I hope you are having a wonderful start to the new year and a great beginning of the spring semester. I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to the faculty, staff, and students who are new to the Tufts community.
As I reflect on the fall semester and look ahead to the spring, I would like to first acknowledge the difficult time our community has faced owing to the multiple bomb threats directed towards our campuses. While thankfully no bombs were identified and we were able to safely resume operations, I recognize that these threats have taken a toll on our community and generated feelings of anxiety and vulnerability. Our students, faculty, and staff of color, and those deeply committed to DEIJ work, were especially affected by these anonymous threats, the nature of which sought to intimidate and undermine Tufts’ important mission of defending democracy and promoting values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. However, these threats did not cause us to falter – on the contrary, they only reinforced the importance of Tufts’ mission and the vital work we all do every day towards the pursuit of a brighter, more inclusive world.
As I enter the final semester of my role as Tufts’ president, I am filled with pride and gratitude for everything that we have been able to accomplish as a community over the past 12 years. Together, we doubled the number of applicants to our undergraduate programs, we worked collaboratively across the University to increase the number of full and part-time faculty by 25%, and we strengthened our position as a leading R1 institution through our acceptance to the Association of American Universities (AAU). We added an entire new campus – the School of the Museum of Fine Arts – and forged a new partnership between Tufts University and the Tufts Medicine health system. We made significant strides building a more diverse, inclusive university community by beginning the journey towards becoming an antiracist institution and committing ourselves to fighting antisemitism. We raised over $1.4 billion towards the Brighter World campaign and are well on our way to surpassing our $1.5 billion goal. And we weathered one of the most unprecedented pandemics in recent history and emerged from it a stronger and more united community than ever before.
The common word in each of the accomplishments listed above is “we.” Without the tremendous dedication and support of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the countless others who have volunteered their time and talent in support of the university, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. As I look back at my time at Tufts, I am proud of the collective efforts we have made to strengthen Tufts while never faltering on our mission to increase access to higher education and provide benefits to our society through Tufts research, clinics, and civic engagement.
As I prepare to step down this summer, I am committed to ensuring that the university remains in as strong a position as possible to enter its next phase of leadership. I have confidence in our talented students; our world-class faculty who are at the top of their fields; our dedicated staff driving operations of the university at every level; and our devoted alumni who have left their mark on Tufts and the world in myriad ways. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the board’s decision to select Sunil Kumar as the next leader of this great institution. Together, I know you will create a very bright future for Tufts.
While my remaining time as president will be bittersweet, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the next several months to personally express my gratitude. But for now, here’s to a successful, productive, and intellectually stimulating semester and a happy, healthy new year.