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Civic Life Rising Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch invest $15 million so all our students can shape a better future

From the President

An engine for social good. That, I believe, is one of the most important roles of higher education, and one that has become even more essential as our society confronts the complex problems of modern life. Here at Tufts, the notion of using education, scholarship, research and service to lift people up, to make our world a better place, is not a recent innovation. It has been a distinctive imprint of this institution throughout its history—founding the Fletcher School during the Depression to assist the community of nations in the international arena; setting up the nation’s first two community health clinics in the mid-1960s to become a model for public health; and establishing what is now the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life to prepare our students to be productive citizen-leaders, regardless of their chosen profession. Ten years ago, alumnus Jonathan Tisch, a longtime advocate of driving social change through individual and corporate action, made a gift of $40 million to endow the college that now bears his name. That magnificent act of philanthropy emboldened our institutional commitment to work in service to the common good and has made Tufts University a national leader in civic education and research. Now, as you’ll read in this issue of Blueprint, Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch have stepped forward with another significant investment in civic education at Tufts to ensure that our students will continue to have the tools to become agents for advocacy, action and positive change. There are moments in any institution’s history that stand out as seminal, and this is surely one. Seeded by the Tisches’ vision and support, the work being carried out by the thousands of students and faculty involved in research, programs and outreach through Tisch College is transforming communities and individuals alike. There can be no more noble legacy for Tufts than this. As you’ll see elsewhere in this issue, other members of the Tufts community are equally committed to this mission. They are providing internships and scholarships that allow our wonderful students to pursue their passions, creating endowed professorships that enable us to recruit exceptional faculty to teach and mentor, and funding pioneering research that will ensure that our civic lives are also healthy lives. I am deeply grateful to everyone who embraces this mission. As a community, we celebrate and salute their good works.



Investing in Civic Life

ANTHONY P. MONACO President, Tufts University

Chairman, Board of Trustees Peter Dolan, A78, A08P President Anthony P. Monaco

Provost & Senior Vice President David R. Harris Senior Vice President for University Advancement Eric Johnson

University Relations Tufts University, 80 George St. Medford, MA 02155 USA 617.627.3200 n

Published by Tufts Publications. Monica Jimenez, editor; Carolynn DeCillo, designer.

Blueprint is published three times a year for alumni, parents and friends who generously support Tufts University as donors and volunteers.


Breeder of Success Russell Cohen grooms champions on the racetrack, in the clinic and now in the classroom


May 2016


HEN YOU GET fortunate in life, you share,” says Russell Cohen, V87, about his decision to create a scholarship at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. And Cohen knows a thing or two about fortune. After decades working in the horse-racing industry, the equine veterinarian and breeder has produced a few champions. His latest is his best: the 5-year-old dark bay colt Effinex, who was named the New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ 2015 NY-Bred Horse of the Year on April 4 after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last October. The one horse faster than Effinex was none other than American Pharoah, the first to win the Grand Slam of American racing—the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup. A month later, in November 2015, Effinex claimed the top spot at the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, and then won the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap on April 16. In other words, Cohen’s horse is no slacker. A burly former powerlifter with a massive salt-and-pepper handlebar mustache, Cohen has always been a risk-taker. He grew up in New York City with two brothers—three “boneheads” in total, a moniker that inspired the name of the family racing operation (Tri-Bone Stables) and the Cummings School scholarship (the TriBone and Cohen Family Scholarship). In his second year at Tufts, Cohen started working with horses with Hank Jann, a senior surgical resident who is now chief of surgery at Oklahoma State University’s veterinary school. Cohen soon found that working on horses with Jann was intoxi-

Racetrack veterinarian Russell Cohen, V87, going nose to nose with Distant Sky at Belmont

