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Where It Begins Groundbreaking research sheds light on cancer’s origins and wins Sackler Foundation support — Page 2


News of G ivin g , G rowth , and Grati tude

Winter 2014

C OVER S T ORY:

Gift encourages collab­oration to expand the possibilities of cancer research

FROM THE PRESIDENT: 2

Pushing the Bounds of Inquiry

In a meeting with Tufts alumni in Manchester, New Hampshire, this fall, I asked: “Who here can say Tufts changed their life?” Every hand in the room went up. This has been my experience throughout my time thus far as the president of Tufts. The stories that alumni share with me—stories of new ideas grasped, careers launched, and life-changing friendships forged—demonstrate what a tremendous impact the university has on its students, even long after they leave our campuses.

“Our group’s strengths are in the biological sciences and animal modeling, molecular biology, and some biochemistry.”

A key theme in our university-wide strategic plan, known as T10, is our commitment to provide transformational experiences for our students. To train the leaders of tomorrow, we will continue to encourage students to explore the world and their place in it. By venturing outside their comfort zones—whether by tackling a new academic challenge, volunteering in the local community or abroad, or running a marathon for the first time—our students better understand themselves and discover all that they are capable of achieving. My own education made a tremendous difference in my life, and I am dedicated to seeing Tufts make such a difference for all its students as well. That’s why it’s heartening to hear from alumni, parents, and friends who share this goal, and to work with you and our faculty and staff to realize our common aims. We will strengthen Tufts’ value for and impact on our students through efforts such as increasing student internship opportunities and supporting innovative teaching methods. In this edition of Blueprint, you will see many examples of how Tufts can transform lives. Ankur Sahu, E91, credits Tufts and its Japanese courses for the start of his international career and is now endowing a scholarship to open the doors of opportunity to the next generation. Janet “JJ” Kovak McClaran, V98, in appreciation for how well the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine prepared her for her profession, has offered a matching challenge to encourage her fellow graduates to give back. And John K. Halvey, A82, A16P, is making a generous gift to support the life-changing work of Professor Maryanne Wolf, A12P, an expert on dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

Charlotte Kuperwasser’s research team at Tufts University School of Medicine includes, from left: postdoctoral scholar Jerrica Breindel; Ph.D. student Wenhui Zhou; senior research associate Lisa Arendt; Ph.D. student Adam Skibinski; Kuperwasser; postdoctoral scholar Thomas Ni; Ph.D. student Benjamin Dake; Ph.D. student Sarah Phillips; and postdoctoral scholar Anna Wronski. On the cover: An image of human breast cancer created in a mouse model by introducing mutations into breast cells. The tumor cells appear green and red. DNA in the nuclei of all cells appears blue.

Thanks to efforts like theirs, and the support of friends like you, I look forward to seeing many more hands raised and to hearing many more stories of lives changed by Tufts. Thank you for making such transformation possible. Best wishes, Tony Monaco

Chair, Board of Trustees Peter Dolan, A78, A08P

Provost & Senior Vice President David R. Harris

President Anthony P. Monaco

Vice President for University Advancement Eric Johnson

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

By Joanne Barker

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“Working with other disciplines expands the possibilities of research,” says Kuperwasser, associate professor in the Department of Developmental, Molecular, and Chemical Biology. Her lab has a long history of collaboration with experts in other fields. “Our group’s strengths are in the biological sciences and animal modeling, molecular biology, and some biochemistry. But when it comes to things like quantitative b ­ iology, mathematical modeling, or synthetic chemistry, we look to others for that expertise.”

Kuperwasser and her colleagues tested a theory that came out of quantitative modeling conducted at the Whitehead Institute. The partnership uncovered a link between cellular plasticity and a genetic mutation in mice, possibly a key factor in how breast cancers develop.

