A regular meeting of the Board of Trustees and its committees took place in early November 2021 in virtual and hybrid formats. I was pleased to report to them about our shared success of maintaining the health of our campuses with near universal vaccination compliance and low virus spread. Those who attended the meetings in person were also able to witness an active campus of in-person classes, sporting events and other student activities, and resumed capital projects underway. The trustees toured the new Cummings Center, which is now nearly complete with many departments already residing there.
During the Board’s plenary session Dr. Helen Boucher, interim dean for Tufts University School of Medicine and chief academic officer for Wellforce, who began her new role on July 1, provided the board with a report on her first 100 days at the helm. Michael Dandorph, president and CEO of Wellforce joined the board for this presentation and offered his comments and support of the collaboration of the two institutions. The Board also received updates on the University’s ongoing re-accreditation process through the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Much of the Board’s work is accomplished through its standing committees and each addressed many pressing topics. The Academic Affairs committee heard about the university’s success in navigating the pandemic at the beginning of the fall semester and the steps taken to accommodate the largest first-year class in Tufts history. The ad hoc Committee on Antisemitism presented preliminary findings and recommendations which the Administration is currently reviewing for next steps towards implementation along with a more detailed campus-wide communication. The Administration and Finance Committee and the Investment Committee held a joint session to review the university’s endowment which benefited from healthy market returns during the past 12 months. As I reported to you in the spring, the university’s swift action to undertake budget mitigating measures resulted in a modest surplus in the University’s financial position at the end of FY21. And, thanks to the professional talents of the trustees of the Committee for University Advancement, the administration received useful feedback about its plans for resuming in-person reunions this spring, planned changes to the alumni council structure, and most importantly, continuing success of the Capital Campaign.
At the close of the meetings, the Board recognized the service of three retiring trustees who were all approved for emeritus status: Betsy Busch, Jeannie Diefenderfer and Michael Karsch. I especially want to thank Jeannie, who served on the board for 13 years, including 5 as the board’s vice chair. The Board elected Vivek R. Shah, A94 to a five-year term and welcomed Janis Moriarty, D.M.D. D94, who was elected by the members of the Alumni Association in the spring and began her term as an alumni trustee.