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cating. Back in the ’80s, the majority of equine patients coming to Tufts—mostly quarter horses, some Thoroughbreds—were from nearby Suffolk Downs, which gave Cohen plenty of time to learn the fundamentals of racing medicine. After graduation, Cohen returned to New York to work with the storied Thoroughbred breeder and veterinarian William O. Reed at his veterinary hospital across the street from Belmont Park. Cohen has treated high-profile clients, including Gulch (who earned his owner $3 million in the ’80s) and Memories of Silver (proclaimed one of the finest fillies in the country in 1998). The industry isn’t easy, he says. He’s particularly concerned about the use of drugs as performance enhancers: “I believe that DNA beats medication.” He’s been a vocal opponent of Lasix, for example, a diuretic that has proven to turn so-so horses into winners. On any given day, you’ll find Cohen anywhere top horses race. Of the 33 horses he’s bred, two have become champions. So how does he win at this high-stakes game? “If you learn from your mistakes and do your homework, then you dramatically increase your odds,” he says. Once every two weeks or so, you’ll find him at Cummings School, sharing what he’s learned with students in Carl Kirker-Head’s equine surgery classes. He gives lectures, teaches seminars and runs anatomy labs whenever he’s needed. The $100,000 scholarship he established is actually a $200,000 gift, matched by the university’s Financial Aid Initiative, designed to provide opportunities for more students to receive a Tufts education. What was his motivation? On the one hand, Cohen follows the gambler’s edict that sharing one’s bounty is the best way 3 to build goodwill with Lady Luck: “I’ve made a ton of money, and I’ve been in very humble circumstances. I’ve lost everything ... and I got lucky again.” He pauses. “Talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s that simple.” n

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Gifts that Keep on Giving Endowed professorships promote research, mentorship and outreach


Mark Nehring

Athena Papas



Robert Amato

OBERT B. AMATO, D80, DG83, always makes sure to pass along

this advice to his students: “We’ve been given a gift to have this profession and take care of patients, so whenever we have the opportunity we should give back.” Amato, the Winkler Professor of Endodontics at the School of Dental Medicine, is one of three school faculty members to hold an endowed professorship—one of the highest honors for any college professor. The family of his mentor, the late Thomas F. Winkler III, A62, D66, D10P, DG12P, created the endowed chair that his former student now holds. Winkler taught at the dental school and was a Tufts trustee and chair of the dental school’s board of advisors. “He was involved with everything, and he did it with a smile,” Amato says. Amato continued to emulate his former professor after he joined Winkler’s endodontic practice after graduation. He served on the board of the Tufts University Dental Alumni Association, including a term as president, and directed the dental school’s postgraduate endodontics program. In addition to recognition within the academy, endowed chairs provide a perpetual stream of support to professors who have made significant contributions in the classroom and in research and scholarship. And they enable Tufts to recruit faculty who are preeminent in their fields. Athena Papas, J66, G91P, A97P, A04P, the Dr. Erling Johansen, D49, Professor, says her endowed chair “is recognition for the work I have done. It has helped me secure more grants and expand my research,” says Papas, who has done pioneering work with patients with the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome as well as with those with complex medical issues that affect their oral health. She has been a prolific scientist during her 30 years at Tufts. Papas, who heads the school’s oral medicine division, has been the principal investigator for more than 65 clinical trials and secured more than $20 million in research grants. Many of her discoveries have led to treatments that have improved people’s lives—a rinse that heals mouth sores in patients who have received a bone marrow transplant or undergone radiation therapy and a drug that stimulates saliva production in Sjögren’s patients, who suffer from extremely dry mouth.


It is only fitting that Papas, whose two sons and husband also attended Tufts, holds an endowed professorship steeped in university history. Edward Becker, D34, H94, who named the alumni center and created a scholarship at the school, established the professorship in honor of his friend, Erling Johansen, D49, the dental school’s longest-serving dean (1979 to 1995). Mark E. Nehring is the newest dental faculty member to hold an endowed chair—the Delta Dental of Massachusetts Professorship in Public Health and Community Service. The professorship helped Tufts recruit Nehring, the former acting chief dental officer for the federal Health Resources and Services Administration and chief dental officer of the agency’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, to expand its community outreach initiatives. The endowed professorship, established in 2006 with a $5 million gift from the insurance provider for which it is named, was instrumental in establishing the dental school’s department of public health and community service, which Nehring chairs. “An endowment lends itself to bringing a sense of stability and regard for the importance associated with the position,” he says. The Delta Dental donation also funded an electronic patient record system, which enables the school to evaluate clinical outcomes for patients with special needs. Nehring has guided Tufts dental students as they help provide care to nearly 6,500 Massachusetts residents with developmental disabilities at eight clinics Tufts runs for the state, as well as others at a schoolbased clinic in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood and in underserved communities from Arizona to Maine. “With that experience and understanding,” he says, “there will be a workforce in place to help in meeting the needs of those most underserved.” When all is said and done, the endowed professorships help Nehring, Amato and Papas do one all-important thing: help people. “I’m very grateful to Tufts and the donors who make this possible,” Papas says. n