Now a substantial gift from the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation will help further advance research that bridges different scientific fields. The funding will support research in the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratory for the Convergence of Biomedical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences. The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation has funded

he question of how healthy cells turn into cancer cells has daunted researchers for decades. Then a group of Tufts biologists was able to shed new light on how breast cancers develop by stepping outside of scientific convention. Charlotte Kuperwasser’s lab at Tufts University School of Medicine collaborated with MIT’s Whitehead Institute to produce a new theory in cell plasticity, the ability of some cells to morph into different types of cells.

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

Winter 2014

News of Gi vi ng, Growth, and Grati t u d e

convergence programs in 12 U.S. universities, Cambridge University in the U.K., and Tel Aviv University in Israel. “At a time when funding from traditional sources is so restricted, this gift will be a springboard to continue this kind of collaboration,” says Kuperwasser. She plans to use the gift to bring together as many individuals and disciplines as she can through working groups and symposia and by supporting postdoctoral research with an interdisciplinary focus. Kuperwasser believes interdisciplinary research has vast potential. Not only could continued collaborations generate new hypotheses on the origins of cancer, they could also expand the possibilities of personalized medicine, producing therapies tailored to how specific types of cancer originate. “This gift is an exciting conduit,” she says. “It allows us to expand our creative borders and research.”

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Winter 2014

News of Gi vi ng, Growth, and Grati t u d e

Initiative doubles value of scholarship gifts As part of a drive to increase financial aid, Tufts is offering to match qualifying newly established endowed scholarships of $100,000 or more, doubling the impact of these gifts. For more information, contact Jeff Winey, director of principal and leadership gifts, at 617-627-5468 or jeff.winey@tufts.edu.

An alumnus endows a scholarship to cover everything—from books to tuition to room and board.

The Full Ride

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Inspired by their daughter’s experience, parents endow a scholarship. By Micah Bluming

A Second Home

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Virginia and Frank Siegel

ike countless other undergraduates, Ashley Siegel, A15, packed her bags and flew more than a thousand miles from her hometown for college. Leaving her on the steps of Haskell Hall on matriculation day was tough for Frank and Virginia Siegel, A15P, native Venezuelans who live in Florida. Like so many parents, they needed tissues as they hugged their baby goodbye. But ask them today why they love Tufts so much and the Siegels have a simple answer: Ashley found a home away from home on the Hill. The Siegels didn’t travel nearly as far as their daughter when they went to college. While working full time to pay her tuition, Virginia attended school in South Florida, near her family, which had moved to the States when she was a girl. Frank likewise earned his degree close to home in Venezuela. That’s why they’re thrilled at how comfortable Ashley feels at Tufts, which she first visited on a whim during a trip to Boston in high school. Virginia and her daughter scouted out as many colleges as they could in the metro area, leaving Tufts until the very end. As it turned out, they saved the best for last. “I saw she just felt right at home, the greenery, the open space,” says Virginia. “It was warm, diverse, pretty much just what she was looking for.”

Owners of a successful paper trading company, the Siegels decided in 2012 to create the Frank and Virginia Siegel Scholarship Fund at Tufts. They started the scholarship that year with a $100,000 gift as part of the Tufts Financial Aid Initiative, and added another $100,000 in 2013. While Ashley is a big reason why they have made such generous donations, the Tufts Financial Aid Initiative offered an added bonus with its one-to-one match. Thanks to the initiative, the Siegels’ scholarship fund now totals $400,000. Gina DeSalvo, director of the Parents Giving Program, helped them make the decision. “When I met the Siegels,” she says, “I knew they were special people who truly valued the education and experience their daughter is having at Tufts. As we discussed ways they could make an additional impact at the university, the Tufts Financial Aid Initiative seemed to be the perfect fit, as it offered them a way to leave a lasting legacy for their family at Tufts, a place they love.” With their endowed gifts, the Siegels are opening doors to generations of deserving Jumbos. Ashley continues to thrive at Tufts, studying biopsychology and German and playing intramural volleyball. To be able to give that opportunity to others, says Virginia, “that’s priceless.”

