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For researchers, great ideas are simply a good start. Your support helps them take off.


I know from my work as a geneticist how thrilling it is to make a new discovery. The excitement of finding the genetic underpinnings of a disorder that limits people’s lives is rivaled only by learning how that research will help those who are suffering. Important breakthroughs in research take many forms. But whether they result from individual scholarship or a multidisciplinary team, they require time, tools, and support. Even the hardest working and most creative researchers need more than good ideas. They need you. With your wise investment, researchers can assemble the equipment, field studies, aspiring student investigators, and other resources that make their work possible. You can help produce results that affect us all. Do you want to understand why breast cancer is on the rise? How we can respond to global conflicts effectively using nonviolence? Or how simple changes in diet can improve our health? I’d like to know the answers to all these questions—and more. And I’m grateful that people who share my desire for answers are helping Tufts find them. In this issue of Blueprint, we highlight several Tufts projects— including initiatives focused on the questions listed above— that will have a direct impact on people’s lives. We also share the stories of the generous individuals and organizations that help make this work happen. To contribute to such research, you don’t have to do the statistical analysis or the case studies yourself. You only have to care enough to identify the need and offer your support. Thank you for all you do to make our future brighter. Best wishes, Tony Monaco

Family’s gift helps build a new home for innovation a

Collaboration By Catherine O’Neill Grace


eter Davenport, A59, J87P, is wild about jazz— so much so that Louis Armstrong’s performance at Cousens Gymnasium in 1958 was one of the high points of his Tufts days. Now, with his wife, Sylvia Davenport, J59, J87P, and daughter, Cynthia Davenport Borger, J87, he’s helping to champion another form of creativity on campus. Their family foundation has made a substantial donation to support an open gallery and adjacent classroom on the top floor of a space called the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex, or CLIC. The gift, says Borger, honors her parents’ long marriage and even longer relationship with the university. The Davenports, who married not long after graduation, recently celebrated their 55th class reunion.

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

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

University Advancement Tufts University, 80 George St., 200-3 Medford, MA 02155 USA 617.627.3200 •

Published by Advancement Communications. Heather Stephenson, editor; Michael Sherman, design director.


An early look at CLIC’s fourth-floor gallery, supported with a gift from the Davenport Family Foundation. For more about the stairwell mural, see back cover.

and learning

To learn about naming oppor­ tunities and other ways you can support CLIC, please contact Jo Wellins, executive director of University Advancement, at or 617-627-5906.

—and All That Jazz “They have the warmest memories of the class of ’59,” Borger says. “They’ve stayed in touch with many of their classmates—there’s a very strong cohesiveness in that class. They both have a sparkle in their eye when they refer to Tufts.” The couple has previously supported financial aid for Tufts students through the Class of 1959 Scholarship. CLIC will be an anchor of the university’s planned science and technology corridor on the Medford/Somerville campus. To create it, Tufts is remodeling a 95,000-squarefoot former industrial warehouse at 574 Boston Avenue in Medford. The distinctive new space for teaching and research will house Physics and Astronomy, Occupational Therapy, Community Health, Human-Centered Engineering, Robotics, Entrepreneurial Leadership, and a portion of Child Study and Human Development. On the top floor, natural light will pour into a 20-foot-wide corridor. The long gallery will hold chalkboards, whiteboards, and a variety of study spaces, inviting group discussions. The Davenports were drawn to the building because of its role as a hub for the practical application of science. “My dad worked for Corning in New York and other scientific

Spring 2015

glass companies,” Borger says. “Support for science-oriented programs in education has been a really important component of our philanthropic efforts.” The family was also impressed with plans to promote cross-disciplinary collaborative learning at CLIC. Borger, who trained as an occupational therapist after attending Tufts, hopes the open design will connect OT students with robotics students, inspiring joint ventures on new wheelchairs or other inventions. The immediacy of the CLIC project, slated to open this summer, honors a second theme of the Davenport family’s philanthropy: direct investment. “We’ll be helping to create a tangible, positive benefit for the students who will sit in those chairs,” says Borger. She adds that the space also could be a great gathering place for events. Perhaps a latter-day Louis Armstrong will stop by to play some jazz.