The Good Life John Hancock teams up with the Friedman School to promote wellness BY LAURA FERGUSON


GOOD DIET IS one of the most consequential choices you can make

to enjoy a long, healthy life. But it can also be one of the toughest to get right—even though the stakes are so high. Poor diets are the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more people than all other risk factors, including smoking, drinking and drug use. Most of us find it difficult to determine which foods are good for you—and which are not. “An expanding world of media pundits, book authors, bloggers, social media, mobile apps, for-profit wellness companies and food marketers is creating an unfiltered firehose of often conflicting and contradictory messages,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. Now, through a new collaboration with John Hancock, the Friedman School will help more people get it right. Last year, John Hancock introduced a new approach to life insurance that offers savings and rewards to encourage people to pursue a healthy lifestyle, including walking, exercising and medical checkups. This year the insurance company expanded the program to include a HealthyFood benefit, allowing policyholders to save money when they purchase healthy foods at more than 16,000 grocery stores nationwide. Working with John Hancock and the new HealthyFood program, Friedman School researchers will help the insurer’s Vitality policyholders make smart dietary

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choices by providing credible, science-based expertise in health and nutrition, including a free online subscription to the school’s flagship monthly newsletter, the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “John Hancock is collaborating with us because of our focus on real-world impact, one of their main goals as well,” says Mozaffarian, a cardiologist. “Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the greatest opportunities, and challenges, facing society today, and it remains poorly addressed by traditional health care,” he says. “We’re excited to be part of this initiative to help people make better nutritional choices.” “Over the past year, consumers have embraced the John Hancock Vitality solution,” says Michael Doughty, president of John Hancock Insurance. “However, combining physical fitness with good nutrition is even more impactful on your health. That’s why we are delighted to be collaborating with the Friedman School, one of the country’s leading authorities on nutrition. Now our policyholders will have access to expert information and guidance that will help them adopt healthier eating habits and improve their overall health,” he says. The Friedman School also will reap additional benefits from the collaboration, which renews the company’s longstanding commitment to the Tufts Marathon Team, the largest known collegiate marathon program in the United States. The Tufts runners raise funds to support nutrition research and programs at the university, including efforts to stem the childhood obesity epidemic. Thanks to the Boston Marathon bibs that John Hancock, the marathon’s principal sponsor, has provided, the Tufts Marathon Team has raised more than $5 million since its inception in 2003. Starting with the 2017 Hopkinton-to-Boston run, John Hancock will increase the number of slots, or bibs, it contributes to the team. The collaboration will also enable the Friedman School to create new programs, activities and initiatives with broad social impact, such as school- and workplace-based initiatives. “I believe all universities, and in particu- 5 lar Tufts and the Friedman School, should be centers for public impact,” Mozaffarian says. “To achieve that goal, we need to be more innovative about translating our scholarship and expertise into real-world change.” n

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$15 Million Gift Bolsters Tisch College Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch reaffirm their commitment to advancing civic life and producing leaders who can engage in thoughtful discourse BY TAYLOR MCNEIL



S THE NATION continues to engage in increasingly fractious political discourse, it’s more important than ever to develop a community of leaders who are able to rise above the fray and bring positive change to the public sphere. Fostering such change has been a cornerstone of Tisch College, and now, with a $15 million gift from Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, A76, and a new name that more clearly describes its mission, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life is poised to extend its reach, both on campus and in the world. The Tisches’ gift will endow professorships in the emerging field of civic studies, which examines why people get involved in causes and what happens when they do; support ongoing research on youth voting and political engagement; and expand opportunities for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in service learning and leadership development programs as well as internships. “Lizzie and I believe in the evolution of Tisch College and wanted to help ensure that it has a bright future, offering even more to the students at Tufts for decades to come,” says Tisch, vice chair of the Tufts University Board of Trustees. “What we’re seeing here at Tufts is that young people today want to be engaged. They want to make a difference. Hopefully they will bring the experience and knowledge from Tisch College with them as they work with others to create an even better world.” Tufts takes seriously its role as an engine for social good. “We believe that higher education has a responsibility to act to help young people become agents for thoughtful advocacy, action and positive change,” says Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco. “Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch share this belief. Their generous support will enable us to help prepare every student for this important role, whether he or she is studying to be a physician or a diplomat, an actor or an engineer.” The Tisches’ investment in Tufts, Monaco notes, “will advance the university’s standing as an intellectual center for studying civic life.” Jonathan Tisch, co-chairman of the board and a member of the office of the president of Loews Corp. and chairman of its subsidiary, Loews Hotels, has been a longtime champion for addressing society’s problems via the civic engagement of individuals and corporations. Ten years ago, he made a $40 million gift to Tufts to endow the first institution-wide college of its kind, the University College of Citizenship and Public Service, as the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. He is the co-author of Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World, which profiles individuals who have gone well beyond simple acts of volunteerism to make a sustained commitment to solving seemingly intractable social problems.