News of G ivin g , G rowth , and Grati tude

Winter 2014

or Ankur Sahu, E91, a missed deadline was the start of something great. Sahu began his college career in his native India, but wanted to finish it in Boston. He applied to his top-choice universities, including Tufts and MIT, but missed MIT’s deadline. Sahu came to the Hill determined to transfer to MIT the following year. But he fell in love. “At International Orientation, right at the beginning, I met the people who are still my closest friends,” he says. When the time came to move, Sahu decided to stay. “I had such a positive experience my freshman year, where I was studying world-class engineering in a very international and liberal arts environment,” he says, “so I decided to stay in Medford.” He became an RA in Carmichael, “went to a lot of parties at the I-House,” he adds with a laugh, and majored in electrical engineering, with a focus on semiconductors, materials that are the core components of all electronics products. He also took Japanese as an elective, a lucky choice of language that would serve him well. After graduating summa cum laude, Sahu joined a prestigious management training program at Panasonic in Japan, where he met his wife, Mari. A few years later the couple returned to the U.S. Sahu attended Harvard Business School and was recruited by investment banking firm Goldman Sachs to work in the San Francisco office investing in and advising emerging high-technology companies. They then moved to Tokyo, where Sahu started the private equity investment business for Goldman. He is now the co-head of pri-

Ankur Sahu in Mumbai. Below: Ankur at home with his wife, Mari, and daughter, Emma.

By Kristin Livingston

vate equity in the Asia-Pacific region for the firm and is based in Mumbai, India. Tufts was the start. “Tufts has had such a strong impact on my life, more so than I ever realized while I was an undergrad,” he says. That’s why Sahu dedicates himself to helping talented young students get ahead. In partnership with a former Goldman Sachs colleague, he is currently involved with a project that aims to provide excellent high school educations for gifted girls in India, with the goal of helping them gain acceptance to the world’s top universities. But he knows firsthand that admission into such a university is only half the battle. “When I think of my daughter, “When I think of my daughter, Emma, I Emma, I think of her potential think of her potential and the potential of all of the other young girls out there who don’t have and the potential of all of the other the opportunities she has, or I had,” he says. “I wouldn’t have been able to go to Tufts without young girls out there who don’t help.” The financial aid package Sahu received from have the opportunities she has, Tufts allowed him to put most of his time toward or I had. I wouldn’t have been bettering his education; he hopes his gift will help tomorrow’s promising students succeed. With able to go to Tufts without help.” his latest donation of $375,000, matched dollar for dollar by the new Financial Aid Initiative, the —Ankur Sahu Ankur and Mari Sahu Endowed Scholarship Fund has reached $1.2 million. The scholarship will fund the entire Tufts experience, from tuition to room and board for one lucky student every year. Simply put, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Says Sahu, “Mari and I are so happy to make this gift to deserving students.”


I’m thrilled that the challenge succeeded. 6

By Heather Stephenson

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his fall’s reunion at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine increased support for the school and its current students, thanks to a challenge offered by Janet “JJ” Kovak McClaran, V98, a member of the school’s board of advisors. For each reunion class that doubled its class giving participation, she pledged to create a single-year term scholarship, to be presented to a deserving student in the class’s name. Two classes, 2008 and 1993, had met the challenge by reunion weekend, doubling their number of donors over the previous year. The school’s inaugural class of 1983 and McClaran’s own class of 1998 met the challenge shortly afterward. “I’m thrilled that the challenge succeeded,” says McClaran, a board-certified, small-animal surgeon at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. “I’ve benefited from my Cummings education every day, and I think it’s important to give back.” The class of 2008, the first to meet McClaran’s challenge, harnessed social media to motivate classmates. “We used Facebook to post updates on how many people still needed to contribute and I think that helped a lot,” says Trisha Oura, V08, who served as reunion co-chair for her class along with Misty Williams, V08. “I also think it helped that we made it clear that we weren’t asking for large donations, since the majority of us still have a lot of student loan debt.”

