When the Tufts Board of Trustees met this past weekend, I formally notified them of my intention to step down as president during the summer of 2023 after 12 years of service.
Serving as president of this great university has been an incredible personal and professional journey for me. Especially cherished are the moments I shared with our talented students from around the world and every corner of this country. Their limitless potential gives me hope that our future is bright and that Tufts graduates will continue to serve the country and the world by making a difference no matter what profession they choose to pursue. Our faculty are equally exceptional, and our staff are truly talented. Together, these students, faculty, and staff—along with our remarkable alumni and dedicated volunteers—create a community whose extraordinary intellect is matched only by its kind and generous spirit.
Tufts is an esteemed university that is poised to become even greater. That is why I believe that after 12 years the time will be right for the community to welcome a new leader, one with a bold vision and fresh energy who can steer Tufts to seize every opportunity it deserves. As president, there is much I want to achieve over the next year and a half, including successful completion of the Brighter World campaign and continuing to strengthen our academic mission.
Being the president of Tufts is an honor. I want to thank the trustees and the entire Tufts community for welcoming my family and me so wholeheartedly into your community 11 years ago. Over the next year, I look forward to expressing my appreciation to all of you for what you have done and continue to do to ensure that Tufts remains a truly exceptional institution.
A Message from Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Dolan:
Dear members of the Tufts community,
President Monaco has notified the Board of Trustees of his intention to step down from his role in the summer of 2023, concluding what will be a remarkable 12 years of extraordinary service as Tufts University’s President. On behalf of the board, I wanted to express my immense appreciation to Tony for his tenure as president of Tufts, during which he continues to lead the university to unprecedented heights as an institution of great renown and excellence while fostering a truly diverse and inclusive community.
Thanks to his considerable gifts as a leader, Tony has strengthened the university by every possible metric. Tony’s achievements are more than we can recount here, and we expect there will be even more to acknowledge in the next year and a half. However, I do want to highlight a few areas where I feel special attention is warranted. We will have ample time to celebrate the full breadth of his accomplishments.
Presidencies can be defined by vision, strategy, and often the response to unplanned significant events. From the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was obvious that Tufts had a president who had met his moment. The safety of students, faculty, and staff was always paramount to Tony, and he also recognized that universities had a responsibility to serve their communities. He was one of the first to make university residential spaces available for first responders and local hospitals, kitchen space for food pantries, and Tufts’ intellectual capacity to a world seeking solutions. He joined other university presidents in Massachusetts to help author the policies and testing protocols for higher education institutions to reopen safely for in-person instruction in fall 2020 and helped ensure our host communities could open their schools by making COVID testing available through Tufts. He is steadfastly continuing that work by making data-driven decisions to ensure that the Tufts experience remains exceptional while keeping the on-campus community safe. And the university emerged in an even stronger financial position than before the pandemic.
Tony’s leadership of the $1.5 billion Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts has been unwavering, and the campaign has raised $1.28 billion to date. I know Tony is very committed to finishing the campaign over the next year, which will allow us to hire more faculty, increase financial aid, improve our physical plant, and build new facilities across all our campuses. Tony has also strengthened the financial planning and processes at the university. Tufts‘ endowment has doubled from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $2.8 billion today.
During Tony’s tenure, Tufts grew its academic and research enterprise enormously by securing important grants; being invited to join prestigious organizations such as the Association of American Universities (AAU); establishing numerous centers and institutes; launching several new undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs; assuming the operations of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts; and forming University College. Tony’s vision for the Tufts University School of Medicine is leading Tufts to a bold new plan by entering a new collaborative research and education partnership with Wellforce health system, the parent organization of its closest clinical partner, Tufts Medical Center. This alignment, with Wellforce President/CEO Mike Dandorph as a valued and close partner, will increase the research footprint at the university and greatly reinforce Tufts’ “Research 1” status within the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It also will create new educational opportunities across the Wellforce system for students at the School of Medicine.
Tony is well known across the university for his commitment to students and the student experience. Undergraduate applications to Tufts have doubled during Tony’s tenure as president, rising from 17,097 for the class entering in fall 2011 to over 34,000 for the current admissions cycle. The graduate and professional schools have also thrived under Tony’s leadership. Tony cares deeply about student wellness, their community, and their academic experience. Whether it is as a spectator at a Tufts athletic event, a dinner guest at a dining hall, an audience member at a student-led dramatic or musical production, or a visitor to a class, Tony has always been a willing and eager participant in student life at Tufts. His commitment to the well-being of our students led Tony to spearhead the formation of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Task Force in 2013 and the Mental Health Task Force in 2016, which have advanced the conversation around these important topics on campus and successfully created new policies and procedures to better support our community.
Tony has been equally committed to the principles of fostering a diverse and inclusive student, faculty, and staff community at Tufts. One of his first actions as president was to establish, in early 2012, the Council on Diversity. Over the past decade, he has led many other endeavors to address discrimination and bias across the university, including most recently the Tufts as an Antiracist Institution initiative in 2020 and the effort last year to address antisemitism on campus. While Tony will be the first to admit that there is much work we need to continue doing, thanks to his commitment, Tufts is making major progress in recruiting and supporting diverse talent across the student, faculty, and staff bodies.
Tufts is enjoying incredible successes during Tony’s time as president, and I look forward to celebrating these and more of his accomplishments with the Tufts community. At the same time, as it must, the board will immediately begin the process of forming a presidential search committee, and we will share details on the search process with the Tufts community over the next few weeks.
However, for today, I join the entire Board of Trustees in expressing our deep gratitude to Tony for his steadfast leadership of the university, for his dedication to Tufts, and for the clear moral compass and intellectual rigor that have guided him as president. I look forward to continuing to partner with him in support of the university’s priorities over the next year and a half.
Peter R. Dolan, A78, A08P
Board of Trustees