MILLENNIAL POWER In the decade since Tisch’s initial investment, the college has emerged as a leader in education, research and practice and has gained recognition as the foremost authority on youth voting patterns and civic engagement in the U.S. “It is clear that we need the talent, diversity, activism and civic engagement of the millennial generation to address major problems and shape a more just, equal and prosperous future,” says Alan Solomont, A70, A08P, the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of Tisch College and former ambassador to Spain and Andorra. Each of us has a professional life and a personal life, says Jeffrey Stewart, A90, who chairs the board of advisors to Tisch College. What Tisch College does is instill that third crucial component, civic life, in every student who graduates from Tufts, he says. Deb Jospin, J80, A14P, who served as director of AmeriCorps from 1997 to 2001, has been part of the civic engagement movement at Tufts since the beginning. “It doesn’t matter what your politics are, as long as you are engaged in the civic life of your community,” she says. It’s important, says Jospin, formerly a longtime chair of the Tisch advisory board, “to weave civic life and civic responsibility into everything you do, to make it an important part of your life, how you view the world, and how you interact with the world.” That global engagement begins on campus. More than 250 students have participated ILLUSTRATION: ALEX NABAUM


Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch in front of the newly renamed Tisch College. “What we’re seeing here at Tufts is that young people today want to be engaged,” says Jonathan Tisch.

“ This allows us to create even more engaged citizens who will graduate from Tufts with an even better understanding of the real world that they are about to enter.” in the Tisch Scholars, a leadership development program to create positive social change in communities near Tufts’ campuses. Another program, the Tisch Summer Fellows, supports students in 10-week, full-time public interest internships in Washington, D.C., New York City and the Boston area; an international component of the program funds studentdriven projects around the world. The college also runs a Faculty Fellows program, supporting Tufts faculty who integrate active citizenMay 2016

ship into their teaching and research. The work of Tisch College extends to every school at the university. For example, in 2014, the School of Medicine, in conjunction with Tisch, instituted a graduation requirement that students perform at least 50 hours of service in a community-based organization or through an independent project of their own creation. In 2015, medical students completed more than 10,000 hours of service at 30 nonprofit partner organizations.

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“That whole notion of throwing a pebble in the water, and seeing the ripples go out— that is what Tisch College is doing with its students,” says Stewart. The new professorships that will be created through the Tisches’ philanthropy are part of an ongoing effort to advance Tisch College as a national leader in civic studies. Faculty in these positions will hold joint appointments in Tisch College and in another school at Tufts. The Tisch research program, including the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the nation’s leading center on youth voting and political engagement, and the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, which is conducting a first-of-its-kind national study of college voting rates, “is on a growth trajectory,” says Peter Levine, the college’s associate dean of research. “We have 10 social scientists on staff doing research. We have an agenda of trying to change civic life in America.” One way to do that is to develop better high school civic education, says Levine. “A civics class is not the only way to improve civic life, but our research shows it works and it can reach all young people.” He points to work Tisch researchers did to help implement Florida’s new required course and exam for civics. Another component of the Tisch experience is the new 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program, in which accepted undergraduates spend a year doing full-time community service before beginning their four years of study on campus. The initial class of 15 students will complete their assignments in Nicaragua, Spain and Brazil in May. All of these programs, Jonathan Tisch says, are what make a Tufts education so valuable. “When you can take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations, then it becomes even more indelible in your philosophy and your understanding of your responsibility to the community,” he says. “It allows us to create even more engaged citizens who will graduate from Tufts with an even bet7 ter understanding of the real world that they are about to enter.” n If you’d like to learn more about supporting Tisch College initiatives, email torrey.androski@

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Steven Karol, center, with Dean Jianmin Qu and President Anthony P. Monaco


Entrepreneurial Education

Karol Professorship will support collaborations between engineering and the liberal arts BY LAURA FERGUSON