Advisor’s challenge spurs reunion classes, creates term scholarships

Trisha Oura Class of 2008

It’s important for me to give back because Tufts was such a huge part in getting me to where I am today.

Matching gift challenges young alumni to reconnect By Dan Eisner When Stacey Morse, E77, lived in Hong Kong, she was struck by the reputation Tufts has earned there. Despite being 8,000 miles away, the university attracts many applicants from the densely populated Asian city.

The challenge’s focus on financial aid made it particularly appealing, says Oura, a radiologist at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties (Tufts VETS) in Walpole, Mass., who lives in North Grafton with her husband, Sam Jennings, who is also a member of the class of 2008. “It’s important for me to give back because Tufts was such a huge part in getting me to where I am today,” Oura says. “I had such a positive experience there, and I want others to be able to have that same feeling. I also know that the cost of tuition is a real burden, and I’m happy to be able to make any small contribution that I can in order to help other students.” McClaran says supporting the Cummings School is a priority. In addition to this year’s challenge and her role on the school’s board of advisors, she co-hosts an annual fundraising event for the school in New York City and travels to Grafton each year to participate in an internship panel for third- and fourthyear veterinary students. “Every time I am on campus, I hear about the constant innovation there,” she says. “I’m contin­ ually impressed.”

On Tufts’ Medford campus in 1975: Morse, left, with Susan McGowan, J77, a dear friend to this day. Morse hopes to help forge such lifelong bonds between young alumni and the university.

The positive reputation Tufts enjoys is related to the strong local alumni community, which Morse got to know as leader of the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program in Hong Kong from 2005 to 2012. “Engaged alumni become better ambassadors for the school, wherever they live,” she says. As a member of the board of advisors of both the School of Engineering and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, Morse has learned that lifelong alumni engagement is more likely to occur when graduates become reengaged within five years of leaving campus. This propelled her to offer a $75,000 matching gift, to be split evenly over five years, to encourage giving by young alumni. The matching challenge she is helping to fund will launch in March, when the Young Friends of Tuft Alumni will be holding events in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. “Sometimes young alumni think, ‘I can’t give enough to ­matter,’” says Morse. “With a matching program, if they give $20, they’re actually giving $40. I hope it will encourage them to make a gift.” Morse herself was unable to give much as a recent graduate. But she offered what she could and was able to contribute more over the years.

Kovak McClaran, V98, at her clinic in New York City

Morse says her primary goal is reconnecting more alumni to Tufts and their fellow graduates. But she recognizes the need for alumni to give back. “Tufts has become a more remarkable place and it’s on a great trajectory,” she says, “but in order to keep going, it’s important to broaden the university’s base of support.”

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“So many aspects of my life have been influenced by my Fletcher experience. Many of my closest friends are also Fletcher grads. I landed my first consulting job through a Fletcher connection. And I’m in touch virtually every day with someone from the school.”

Fresh Ideas

Block Scholar promotes healthy eating 9

Bequest to pave way for scholars from South Asia By Divya Amladi

S Sloan

ince David Sloan left the Foreign Service in 1986, his career has primarily focused on India and South Asia. Sloan, A74, F75, helped a range of major corporations enter the Indian market while he was at a boutique consultancy headed by former U.S. Senator Charles Percy. After a visiting fellowship at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies and a long tenure as the Scowcroft Group’s South Asia specialist, he now serves as the Asia practice head for the Eurasia Group, which assesses political risk for leading global investors. A regular Fletcher School donor, Sloan decided he wanted to make a gift that would leave a lasting impact. Because of his close ties to the region, he is creating a scholarship to support students from India and elsewhere in South Asia. “I want to make sure that students from that critical region are attracted to Fletcher,” he says. The David M. Sloan Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will be established through a bequest in his will, will help contribute to an enduring relationship between Fletcher and South Asia.

