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Summer 2005
  “You are worthy!”
Greek prime minister urges graduates to fight the good fight—and change the world
  Veterinary School Celebrates a New Name
  Climate Initiative Lauded
  Grant Boosts Lifelong Learning Program
  Bright Ideas at TUTV
“You are worthy!”

With a hearty cry of the Greek word “axioi!”—“you are worthy!”—Kostas Karamanlis, the prime minister of Greece, welcomed the Class of 2005 at the university’s 149th commencement exercises on May 22.

“The word means you are worthy,” said Kostas Karamanlis, F82, F84. “Worthy of the degrees you will receive today; worthy of the gifted Tufts teachers who educated you; worthy of the sacrifices your parents have made to send you here, and the pride and love they feel for you now; and worthy to face the challenge now before you to go out and change the world for the better.”

Karamanlis, the first Tufts alumnus to be elected a head of state, delivered his address during a blustery morning ceremony on the Medford/Somerville campus. With rain a likely possibility—so much so that the university distributed rain ponchos for graduates and their guests—the day seemed more suited for late March than late May. But the joy of the occasion and buoyant mood of the crowd overcame the weather.

The university awarded 2,163 degrees to candidates from its eight schools, including 1,081 undergraduate and 1,082 graduate degrees. President Lawrence S. Bacow presented honorary degrees to Karamanlis; Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima and a former Tufts mathematics professor; James O. Freedman, the former president of Dartmouth College; Ann Graybiel, professor of neuroscience at MIT and a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Tufts; and William Hurt, A72, Academy Award–winning actor.

President Lawrence S. Bacow (third from right) is joined by honorary degree recipients (l-r):
William Hurt, A72, actor; James O. Freedman, former president of Dartmouth College; Ann Graybiel, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience at MIT; Kostas Karamanlis, prime minister of Greece; and Tadatoshi Akiba, formerly an associate professor of mathematics at Tufts, who went on to become mayor of Hiroshima.

Photo by Melody Ko

“Shine your light across the world,” Bacow told the new graduates. “We will all be watching from this Hill.”

Bacow also noted a particular connection to the Class of 2005. “This class is special to Adele [Fleet Bacow] and me. We came to Tufts together four years ago … we will always treasure these memories, as we hope you will as well.”

In a speech peppered with references to Greek philosophers and poets, Karamanlis urged members of the Class of ’05 not to lose sight of their ideals.

“Plato defined education as ‘the particular learning that leads you through life to hate what should be hated and love what should be loved,’ ” he said. “We can all figure out what should be hated: cruelty, exploitation, corruption, abuse of power, abuse of trust, abuse of the environment, poverty, and misery.

“When young, as you are now, we have a low threshold of indignation against these injustices. Some people, as they grow older and find it hard to combat such evils, grow weary and become less willing to continue the struggle. But I hope and trust that your years at Tufts have fortified you with the stamina not to lose heart, but to continue fighting all those good fights and make progress possible.”

The prime minister cited his uncle, the Greek leader Konstantinos Karamanlis, who led the reconstruction of Greece after World War II and for whom a chair in Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies at the Fletcher School is named. “It is the task of our generation to bring our country to the forefront of European development, to fully integrate our broader neighborhood to the European institutions and give all young people the opportunity to excel themselves. And, furthermore, turn our country into a center of education and culture to benefit not only Greece, but all the peoples of the region,” he said.

“These are difficult challenges, and you will face tasks just as daunting in the fields you have chosen as careers,” Karamanlis said. “How can you do it with confidence and resolve? Your experience here at Tufts should help you, as it did me, because the other part of Plato’s definition

of education—‘learning to love what should be loved’—also characterizes this university.”

Carrying on a new Tufts tradition, students from the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences attended smaller, individualized ceremonies during “Phase II” of the commencement exercises. Hiroshima mayor Akiba spoke to the graduates in sociology, peace and justice studies, and anthropology.

The ceremony for graduates in drama, dance, and music featured a talk by William Hurt, who graduated from Tufts in 1972 with a degree in drama before going on to the Juilliard School in New York and a successful stage and film career.

“When I think about Tufts, I think about my teachers,” Hurt said in a heartfelt address in which he reminisced about his college experiences—which included several humorous on-stage mishaps—and offered philosophical advice for those seeking a career in the performing arts.

