as the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award to the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute and a gift from the McDonnell Family Foundation to establish the Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction are evidence of significant government and foundation support for our research.

We focus on providing all our students with opportunities and resources for intellectual and personal growth through transformational experiences inside and outside the classroom. We advanced that mission at the undergraduate level this year with the launch of both the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program and the new Global Research Assistant Program. For the sixth straight year our varsity athletics program finished in the top 10 nationwide among all Division III colleges and universities. Extending our support for student entrepreneurship, this year the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy hosted its first entrepreneurship competition—building on the terrific example set by the $100k New Ventures Competition, now in its 14th successful year.

Congratulations are in order to President Emeritus Larry Bacow, who became the 29th President of Harvard, former Provost David Harris, who became the 19th president of Union College, and former Tisch College Associate Dean Miriam Nelson, who became the seventh president of Hampshire College, all on July 1. Deborah Kochevar, former dean of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, is bringing tremendous energy to her service as provost and senior vice president ad interim. I thank Joyce Knoll for agreeing to serve as Cummings School dean ad interim while a search is underway. We will miss James Stavridis, who is stepping down as dean of The Fletcher School at the end of this month after an outstanding tenure. I am grateful that Professor of International Law Ian Johnstone has agreed to serve as dean ad interim.

This spring we were fortunate to welcome exceptional guest speakers to address big ideas and vital contemporary issues. The Tisch College Distinguished Speakers Series included Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. Other prominent speakers on campus this spring included former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and NBC Correspondent Katy Tur. And who better to show the transcendent power of music than the legendary Paul Simon, who performed before a packed audience in the Perry and Marty Granoff Music Center on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

The loyalty and generous support of Tufts’ alumni, parents, and friends are truly impressive. We elevated our case for philanthropy with the public launch of Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts. This year, donor generosity surpassed $154 million, marking the first time in the history of Tufts that we have secured more than $100 million for four years in a row. Total campaign achievement is approaching $700 million towards our $1.5 billion goal. We have raised close to $185 million for financial aid and have already secured commitments for 21 endowed professorships through the campaign, seven of them through the Professorship Partnership Challenge. Alumni engagement speaks directly to Tufts’ powerful and indelible impact on the lives of students, and this year we set records in the combined attendance at Alumni Weekend and our Back to the Hill program for young alumni.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who contribute to making Tufts what it is today. And I look forward to all the opportunities on the horizon as we prepare for a new academic year. May you enjoy the summer season with family, friends and colleagues.

Best wishes,

Tony Monaco