Carnegie Corporation grant underwrites global leadership studies Over the next two years, Tufts students will investigate the challenges facing the Middle East/North Africa and the former Soviet Union, thanks to a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) secured the $200,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation to train future international security leaders through academic research, interactive forums, mentoring, and internships. Based upon the institute’s record of nearly three decades, the Carnegie Corporation considers the institute a “proven breeding ground for the next generation of international security leadership.” The funding will cover activities focused on the Middle East and North Africa during the current academic year and on Russia and the former Soviet Union next year.

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“Corruption, challenges to the rule of law, rising economic disparities, the collapse of states, and religious, sectarian, and political schisms all underscore the urgent need to develop a new

“In 10 to 15 years, the students we work with will be in positions to influence and contend with the new security environment.” — Sherman Teichman generation of international security and foreign policy experts who are intellectually nimble and prepared to embrace the complexities and ambiguities of broad security issues,” says Sherman Teichman, director of the IGL. “In 10 to 15 years, the students we work with will be in positions to influence and contend with the new security environment.” The IGL’s yearlong academic colloquium this year is focused on the Middle East and North Africa. The Carnegie funding has allowed IGL to bring 12 to 15 experts from the region to its annual EPIIC (Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship) symposium and workshop this winter. Similarly, next year, the grant money will support the participation of experts from the former Soviet Union.

The Carnegie grant will also fund three fellows each year. The fellows will spend up to a month in residence at Tufts, offering guest lectures in classes, public lectures, and support to individual students working on research projects. This year one such fellow, former Iraqi National Security Adviser Dr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, will also be a Fletcher School/IGL “Senior Statesman in Residence.” In addition, IGL will use the grant to support global research and internships for students; an annual two-day gathering for Tufts alumni who work in U.S. foreign policy; a three-day civil-military roundtable in the spring of 2014, bringing together participants from the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy, along with students from Tufts and other universities; and a photojournalism workshop in the former Soviet Union in late May 2014, organized by IGL’s Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice. —Heather Stephenson

News of G ivin g , G rowth , and Grati tude

Winter 2014

Megan Lehnerd, N14, (above) talks with a vendor at the Government Center Farmers Market about Boston Bounty Bucks, a program that encourages people from underserved communities to purchase fresh produce at farmers markets. By helping to make fresh fruits and vegetables available and affordable for everyone, Lehnerd aims to improve community health. A student in the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, Lehnerd co-leads a program that teaches nutrition and gardening to third-grade classes in Chinatown. And she partners with the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness as part of her Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which supports graduate student projects addressing health disparities in vulnerable communities.

None of these efforts would be possible for Lehnerd without the scholarship she receives, which is funded by Ellen H. Block, BSOT66, chair of the board of advisors of the Friedman School. The scholarship supports outstanding Friedman School master’s students who are committed to working in direct service to communities in the United States after graduation. Lehnerd’s activities at Tufts underscore her already deep commitment to helping communities improve their health and well-being. “The Friedman School is unique in how it looks at all the aspects that feed into nutrition and creating better food systems,” Lehnerd says. “I knew I wanted to come here but was unsure about the financial piece of it. Thanks to the Block Scholarship, I’m privileged in being able to continue my education and I know that I will pay that forward.” —Kathy Hubbard


News of G ivin g , G rowth , and Grati tude

Winter 2014

Spreading the Word

Green in the endodontics clinic

Advisor supports global literacy research 10

By Kristen Laine John Halvey, A82, A16P, understands how it can feel impossible to read. He was struggling through second grade when his teachers started accusing him of being lazy, of not trying hard enough. Halvey’s mother, who was also a teacher, didn’t believe them. She worked with her son, pursued a master’s degree in reading, and eventually diagnosed his dyslexia. “I survived high school, thanks to my mom,” says Halvey. “I wasn’t an academically obvious choice, but Tufts took a chance on me.” Halvey, and his wife Kristin, A16P, have stepped forward in recent years to put