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ORGET THE TRADITIONAL college education defined by majors,

departments and even schools. At Tufts, learning without boundaries is considered essential to students’ future success. Bridge Professors are being hired with expertise spanning multiple departments, and a new major in film and media studies offers a cross-genre option for students interested in both. And engineers can no longer just be engineers, says Jianmin Qu, who came to Tufts from Northwestern University last summer to lead the School of Engineering. “The liberal arts should be a prerequisite for everything,” he says. “Engineers must be leaders with communication and social skills who can be creative and entrepreneurial. The infusion of the liberal arts in engineering will help us produce engineers who are problem solvers and leaders and entrepreneurs.” That philosophy is shared by entrepreneur, philanthropist and university trustee Steven Karol, A76, A04P, A13P, who holds a bachelor’s degree in social psychology from the School of Arts and Sciences. He and his family have established the Karol Family Professorship in the School of Engineering to advance interdisciplinary education and research. Qu is the first appointee to the chair. “If you want to make advances in engineering or science today,” Qu says, “it has to be interdisciplinary to have impact, because society’s problems are interdisciplinary. Engineers have to know about politics, law, public policy, culture.” The Karol Professorship, the dean says, will support research that has the potential for broader impact by allowing him to develop the natural synergies among faculty in engineering, the sciences and the liberal arts. Qu’s own research in theoretical and applied mechanics has led to safer airplanes, among other advances. From the printing press to the iPad, progress is “a result of an engineer applying his or her engineering expertise to challenges in a real-world context in order to create meaningful change,” says Karol, who chairs the board of advisors to the School of Engineering and serves on the board of Tufts’ Center for Engineering Education and

Outreach, focused on improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education from kindergarten through high school. He is the managing partner of Watermill Group, a private equity firm in Lexington, Massachusetts, that helps businesses move onto a trajectory toward successful futures. Karol’s personal trajectory took advantage of the fluidity among academic disciplines. As a high school student at Vermont Academy, he played drums and trumpet in the jazz band Duke’s Devils—they enjoyed a “modicum of success,” he says—but he also was pretty good in math and science. He applied early decision and was accepted to Tufts School of Engineering, but soon discovered that he wanted more than the traditional engineering major offered back then. He transferred into the School of Arts and Sciences and pursued what was, in the 1970s, an unconventional study of the human brain through the lens of such diverse disciplines as sociology, mathematics, music and psychology. “I had the free run of many great thinkers and ideas. It was a broad experience,” says Karol. “I am grateful that Tufts allowed me to follow my intellectual curiosity and inquisitiveness down whichever path it led and provided exceptional professors and mentors to guide me along the way. To this day, I continue to pursue opportunities to expand my horizons, challenge myself and the status quo, and learn new things in much the same way I was inspired to learn while I was at Tufts.” With his wife, Michelle, and their three daughters, two of whom graduated from Tufts, Karol previously endowed a scholarship fund to give undergraduates those same opportunities. And through the endowed professorship, Karol is supporting a talented academic leader and researcher who shares his passion for what makes a Tufts education distinctive: a personalized experience that encourages students to inquire, innovate and invent. Qu, who came of age in China during the Cultural Revolution, and left for graduate study in the United States after earning a B.S. in mathematics from Jilin University, “embodies Tufts to me,” Karol says. “The more we can develop critical thinking and enable the entrepreneurial spirit,” he says, “the better chance we have of making the world a better place.” n


A $10 Million Investment in the Life Sciences Biologist Michael Levin will lead one of two Allen Discovery Centers in the nation designed to speed the pace of discovery BY JACQUELINE MITCHELL


ROWING NEW EYES and limbs in place, preventing tumors from

forming, slowing the process of aging—these are just some of the medical breakthroughs Tufts researchers will explore thanks to a $10 million grant, one of only two in the nation given by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen to fund research at the frontiers of the life sciences. The grant will fund the new Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University for Reading and Writing the Morphogenetic Code, which Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin will lead. The center will focus on the role of bioelectrical signaling in how cells communicate as they create and repair complex anatomical shapes—an area of inquiry that is “the key to most problems in biomedicine,” says Levin, A92, the Vannevar Bush Professor and director of the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. “We’re going to understand how cells and tissues decide what shape they’re supposed to build, how they figure out what to do in order to make that shape, and how they know when they’ve achieved that shape and can stop growth,” says Levin. The center will likely be a game changer for the life sciences at Tufts, says President Anthony P. Monaco. “We expect this center to drive a fundamental change in how we investigate, teach and learn the quantitative biological sciences and how we extend that knowledge,” he says. “If we can unravel the mystery of how organisms develop and control their shapes, we may see significant applications to other biological phenomena, including disorders such as cancer and diabetes.”