News o f Gi v i n g , Grow th , a nd G ratitu d e


News of G iv ing , G rowth , and Grati tude

Double The Impact


University match boosts dental scholarships

“One of my patients, a grown man, started crying and hugging me because he was so happy we were able to fix his teeth after years of neglect. Moments like that are why I love this career.”


—Marina Castellino, D15

By Sarah Garrigan

As a child,

Marina Castellino, D15, accidentally pulled out her older sister’s first loose tooth. She has known that dentistry was her passion ever since. Coming from a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, Castellino was able to attend Tufts University School of Dental Medicine thanks in part to a generous gift from Ivers Rifkin, D52. Rifkin, who ran a practice for 61 years in Bridgewater, Mass., until his retirement last year, made the gift to help deserving dental students get their education with less worry about finances. His gift will be matched by the Financial Aid Initiative, through which Tufts matches any newly established endowed scholarship of $100,000 or more. The Financial Aid Initiative has raised more than $55 million since it began in 2013. In addition to Rifkin’s support, the School of Dental Medicine was honored to receive three

recent additional gifts for scholarships through the Financial Aid Initiative. The gifts came from Bill Sellers, A56, D60, J84P; American Dental Partners (thanks to Board of Advisors member Greg Serrao); and an anonymous donor. Each gift will be fully matched, doubling the impact. This generous support helps close the affordability gap, ensuring that Tufts can attract the best and brightest future dentists. After graduation in May, Castellino will move back to her home state to join a local private practice. One of her goals is to make going to the dentist less traumatic for patients by treating them like family members. “My most rewarding experience in dental school to date was when one of my patients, a grown man, started crying and hugging me because he was so happy we were able to fix his teeth after years of neglect,” she says. “Moments like that are why I love this career.”

Spring 2015

A Teacher’s Gift Retired veterinarian plans ahead to support future students By Sarah Garrigan

Dr. Susan Cotter with her Boston terrier, Brady

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News o f Gi v i n g , Grow th , a nd G ratitu d e

Cotter and her husband, retired physician Richard H. Seder, sought a way to ease students’ financial burden and found that a charitable gift annuity was a perfect solution for them and for the school. Their gift creates a dependable income stream for them during their lifetimes and will ultimately support scholarships at Cummings. The aid will ensure that more students will have the opportunity to pursue veterinary medicine, regardless of their financial status. “I learn from my students every day,” says Cotter. “And I’m happy to be able to help them and give back.”




uring her almost five decades in veterinary medicine, Dr. Susan Cotter has earned many accolades. But one of the most thrilling moments of her career was arriving at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in the spring of 1981. She’s been teaching at the school ever since. “I love working with Cummings students,” she says. “They’re all so excited to be here and they work so hard.” After earning her D.V.M. from the University of Illinois in 1966—one of just four women in a class of 41 students— Cotter interned and worked at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston. There, in collaboration with Harvard virologist Dr. Max Essex, she helped to prove that the viruses that cause feline leukemia, one of the primary causes of death for cats, are contagious and suppress the immune system. That work led to a vaccine for the disease, saving an estimated one million animals every year. Cotter went on to receive the Mark L. Morris, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award, the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Veterinary Hematology, and more. She shares her deep understanding of veterinary research with a new crop of Cummings students every year. Although she officially retired in June 2010, she still teaches first-year students, helping them work through veterinary cases on paper to prepare them for the clinic. One of the hardest challenges the students face, she knows, is financial. “Our students go into veterinary medicine because it’s what they really want to do, but proper training is expensive,” she says.