Wolf has joined an ambitious effort to develop basic literacy tools for more than 170 million children worldwide who have little or no access to schooling.

a public face on dyslexia. One of their daughters is dyslexic, while their son has a related disorder called dysgraphia. Kristin also has other family members with dyslexia. In part, that personal history motivated John and Kristin Halvey to donate $250,000 to Tufts in support of the work of Professor Maryanne Wolf, A12P, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, and one of the world’s foremost scholars of dyslexia. Wolf’s research on the neurological underpinnings of reading has

illuminated what she calls the “reading brain circuit” and the complex processes involved when children learn to recognize letters, combine their sounds to form words, and link them to create meaning. When the connections in young brains develop ideally, children are able to unlock the power of written knowledge and to build on it. When the process happens differently or too slowly, as in dyslexia, such knowledge— and a child’s potential with it—remains locked up. An even stronger impetus behind the Halveys’ gift involves unlocking that

potential in all children, and on a global scale. Wolf has joined an ambitious effort to develop basic literacy tools for more than 170 million children worldwide who have little or no access to schooling—a project she calls “the largest, most important research of my life.” The project, supported by the Halveys’ philanthropy, centers on a radical premise: Tablet computers loaded with the right learning tools and provided to children with no instruction or adult oversight can lead the children to teach themselves to make the complex connections among letters, sounds, words, and meaning. Wolf, who is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab, Georgia State University, and the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values, is cautiously optimistic about the results from a pilot project involving children from two villages in Ethiopia. Most recently, the Vatican has invited Wolf to present the project’s work to meetings of its Academy of Science, as part of the pope’s efforts to eradicate global poverty. Despite his early struggles, Halvey went on to graduate magna cum laude from Tufts. He has written four books, and pursued a successful career at the intersection of technology, law, and finance. He is now a member of the School of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors. Wolf remembers Halvey asking her, “What can I do to continue your work, your outsidethe-box research and its potential for global impact?” His question—and his gift—came at the exact right moment. “It’s the intellectual generosity and vision of people like John Halvey,” Wolf says, “that make the difference between something being impossible and something becoming a reality.”

Wolf

Winter 2014

Green named first Winkler Professor By Dan Eisner

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hen Dr. Daniel Green learned he would be the first professor to fill the new Winkler Professorship in Endodontics, he felt proud of the recognition of his research, teaching, and leadership. But he was pleased for another reason, too. “Tom Winkler and I were very close, personal friends—he was one of my best friends,” Green says. “That makes the honor very special.” Green met Dr. Thomas F. Winkler III, A62, D66, D10P, DG12P, shortly after arriving at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1996. Green joined the school as chair of the Department of Endodontics and director of postgraduate endodontics, positions he still holds. Green and Winkler shared a love of their specialty, which focuses on the dental pulp and treatments such as root canal therapy. The two men quickly became friends. Winkler introduced Green to the woman who would become his wife, and Green served as a mentor for Winkler’s daughter, Elizabeth Winkler Jones, D10, DG12, after she decided to specialize in endodontics. “He’s so bright and charming and enigmatic, the kind of person others always gravitate to,” she says. “So when he

News of Gi vi ng, Growth, and Grati t u d e

told me I would be a good endodontist, that made all the difference. From that moment on, I wanted to do my very best to prove him right. He brings that out in every single one of his residents.” The professorship named after Winkler, who passed away in 2012, was bestowed upon Green to honor his many years of dedicated service to Tufts and the endodontic community. He has served as the executive director of the International Association of Dental Research and as editor of the Journal of Endodontics. “During his 17 years at Tufts, Dr. Green has emulated the level of service fostered by the professorship’s namesake, Dr. Thomas Winkler III,” says Dean Huw Thomas. “Dan’s experience and expertise are exemplary, and he shares both with all to the betterment of our school.” Winkler’s deep commitment to the Tufts dental community was evident through his philanthropy and the time he devoted to the school. He served as a university trustee from 2000 to 2010 and as a chair of the board of advisors to the dental school from 2003 to 2010. He received the dental school Dean’s Medal in 2008 in recognition of his 40 years of service as a mentor, volunteer clinical professor, and board representative.

