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In the Name of the Bacows

Fitness and financial aid top the initiatives honoring the departing couple

When a presidential couple as beloved as Lawrence S. and Adele Fleet Bacow bid farewell to a university, it is only natural that their fans should want to shower them with tributes. The Bacows have received many such honors. Not surprisingly, given that Larry Bacow is a marathoner and former collegiate sailor, as well as a champion of university-wide fitness, some of those tributes promote health and athletics. Others acknowledge the Bacows’ commitment to bringing a Tufts education within reach of worthy applicants. Here are just a few of the projects and initiatives undertaken in the Bacows’ name.


Two signature projects honor the Bacows’ vision for a healthy campus. Ground was broken April 12 on one of them—the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, which President Bacow has worked tirelessly to bring to fruition. The center, which will form the hub for campus athletics and student fitness, received key support in the form of a naming gift from Steve Tisch, A71, chairman of the New York Giants, and pledges from members of the Athletics Board of Overseers.

Meanwhile, the proposed Bacow Sailing Pavilion will match the strength and spirit of Tufts’ premier collegiate sailing program. The pavilion’s three f loors on Upper Mystic Lake will offer storage for Tufts’ f leet of forty-four boats, a modern carpenter’s shop, locker rooms for home and visiting teams, a large function room for team meetings, and an observation deck for viewing practices and regattas. Once permits are secured, it’s expected that ground will be broken later this year.

These initiatives extend President Bacow’s already long record of support for Tufts athletics. In the Bacow era, the William A. Shoemaker Boathouse, home to the Jumbo crew teams, was constructed; Bello Field, the first artificial-turf field on campus, was opened; and venerable Cousens Gymnasium was renovated into a vibrant venue for hosting NCAA tournaments.

A competitive marathoner himself, Bacow established the annual President’s Marathon Challenge, now the largest collegiate marathon program in the United States, to raise funds for Tufts programs in nutrition, medical research, and education.


Millions of dollars in gifts made toward endowed and term scholarships in honor of President Lawrence S. Bacow and Adele Fleet Bacow will enable deserving students to gain a college education, in the hope they’ll help others who follow in their footsteps to realize the same dream.

A $30 million gift from Tufts Trustee Emeritus Edward H. Merrin, A50, A80P, A82P, A85P, and his wife, Vivian, A80P, A82P, A85P, created the Merrin-Bacow Scholarship Fund. Gifts toward endowed scholarships in the Bacows’ honor include those made by Michael S. Gordon, A87, and Christina Gordon; the Friedman School overseers; Hugh R. Roome III, G74, F77, F80, A11P, and Katherine A. (Davis) Roome, A11P; Monte R. Haymon, E59, J83P, J85P, and Jane Haymon, J60, J83P, J85P; William R. O’Reilly Jr., A77, A13P, and Elizabeth C. Ross, A13P; and the Thomas G. (A06P) & Andrea Mendell (A06P) Foundation.

Philanthropy for term scholarships in the Bacows’ honor includes gifts made by Pierre Omidyar, A88, and Pamela Omidyar, J89; Edward H. Budd, A55, J80P, J86P, and Mary H. Budd, J57, J80P, J86P; The Wedge Foundation; and Joseph R. Martin, E99P, A07P, A13P, and Catherine M. Martin, E99P, A07P, A13P.


An endowed scholarship fund has been established in President Bacow’s name at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, thanks to the generosity of the school’s Board of Overseers. The Friedman School Bacow Scholarship will provide support for an outstanding doctoral student at the school’s John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention, which focuses on encouraging healthier lifestyles. “I am delighted that, through the generosity of the overseers, another terrific student will have a chance to pursue such a noble and important agenda,” says Bacow.

Elizabeth Cochary Gross, N82, N88, a Friedman overseer and vice chair of the Beyond Boundaries campaign at the school, says the scholarship acknowledges the “incredible support” Bacow has given the Friedman School during his tenure. “His dedication of funds from each Marathon Challenge to the programs at Friedman, his work to help secure funds for the Hancock Center, and his personal passion for a healthy lifestyle are all instrumental in his engagement at Friedman,” says Cochary Gross, whose own ties to the school include graduating from its Ph.D. program, founding its alumni association, and creating the admissions office for the school while also serving on the faculty.

Hancock Center Director Miriam Nelson, expresses delight at the gift establishing the Bacow Scholars. “Larry Bacow has been such a champion of our work here at the center,” she says. “We started out with two people, and now we have a thriving international research center with more than thirty faculty, staff, and students. Larry has had a lasting impact on our work and on our trajectory. This scholarship is a fitting tribute to his legacy.”