“We’re going to understand how cells and tissues decide what shape they’re supposed to build,” says Michael Levin.

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It’s well-established that cells in the nervous system relay electrical signals throughout the body via rapid changes in voltage. But in their groundbreaking research, Levin and his colleagues have demonstrated that many other cell types speak this same bioelectrical language during the complex organization of cells and tissues in embryonic development and during the maintenance and repair of that organization in adulthood. Going further, Levin and his colleagues have shown that bioelectric signaling is also important in controlling gene expression. That is, if our genes are the list of parts from which our bodies are built, bioelectricity coordinates the construction workers. Levin’s lab is now determining how to prevent or correct errors in the bioelectric signaling process that lead to genetic disorders and birth defects, degenerative diseases, aging and cancer. In March, Levin and his team reported that they had used light to control electrical signaling among cells and prevent tumors from forming, as well as reverse malignancies that had already developed. Because the research program will focus not just on the molecular mechanism of cells during development, but also on information processing and computation among them, Levin has picked a team with expertise in biology, engineering and computer science. The collaborators include more than a dozen people in his own lab and another nine or so at Harvard University, Princeton University and elsewhere. The Allen Discovery Center at Tufts will receive up to $30 million over the next eight years, allowing Levin to invest in the team and 9 the tools needed to make more breakthroughs in this emerging and highly cross-disciplinary field. The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group will also invest up to $30 million in a second Allen Discovery Center at Stanford. n

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Brave New Digital World A new director works to transform the Murrow Center into a global player




DWARD SCHUMACHER-MATOS, F73, learned about newspapering from the best and the brightest: While at Fletcher, he took a course with the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Halberstam. It was one of those chance encounters that launched a career. Halberstam introduced him to the legendary editor of the Boston Globe, Tom Winship, who suggested he gain some reporting chops at a local paper. Schumacher-Matos started working part-time for the Quincy Patriot Ledger, a regional paper on Boston’s South Shore, covering school and planning board meetings and the annual town meetings where the simple act of raising a hand approves multimilliondollar budgets. “I really loved it,” he says. He went on to share a 1980 Pulitzer Prize as part of the Philadelphia Inquirer team that covered the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident. He is a former Madrid and Buenos Aires bureau chief for the New York Times, associate publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Americas editions in Spanish and Portuguese, and ombudsman for the Miami Herald and, until last year, for National Public Radio. He’s come full circle now, returning to the Fletcher School as director of the newly renamed Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World. His latest assignment: transform the center into a global player in how the proliferation of information is altering international relations. Aided by a generous gift, Schumacher-Matos wants the center—inaugurated 50 years ago by Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey to honor its namesake’s distinguished career in journalism and leadership of the U.S. Information Agency—to be the leading voice in analyzing how the digital age can give rise to democracies or plunge the world into chaos. “Just as Murrow himself was very much a leader, first in the possibilities of radio journalism and then in television, we think the center should become a leader in the digital era,” Schumacher-Matos says.


“Just as we have land, sea, and air and space, we now have this whole new domain, cyber,” says Murrow Center director Edward Schumacher-Matos.

The center has all the buzz of a startup, with new ventures such as the TEDx-style Fletcher Ideas Exchange, which helps students develop public diplomacy skills. This summer, the center and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are hosting a roundtable discussion in Bogotá, Colombia, that will bring together digital rights experts to design model Internet laws in Latin America. “Digital rights are starting to be seen as a human rights issue,” says Schumacher-Matos. “Laws that give people the right to Internet access are viewed by many as essential to economic development.” There are now more than 7 billion mobile device subscriptions worldwide, up from 738 million in 2000, according to the U.N. International Telecommunication Union. Internet use has increased sevenfold since 2000, to more than 3.2 billion people, 2 billion of whom live in developing countries. Schumacher-Matos wants to put the Murrow Center smack in the middle of this digital revolution by developing an online, interactive news platform in conjunction with media outlet partners in India and China. “I see it as a global understanding project,” Schumacher-Matos says. “The whole idea is that by opening up each other’s markets to each other’s voices, we will contribute to understanding, and, over time, we hope good things will come from it.” Other good things in the works are a schoolwide research initiative, Cyberspace and World Order, which will identify how Fletcher can best contribute to a digital and unified cyber strategy, and support faculty and student research in this emerging field. The Murrow Center is taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the extremely high student demand for communication skills, too. Schumacher-Matos teaches editing and op-ed writing for Ph.D. students and editors of student journals. He is characteristically upbeat about what’s next for the center: “We’ll keep building it, and hopefully continue to get more financing to support it.” n


Jake Belcher

It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you don’t have your health and don’t train doctors to heal others, say Nancy and Mark Belsky.