“Tom Winkler… was one of my best friends. That makes the honor very special.”

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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.

Meet the New Chairman

Blueprint asked Dolan to share his perspective on fitness, philanthropy, and the value of a Tufts degree.

Q. In your role as a volunteer, what do you want most for Tufts’ future?

A. W  e are all thinking about what is the best way to improve the Tufts value proposition. And that applies to both students and alumni. How can we give every great student we admit a unique and transformational experience? How can we engender even more alumni loyalty to the institution?

A. W  ith this exceptional student body

This past fall, Peter R. Dolan, A78, A08P, took the helm of the Tufts Board of Trustees, succeeding James A. Stern, E72, A07P, who stepped down from his role as chairman following the November board meeting. Dolan has been a Tufts stalwart for three decades. Elected to the board in 2001, he has served on eight board committees and chaired the administration and finance, audit, and presidential search committees. He has sat on the executive committee since 2003 and was elected a vice chair of the board in 2008. A donor to a variety of Tufts schools and programs, Dolan chairs ChildObesity180, an initiative at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy aimed at reversing the childhood obesity trend through a multisector approach. He has helped to raise some $16 million for the initiative. Professionally, Dolan has been a leader at General Foods, Bristol-Myers Squibb (where he served as CEO from 2001 to 2006), Gemin X, and Vitality Health, a health and wellness company where he is a director. Dolan is an advisory board member of Valence Life Sciences. He has also served on the boards of the Partnership for a Healthier America, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (from which he holds an M.B.A.), and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

we’re admitting, we need to make sure all of them take advantage of what Tufts has to offer. I went to a Senior Dinner this year and walked around asking students what they will be doing. Too many of them said, “I haven’t figured it out yet.” You know what? Your parents spent a lot of money for you to go here, and that’s probably not as acceptable an answer today as it might have been in an easier employment market of 10 or 20 years ago. Graduate school, a bridge to graduate school plans, a job—whatever is right for you. That’s what I mean about improving the value proposition. I would like to see us spending more time making the experience transformational for a larger percentage of the student body.

Q. G  iven your work with a wellness company and initiatives such as ChildObesity180, you seem very healthconscious. Is yours a fitness-oriented family?

A. Y es, which is a little ironic. When I was at Tufts, we had very good intramural teams, but I would have struggled to run a mile. Today, the four of us can

lay claim to 12 marathons, 3 Hawaii Ironman competitions (my wife, Katie, has done it twice), dozens of 100-mile bike rides, and numerous shorter triathlons. When the younger of my two sons was doing a semester abroad in Barcelona, he decided to train for the Boston Marathon in 2009 and run for the Tufts Marathon Team. That quickly escalated to both of my sons, Katie, and me all toeing the starting line together in Hopkinton and raising money for the Friedman School as part of the Tufts team.

Q. R aising philanthropic support for key initiatives at Tufts is one of your priorities. What do you think is important for potential Tufts donors to know?

A. W  hile we made huge strides with the last campaign, we still have a lot of work to do to improve our competitive position with our peer group. Relative to our peer schools, we have less endowment per student. We are playing catch-up in some areas. Strengthening our financial aid capacity, for example, would allow us to admit a more diverse student body.

Q. W  hat is most gratifying about your work with the Tufts Board of Trustees?

A. W  e have a terrific and committed board that functions exceptionally well. Our top priorities are to ensure that we have the best institutional leadership, to be a useful sounding board based on our collective experiences, to support the president, and to exercise our fiduciary responsibility. The most gratifying aspect is that, even with that serious agenda, they are fun to be with.


Blueprint winter 2014