I hope that the spring semester is off to a good start for all of you. This past fall saw significant progress on our academic priorities. The key drivers of excellence and innovation in teaching and research are our faculty, and thanks to the success of the Professorship Partnership Challenge and other fundraising efforts, we are excited to introduce seven inaugural holders of new endowed professorships this spring.
Creative and effective leadership is also essential to institutional success, and last month I was delighted to announce that Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering at Northeastern University, will be joining Tufts this summer as our next provost and senior vice president. Other key positions are also now filled by leaders already building programs that strengthen our academic and research mission: Kamran Rastegar, director of the Center for the Humanities; David Hammer, director of the new Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction; and Ellise LaMotte, director of the Center for STEM Diversity. Andrew Shiotani has been named the new director of the International Center.
Collaboration is always evident at Tufts, but we broke new ground in this area with an expanded commitment to prison education that involves working with Bunker Hill Community College to offer prisoners at MCI-Concord a chance to earn a college degree. For the second time, Tufts was awarded funding from the Mellon Foundation to host a year-long Sawyer Seminar series on the topics of family and kinship, which will draw on the expertise of diverse institutions in the Boston area and around the world. Collaborations are also at the heart of greater Boston’s vibrant innovation economy, and in less than a year Tufts Launchpad | Biolabs, on the Boston health sciences campus, has already established itself as a successful component of the increasingly vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that Tufts is creating.
An important addition to our academic structure came in December with the launch of University College. This new unit brings together a wide range of programs, from K-8 programs and Summer Session to courses for working professionals. University College also provides academic oversight and administrative support for programs that span two or more schools—such as our new program in sustainable water management.
Our work to support the mental health and wellbeing of students, guided by the Mental Health Task Force, took center stage in November when Tufts hosted a Get with the Times event, where NBA All-Star Kevin Love candidly shared his story about confronting his own mental health issues in a conversation with New York Times columnist Juliet Macur. We are sustaining and strengthening awareness through Stigma Unstuck: A Mental Health Arts Series at Tufts.
At the end of last month, I submitted comments to the Department of Education with respect to proposed changes to the regulations governing Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972. We are deeply committed to continuing our efforts to eradicate sexual misconduct from our community and strongly urge the Department of Education to reject any changes that would be counterproductive to that goal.
The calendar this fall included many wonderful celebrations, starting in late September when some 3,000 neighbors turned out to enjoy Community Day. The School of Dental Medicine celebrated its 150th anniversary, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy its 40th. The Leonard Carmichael Society, the university’s first public service student organization and long a beacon for civic engagement on campus, marked 60 years of service.
Throughout the fall, the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series delivered yet another impressive array of national leaders, some of whom were also interviewed for Tell Me More, a new podcast series featuring thoughtful interviews with notable visitors. And in athletics, it was an outstanding fall season, with five teams qualifying for NCAA competition. Men’s soccer went on to win its third NCAA Championship and women’s field hockey was the top-scoring team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference and runner-up in the NCAA championship.
Finally, giving to Tufts has also gathered momentum. The SMFA Art Sale at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, an event where purchases go to support financial aid, again drew strong crowds. #GivingTuesday continued to inspire record-breaking support, bringing in 8,684 gifts and raising nearly $2.5 million. Meanwhile, total achievement in Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts now stands at $765 million—more than halfway toward our $1.5-billion goal.
These and all Tufts’ achievements are made possible by our shared commitment to the university and its aspirations. Thank you for helping Tufts continue to extend its impact and reach new heights. I hope all of you have a fulfilling spring semester.