Leveling the Field New scholarship continues family legacy of helping, healing and educating BY DIVYA AMLADI


S A YOUNG man, Stanley H. Kaplan lived by the words “Tikkun Olam”—Hebrew for “heal the world.” “My father believed human life and health are keys to happiness,” says his daughter, Nancy Kaplan Belsky, president of the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, which in that spirit established a scholarship fund at the Tufts University School of Medicine in recognition of Nancy’s husband, Mark Belsky, M74. The son of Jewish immigrants who ran a plumbing business in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Kaplan aspired to become a doctor. He graduated second in his class at Brooklyn College, applied to every public medical school in New York State—and was rejected by them all. The reason: his faith. The Immigration Act of 1924, which limited immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, had given rise to quotas capping the Jewish population of student bodies, according to Sol Gittleman, the Alice and Nathan Gantcher University Professor of Judaic Studies at Tufts. Kaplan faced a choice: leave home and train in Europe, as his cousins had done, or give up on his dream of becoming a physician. He did neither. Instead, Kaplan, who had a gift for tutoring his peers in grade school, found a new way to help and heal: He opened a tutoring business in his parents’ basement to assist others in gaining admission to college based solely on their abilities. That mom-and-pop business, the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center, blossomed into a company whose name has become synonymous with success on college entrance exams, Kaplan Test Prep. “Instead of becoming a doctor, my father trained hundreds of thousands of scholars to become doctors with his MCAT

May 2016

N ew s of G i v i ng , G r o w t h and Grati tude

[Medical College Admissions Test] and medical boards [United States Medical Licensing Examination] courses,” says Nancy. In 1984, the Washington Post Company bought the family business, and Stanley and his wife, Rita, used a portion of the proceeds to create the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation with missions of creating greater access to education and improving medical care. Last summer, the foundation’s board established the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Scholarship Fund in honor of Mark Belsky at the School of Medicine; the gift will be doubled through the university’s Financial Aid Initiative. Scholarships can level the playing field, Nancy and Mark say, noting that someone who has the passion and skill should never fear that money is a barrier to his or her success. Mark, who also serves on the board of the family foundation, became a highly soughtafter Boston-area hand surgeon, treating everyone from athletes and musicians to infants and the elderly. He was consistently named to Boston Magazine’s “Top Doctors” list. As chairman of orthopedics at NewtonWellesley Hospital for 26 years, Mark perpetuated the teaching legacy in the Kaplan family by mentoring students. These days, he is semiretired, but remains involved with the School of Medicine as a member of its board of advisors and as a clinical professor of orthopedics. “The opportunity to become a physician and train at Tufts transformed my life,” says Mark. “I thought this scholarship would be a good use of our philanthropic resources to make it more affordable for good, young doctors to train at Tufts.” Tufts School of Medicine, unlike other American medical schools in the 1930s, did not apply a Jewish quota, says Gittleman. Though the school received a letter of reprimand from the American Association of Medical Colleges because of that, Tufts stood by its decision. The Belskys say that made their gift all the more meaningful. “We’re really committed to11 helping young people reach their aspirations, which my father was unable to do because of his religious faith,” says Nancy. “Supporting an institution for which religion was not a barrier is very important to us.” n

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Abigail Barton in front of a mural made of recycled materials that her team created in León, Nicaragua

Madeline Weir and Daniela Sanchez explore Madrid’s Retiro Park.

Justin Mejia near the Prado Museum in Madrid

Isabel Schneider at work in the game room she designed for an afterschool program in León


Fourteen undergraduates deferred admission this year to participate in the inaugural 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program of the Tisch College of Civic Life. They are volunteering their talents in service to communities at sponsored sites in Nicaragua, Spain and Brazil.

Blueprint Spring 2016  

Blueprint Spring 2016

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