“We all want respect, but not at the expense of our integrity,” he said. “That’s been the most important thing in my life.”

Hurt said he was originally drawn to Tufts because of the reputation of Marston Balch, who established Tufts’ drama department and the innovative theater-in-the-round, which now bears his name. “For [Balch], theater was not a fake thing,” Hurt said. “It was a great art form.

“I don’t think of anybody as highly as I think of teachers,” he said. The teachers at Tufts “lit my fire, and it has never gone out. I don’t think it will ever go out.

“To me, the theater isn’t about getting attention, it’s about paying attention,” he said. “Broaden your base. If you want your heights to be high, if you want a pinnacle, you also have to have width. Don’t concentrate on the heights.”

After the main commencement ceremony, the School of Dental Medicine, the Fletcher School, the School of Medicine, and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences held exercises elsewhere on the Medford/Somerville campus during the afternoon.

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy conducted its ceremony at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine held exercises on the Grafton campus.

At the Medical School/Sackler ceremony, news headlines that grabbed attention over the past year underscored messages both sobering and winsome. Medical dean Michael Rosenblatt began his address by giving what he called “one more assignment” to the Class of 2005, asking them to be ever mindful of ethical considerations as they pursue their careers.

Rosenblatt cited the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, the public debate over whether to disconnect Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube, and the ongoing controversy about the regulation of stem cell research as recent examples of medical issues with moral dimensions.

“To be prepared for the future, you will need your moral compass,” he told the students. “Think about these questions: What is human life? When does it end?” In finding their way through the thorny challenges ahead, Rosenblatt suggested that today’s graduates should never fail to listen to their patients. That habit is fundamental to good medicine. “At some point,” he added, “we all become patients.”

– Helene Ragovin

Veterinary School Celebrates a New Name

In 1978, the notion of a Tufts veterinary school was an ambitious blueprint, viewed by many as an idea that would never work. But within remarkably short time, even the toughest skeptics were impressed. On the sprawling, 580-acre Grafton campus, hospitals and barns were built and faculty recruited, students soon vied for admissions, and groundbreaking research raised veterinary science to a new potential.

Now the school has achieved another milestone and one that gives it a secure future. On May 5, the veterinary school officially took a new name, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, in recognition of the generosity of Cummings Foundation, Inc., and its chief benefactors, William S. and Joyce M. Cummings. It is the first veterinary school in the nation to be named for a donor.

Members of the Tufts community, representatives from Cummings Foundation, and local officials gathered for the historic event in a celebration brimming with praise for the school and its champions. Its most recent and most generous advocate stepped forward last summer, when Cummings Foundation pledged to invest $50 million in the school, one of the largest commitments ever made to a veterinary school in the United States or to a Massachusetts college or university.

In his remarks at the ceremony, President Lawrence S. Bacow focused on the close connection forged between the veterinary school and the Cummings family. “Our veterinary school now proudly bears a name synonymous with visionary leadership in business, education, and philanthropy,” he said. “We are enormously grateful to Cummings Foundation and to Bill and Joyce Cummings for their confidence in the faculty, staff, and students who are dedicated to the humane treatment of animals, the advancement of new knowledge, and excellence in higher education.”

William S. Cummings, president of Cummings Foundation, graduated from Tufts in 1958. He has long been a valued contributor to his alma mater through his service as an overseer of Tufts Medical School, as a trustee of the university, and through the endowment of the Cummings Family Chair in Entrepreneurship and Business Economics (see profile).

“I am very proud of our close association with Tufts University, and, in particular, the newly renamed Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,” he said. “The Cummings School’s role in fighting human communicable diseases, as well as those in animals, and in combating world famine cannot be overstated. It is also the only source of new veterinarians in New England, which is extremely important to the economy of the entire region.”

During the ceremony, Dean Phil Kosch recognized the work of Dr. Thomas Murnane, who as Senior Vice President at Tufts for decades worked side-by-side with Presidents Jean Mayer and John DiBiaggio “to give this school a very strong start.

“Today we celebrate a new name and new potential,” he said. “In our first quarter century, Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine became widely recognized as an entrepreneurial school, charting future directions for the veterinary profession. As the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, we intend to maintain that leadership role. ‘Cummings’ will be synonymous with innovation and excellence in veterinary education, service, and research.”