News of G iv ing , G rowth , and Grati tude

Spring 2015

Waging Peace 6

Communications pioneer develops leaders in nonviolent resistance

By Heather Stephenson


lthough he volunteered for military service during World War II, Sidney Topol, J79P, doesn’t think the globe’s problems are best settled by force. He’s promoting another approach: He’s funding research and teaching on nonviolent resistance, to establish a cadre of leaders who will fight injustice without taking up arms. “I want to support a community of young people who will become leaders themselves and who will influence other leaders to work toward peace, reconciliation, diplomacy, and nonviolence,” he says. “This isn’t research to write a paper. We have to reignite a peace movement.” A sense of urgency animates Topol’s voice. The retired CEO was a pioneering entrepreneur in satellite communications and cable television, working for Raytheon before leading Scientific Atlanta. At 90, he directs his current effort from his Boston home office, which is filled with photos of him with Barack Obama, Harry Belafonte, and other liberal luminaries. His goal is peace, and he wants to see results.

Creating a Network Topol made a gift to The Fletcher School last year to expand its long-standing commitment to the study of nonviolent resistance. His support has made possible a graduate student fellowship, student summer research stipends, and the introduction of a new course on nonviolent resistance. “Fletcher has one of the longest institutional histories of top-notch, policy-relevant academic research on nonviolent resistance,” says Benjamin NaimarkRowse, F18, the first graduate student to hold the Topol Fellowship. “Sid’s gift provides the financial support for

Sidney Topol, J79P, at home in Boston

building out that community, so we can convene policymakers, academics, and activists and continue to be a hub for practice, teaching, and research on nonviolent resistance.” Fletcher is one of several institutions to which Topol has made similar gifts. Others include Brandeis, Harvard, and two schools he attended: the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Boston Latin School. Topol’s connections to Tufts include his daughter and son-in-law, who both graduated in the Class of 1979, and his granddaughter, who graduated in 2014.

Roots of Devotion The son of Polish immigrants who met at a sweatshop in New York City, Topol grew up in Dorchester, Mass., in a Yiddish-speaking family. He worked on his father’s fruit and produce truck after school. His military training, which included attending radar school at Harvard and MIT, disrupted his college years, but provided the technical foundation for his later business success. He became the author of several patents in antennas, including one that became the standard transportable radar used by NATO, and led the once-small telecommunications manufacturing firm Scientific Atlanta into the Forbes 500. Since his retirement, Topol has devoted himself to activism and philanthropy, with one of his main causes being the pursuit of peace. “Wars have been notably disastrous failures,” he says. “Think of Vietnam, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon—thousands of people killed, fortunes spent that could have been used for schools, infrastructure, health.” Topol is inspired by people who’ve chosen a different path. One of those is Teny Gross, A94, a former


The Fletcher School “has one of the longest institutional histories of top-notch, policy-relevant academic research on nonviolent resistance,” says Benjamin Naimark-Rowse, F18, the first recipient of the Topol Fellowship.

Israeli army sergeant who now leads the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, a Rhode Island organization that Topol supports. Describing how Gross will head to the streets at any hour to talk down gang members who are ready to fight, Topol says, “That takes as much energy as it takes to be a sniper.”

Research and Teaching Fletcher has for 10 years hosted the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, in partnership with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. The institute brings together scholars, journalists, observers, and participants in nonviolent resistance campaigns for rights, freedom, and justice. The study of nonviolent resistance is also woven into several courses at Fletcher. Naimark-Rowse co-taught a class on the topic for undergraduates through Tufts’ Experimental College in fall 2014 and hopes to teach it again. The new graduate course on nonviolent resistance will be taught in the fall by the Topol Lecturer, whom the school is in the process of selecting. Current Fletcher students are also now able to apply to be Topol Scholars in Nonviolent Resistance. Three students annually will receive up to $5,000 each in support for eight weeks of summer research or a summer internship with a significant focus on nonviolent resistance. The scholars will reflect together on their experiences and present their research publicly in the fall. Topol says Fletcher’s focus on diplomacy is an excellent fit for his goals. He hopes the school’s graduates will carry forward the passion and skills to make a difference. “I’m motivated by my age,” he says. “When you’re 90, your long-term plan is what are you going to do next Wed­ nesday. But I was always a long-term strategist, a visionary. I’ve always been thinking of something in the future.”



