Friday, February, 3rd, 2023 Speeches and Messages
February 3, 2023
Dear members of the Tufts community,
A regular session of the Board of Trustees and its committees took place in early November 2022.
The board was updated on the rapid enrollment and programmatic growth of University College which launched only four years ago. Dean Joe Auner and his team have improved structural access to a Tufts education, diversified Tufts program and revenue streams, and laid the systems, process, and cultural foundation for ‘Tufts for Life’. Joe has decided to step down as dean to return to the faculty on June 30, 2023, and I join the board and his colleagues in thanking him for his service and for the noteworthy progress. Provost Genco has launched the search for the next dean of University College.
We like to take advantage of the trustees’ presence on campus to show the university capital projects first-hand. The mild November weather offered an opportunity to tour the Athletics projects underway and recently completed which included Gittleman Park Baseball Field, the site of the new tennis courts, the Squash Courts which we dedicated recently, locker room renovations which are underway, and Tye Court at Cousens Gymnasium. On the board’s future visits, we hope to show them the recently completed Clinical Skills Simulation Center at the School of Medicine on the Boston Health Sciences campus.
It is always a challenge to encapsulate all of the university’s progress and the unique challenges in my own update to the board, but I was pleased to share much good news. We have resumed many in-person traditions like matriculation, Parents and Family weekend, and homecoming. I announced the recent leadership transitions appointing a new Vice Provost for Education, four new deans, and our first Executive Director of Sustainability. And I was extremely pleased to report that our progress towards achieving the Brighter World fundraising goals is encouraging.
Still, in the uncertain times driven by the ongoing pandemic, inflation, supply chain challenges, and a volatile capital market, we must collectively be vigilant of our spending, investment, and enrollment goals. To that end, each of the board’s committees that convened recently are thoroughly addressing those challenges collaboratively and creatively with the administration.
At the close of the regular session, the Board recognized the service of four retiring trustees who were all approved for emeritus status: John de Jong, Michael Gordon, Diane Hessan, and Peter Kamin. And David A. Chang A01, Kristy Endo A05, Jason P. Epstein A96, and Daniel Zilberman A96 were elected to five-year terms which started immediately following the annual meeting.
And as you now are all aware, the Board of Trustees met for a special session later in November with the express purpose of taking action on the recommendation made by the Presidential Search Committee, which had broad representation from the Tufts community to appoint Sunil Kumar as the 14th president of Tufts University. Many of you already had the pleasure to make his acquaintance and congratulate him at the community events held on the campuses on November 17 and 18, and we look forward to welcoming him into the Tufts community this summer.