Climate Initiative Lauded
Tufts University’s Climate Initiative (TCI), a far-reaching program to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions, has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2005 Climate Protection Award. TCI is one of just 17 award winners from the U.S., India, and Japan to receive this prestigious recognition for “exemplary efforts and achievements in protecting the environment. “Climate change is one of the most complex and important environmental issues of our time,” said President Lawrence S. Bacow. “At Tufts, we are trying to help address this problem through our teaching, scholarship, and the management of our own resources. We are honored by the EPA’s recognition of our efforts.”

TCI plays a pivotal role in the university’s commitment to meeting emissions reduction goals. In 1999, Tufts pledged to meet or beat the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, reducing emissions of climate-altering gases from university activities to seven percent of 1990 levels by 2012. In 2003, Bacow went further and committed Tufts to aligning with the goals of the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan.

TCI was launched six years ago as the means to put theory into practice. “TCI is a bridge between ideas and implementation,” said William Moomaw, professor of environmental policy and director of TCI. “TCI acts as a university catalyst, a social entrepreneur, educator, and researcher. This flexibility has led to some of the most innovative and effective projects on any college campus today.”

Examples of TCI’s work abound. Efforts to install photovoltaic and solar hot-water systems on a small scale led to a comprehensive installation on Sophia Gordon Hall, currently under construction. Electric vehicles can be rented by students and are used by staff for mail delivery. TCI’s partnership with university operations has led to significant investment in energy efficiency measures that have leveled off electricity growth on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus. In April, students voted to raise their fees to buy wind power, an initiative begun by TCI.

Grant Boosts Lifelong Learning Program

The Tufts Institute for Lifelong Learning (TILL) this spring received a $100,000 grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco. The grant, renewable for up to two additional years, qualifies Tufts to apply for a $1 million endowment grant in the third year. In recognition of the grant, TILL will be called Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @ TUFTS UNIVERSITY.

“We are all extremely pleased with the opportunities this grant brings forth,” said Marilyn Blumsack, director. “We look forward to sustaining the interest and enhancing the myriad of life-enhancing enrichment experiences provided by members and welcome any ‘seasoned citizen’ who wishes to continue their odyssey of lifelong learning.”

Mary G. F. Bitterman, president of the Bernard Osher Foundation, said, “The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to support the lifelong learning program at Tufts University, which joins nearly 60 other Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on campuses from Maine to Hawaii. We are confident that the Tufts program will contribute to the national Osher Institute network and that it will benefit from association with fellow grantees.”

The Tufts institute offers the opportunity to return to the classroom with on-campus study groups and online distance learning courses. Study group offerings focus on subjects as varied as modern art, the world economy, and memoir writing. Members also benefit from informal “lunch and learn” sessions and special-interest clubs.

Bright Ideas at TUTV

Before he came to Tufts, George Psinakis Rausch, A05, was involved with community television in his hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut. So he was excited to see what kind of resources a university could offer. “They are going to have tons of equipment,” he recalls thinking before embarking on his first year at Tufts. When he arrived in Medford, he was sorely disappointed to find the state of the campus television network, TUTV. “Everything was all over the place,” he remembers. “Equipment was mismatched, the system was outdated.”

Over the past four years, Rausch has made it his mission to revitalize TUTV. He persuaded the college to invest in a new digital broadcast system of his own design, and has renewed student interest in producing their own shows, which run on the network 24 hours a day. Under his leadership, students have built an avid following for programs like Haters, a satirical look at campus by three African-American women; Anything Eni, a sitcom about the misadventures of an Albanian student at Tufts; Shorts, a collection of sketch comedy skits; and the rowdy Jumbo Love Match, a dating game where a live audience becomes part of the show.

“There are many people who come here because they value a liberal arts education, but they want more—and that ‘more’ comes through media and creating things,” says Rausch. Though he has graduated, Rausch is staying on campus as an intern at the Experimental College next year, and hopes to continue working to keep the momentum of his initiatives going by acting as a mentor to the undergraduates at TUTV. Recently, he has expanded the station to the Grafton and Boston campuses, started multicasting live content on the entire Tufts data network independent of the cable network, and added lectures and stories about student research to the programming lineup. He hopes TUTV can eventually be a conduit through which students in drama, music, and other departments can collaborate to produce films. “If there was a hub that could bring this together,” he boasts, “the creative work that could come out of Tufts could surpass NYU Film School.”—Michael Blanding