Spring 2015

News o f Gi v i n g , Grow th , a nd G ratitu d e

New fellowship honors engineering By Brenda Conaway


hat better way to celebrate the achievements of an innovative educator than to invest in the future of promising students? The Board of Advisors for Tufts University School of Engineering has done just that by creating a graduate fellowship fund in honor of Dean Linda Abriola, who has led the school for more than a decade. Abriola, who also holds appointments as a professor of civil and environmental engineering and adjunct professor of chemical and biological

To learn more about the fellowship, including how to add your support, please contact Cindy LuBien, senior director of development for engineering, at or 617-627-4512. ZHUANGCHEN ZHOU

108% Dean Abriola

“We’ve watched the school grow and develop significantly under [Dean Abriola’s] leadership. In just about every category, the school is far better off than it was when she got here.”


increase in applications since 2006.


acceptance rate to the school, the most selective in its history.


The School of Engineering has a zero rate of attrition. In fact, it graduates more students than it enrolls as freshmen, due to enrolled students changing their major to engineering.

— Steven Karol, A76, A04P, A13P


engineering, will return to the faculty as a university professor when she steps down from her leadership role later this year. Steven Karol, A76, A04P, A13P, chair of the school’s Board of Advisors, and his family energized the fund by offering a “Chairman’s Challenge” to match gifts from the rest of the board. The board’s enthusiastic response exceeded expectations. The university, through its Financial Aid Initiative, will match the total raised by the board to create an endowment of more than $1.3 million for the graduate fellowship. “The board wanted to do something for Linda,” Karol says. “We’ve watched the school grow and develop significantly under her leadership. In just about every category, the school is far better off than it was when she got here.” On Dean Abriola’s watch, the School of Engineering has grown in size, quality, and national visibility. In 2014, the

of tenured faculty are women; 31% and 33% of our undergraduate students and graduate students, respectively, are female.


of engineering undergraduates complete their degree in four years.

News of G iv in g , G rowth, and Grati tude

Spring 2015

Spring 2015

N ews o f Gi v i n g , Grow th , a n d G ratitu d e

dean’s legacy



undergraduate acceptance rate was at a highly selective 14 percent, with women making up a third of the student body. In addition, applications to the graduate school increased by 22 percent. The school established the Center for STEM Diversity to foster the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups in engineering and the sciences. An accomplished and pioneering researcher, Abriola has expertise in groundwater contamination and remediation. She developed widely used mathematical models to describe the movement of contaminants within the ground. “I believe that engineering is an extremely important discipline for the betterment of mankind, and Dean Abriola has made a big difference both at Tufts and within the field of engineering,” Karol says. “Hopefully her legacy and this ­fellowship in her honor will continue that important work.” Blumberg


of the School of Engineering’s junior faculty members have received prestigious early career awards.


Since academic year 2004, our research volume has roughly tripled to $15.7 million.


new inventions disclosed by the School of Engineering in the past five years.


increase in the number of engineering master’s degrees conferred from four years ago. Ph.D.s conferred increased 52% during the same time period.

Cooking up ways to keep us healthy By Laura Ferguson


ow do nutrients maintain health and prevent disease as we age? An unrestricted $250,000 gift from Pharmavite to the Antioxidant Research Laboratory will help scientist Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., A98P, A02P, and his colleagues learn more. “This is a wonderful gift,” says Blumberg, a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging (HNRCA) and a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “It means we will have results much faster and accelerate discoveries that could improve the health of older adults.” The gift will help support a randomized clinical trial conducted over the next two years by the HNRCA’s Antioxidant Research Laboratory, which Blumberg directs. The lab is a

national leader in studying antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals (bioactive compounds in plants we eat) and their role in healthy aging. “The studies we’ve done indicate that it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself,” says Blumberg. “Even in trials with older adults, we can show marked improvements in physiological responses like heart function, muscle strength, or cognition—which may or may not translate into a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle), or dementia. But even short-term benefits in endurance, strength, and memory would be pretty good news.” Pharmavite is a manufacturer of dietary supplements and soy-based natural snack bars. Blumberg is a member of its scientific advisory board.

Tufts medical students br By Sarah Zobel


he first time Nathan Potter, M17, and Jennifer Moyer, M17, went to Boston’s South Bay House of Correction to lead a workshop, they found themselves in front of a group of inmates who’d thought they were being given free time. When the students from Tufts University School of Medicine tried to start a discussion about health issues prisoners commonly face, such as substance use, mental illness, and good nutrition, they were met with blank stares. One man asked them point-blank why they were there. “I was worried that it wasn’t going to work,” says Potter of their fledgling effort to bring health education to the jail. But the audience warmed up; even the skeptic approached them afterward to offer thanks, adding, “I wish we had more people coming in like this.” Since then, the studentled workshop series, called the Phoenix Project, has become an integral part of both the women’s unit’s orientation and the community works program, for men on work release, at South Bay. Ken Freedman, clinical associate professor of medicine at Tufts and chief medical officer at Shattuck Hospital, has helped fine-tune the hour-long workshops. There are questions to get discussions rolling—What do you think when you hear the term mental illness? When you visit the doctor, how do you make sure you accomplish

Jennifer Moyer, M17, and Nathan Potter, M17, in Boston



Spring 2015

N ews o f Gi v i n g , Grow th , a n d G ratitu d e


Situated at the southern edge of Boston’s South End, the South Bay House of Correction is an integral ­feature of the city landscape.

ing health workshops to South Bay House of Correction “There’s a cycle of recidivism that is related to health care and mental health, which is related to poverty, homelessness, and using the ER. It’s all connected.”

Correctional Health in March. everything you want to?—but Through student organization the goal is to give participants funding, they’ve also been able space to talk. To encourage that, to bring guests to the medical they’re separated into smaller school to discuss working and groups, which are facilitated by living in prison. other medical students. The time constraints of Potter’s brainchild, the third-year med students are Phoenix Project was spurred leading Potter and Moyer to by some of his family memturn over the reins to incoming bers’ own brushes with the law second-years, but they plan to and his subsequent research —Jennifer Moyer, M17 circle back later to serve again as into prison health care; it was mentors or facilitators. They’re embraced from the outset by also hoping to conduct a quality improvement assessment of Jennifer Greer-Morrissey, coordinator of the Tisch College and Tufts University School of Medicine Community Service the workshops and even bring them to additional facilities. “There’s a cycle of recidivism that is related to health care Learning Program, which functions with support from and mental health, which is related to poverty, homelessness, generous donations to the Jonathan M. Tisch College of and using the ER,” says Moyer, who is a dual M.D./M.P.H. Citizenship and Public Service. Greer-Morrissey introduced student. “It’s all connected, and there’s a great opportunity Potter to Moyer, whose own interest stemmed from her for medical students to get involved, to see what’s lacking and undergraduate experience volunteering in reading and writprovide what people who’ve been incarcerated need to live ing workshops in a men’s jail. Today, the Phoenix Project is getting attention farther afield: Potter and Moyer were invited life outside for a long time.” to present at the Academic and Health Policy Conference on



University Advancement, 80 George Street, Suite 200-3, Medford, MA 02155


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


Sophia Ainslie, AG01, has created a vivid, seven-panel mural for the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex (CLIC), a new space for teaching and discovery housed in a freshly renovated former factory in Medford. The colorful artwork, inspired by an X-ray and the landscape of Ainslie’s native

South Africa, animates the four-story open stairwell at the center of the building. The installation comprises seven digital prints on vinyl. Ainslie, who teaches at Northeastern University, hopes it “will create a sense of wonderment” and spark the imagination. That is an apt goal for CLIC, which opens this summer. The new space is designed to

foster innovation across such diverse departments as Occupational Therapy and Physics and Astronomy. The art installation is made possible by an endowed fund to purchase art by Tufts graduates, established by Dr. Joan M. Henricks, J69, and her husband, Alan. To learn more about CLIC, see page 2.

Blueprint - spring 2015  

Blueprint - spring 2015

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