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Tufts University
Motto Pax et Lux
(Peace and Light)
Established 1852
Type Private
Endowment $1.1 Billion [1]
President Lawrence S. Bacow
Provost Jamshed Bharucha
Faculty 1,210[2]
Undergraduates 5,016[2]
Postgraduates 4,773[2]
Location Medford/Somerville, MA, USA
Campus Urban
Colors Brown      and blue     
Mascot Jumbo
Affiliations NESCAC
Tufts univ seal brown blue.png
Tufts College, 1853.

Tufts University is a private research university in Medford/Somerville, near Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The university is home to the nation's oldest graduate school of international relations, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

In 1852, Tufts College was founded by Universalists who had for years worked to open a non-sectarian institution of higher learning.[3] Charles Tufts donated the land for the campus on Walnut Hill, the highest point in Medford, saying that he wanted to set a "light on the hill." The name was changed to "Tufts University" in 1954, although the corporate name remains "the Trustees of Tufts College." After over a century as a small New England liberal arts college, the French-American nutritionist Jean Mayer became president of Tufts in the late 1970s and, through a series of rapid acquisitions, transformed the school into an international research university.[4]

Tufts is organized into 10 schools,[5] including two undergraduate programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and on the eastern border of France. The university emphasizes public service in all of its disciplines[6] and is well-known for internationalism and its study abroad programs.[7] Tufts is considered to be one of the "Little Ivies."



In 1852, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered Tufts College. The original act of incorporation noted the college should promote "virtue and piety and learning in such of the languages and liberal and useful arts as shall be recommended." Charles Tufts was the donor of the land the university now occupies on the Medford-Somerville line. The twenty-acre plot, given to the Universalist church on the condition that it be used for a college, was valued at $20,000 and located on one of the highest hills in the Boston area, Walnut Hill. Having been one of the biggest influences in the establishment of the College, Hosea Ballou II became the first president in 1853.

P.T. Barnum was one of the earliest benefactors of Tufts College, and the Barnum Museum of Natural History was constructed in 1884 with funds donated by him. Barnum donated the building to house his collection of animal specimens and featured the stuffed hide of Jumbo the elephant. On April 14, 1975, fire gutted Barnum Hall; the collection housed in the building was completely lost, including numerous animal specimens, Barnum's desk and bust, and the stuffed hide of Jumbo. Jumbo the elephant is the mascot of Tufts University.

Walnut Hill as it appeared prior to the construction of Tisch Library and steps, circa 1910. The road to the right no longer exists.

On July 15, 1892, the Tufts Board of Trustees voted "that the College be opened to women in the undergraduate departments on the same terms and conditions as men." At the same meeting, the trustees voted to create a graduate school faculty and to offer the Ph.D. degree in biology and chemistry.

The university experienced tremendous growth during the presidency of Jean Mayer (1976–1992).[8] Mayer was, by all accounts, some combination of "charming, witty, duplicitous, ambitious, brilliant, intellectual, opportunistic, generous, vain, slippery, loyal, possessed of an inner standard of excellence, and charismatic."[9] Mayer established Tufts' veterinary, nutrition, and biomedical schools and acquired the Grafton and Talloires campuses, at the same time lifting the university out of its dire financial situation by increasing the size of the endowment by a factor of 15.[8]

Tufts is in the midst of a capital campaign entitled Beyond Boundaries, with the goal of raising $1.2 billion and implementing full need-blind admission by 2011.[10] As of February 22, 2010, the campaign had raised $1.05 billion.[11] Tufts has received the largest donations in its history since 2005, including a $136 million bequeathment to its endowment upon the dissolution of a charitable trust set up by 1911 alumnus Frank C. Doble,[12][13] a $100 million gift from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to establish the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund,[14] and a number of $40 million-plus gifts to specific schools.[15][16][17]


The University has four main campuses—three in the Boston area and one in southern France.


Greater Boston

Tufts' main campus is located on Walnut Hill in Medford, about 5 miles (8 km) from Boston. While the majority of the campus is in Medford, the Somerville line intersects it, placing some parts of the lower campus in Somerville and leading to the common terms "Uphill" and "Downhill" for the two sections. The offices of the president, the provost, many of the vice presidents, and the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences are located in Ballou Hall, the oldest building on the hill. There are administrative offices in the surrounding neighborhoods and nearby Davis Square. Many points on the hill have noted views of the Boston skyline, particularly the patio on the Tisch Library roof.

The Schools of Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Dental Medicine, and the Friedman School of Nutrition are located on a campus in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, adjacent to Tufts Medical Center, a 451-bed academic medical institution. All full-time Tufts Medical Center physicians hold clinical faculty appointments at Tufts School of Medicine.

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is located in Grafton, Massachusetts, west of Boston, on a 634-acre (2.57 km2) campus. The school also maintains the Ambulatory Farm Clinic in Woodstock, Connecticut and the Tufts Laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole on Cape Cod.


The Tufts European Center on the Talloires campus

Tufts has a satellite campus in Talloires, France at the Tufts European Center, a former Benedictine priory built in the 11th century. The priory was purchased in 1958 by Donald MacJannet and his wife Charlotte and used as a summer camp site for several years before the MacJannets gave the campus to Tufts in 1978. Each year the center hosts a number of summer study programs, and enrolled students to live with local families. The site is frequently the host of international conferences and summits.


Tufts University comprises ten schools including:[5]

Each school has its own faculty and is led by a dean appointed by the president and the provost with the consent of the Board of Trustees. In addition, the university is affiliated with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the New England Conservatory.

The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are the only schools that award both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Jackson College for Women, established in 1910 as a coordinate college adjacent to the Tufts campus, was integrated with the College of Liberal Arts in 1980, but is recognized in the formal name of the undergraduate arts and sciences division, the "College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College". Undergraduate women in arts and sciences continued to receive their diplomas from Jackson College until 2002.

The Fletcher School, the School of Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the School of Dental Medicine, the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine are exclusively graduate and professional schools. All of these schools, with the exception of dental medicine, also award the Ph.D.

The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service was founded in 2000 "to educate for active citizenship" with the help of a $10 million gift from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. In 2006 the school was renamed after a $40 million gift from Jonathan Tisch. It has been called the "most ambitious attempt by any research university to make public service part of its core academic mission."[18] Tisch College does not grant degrees; the college facilitates and supports a wide range of community service and civil engagement programs, research and teaching initiatives across the university.

Under the purview of the School of Arts and Sciences is the Experimental College, a non-degree-granting entity created in 1964 as a proving ground for innovative, experimental, and interdisciplinary curricula and courses. By far, the most successful component of the Ex College is EPIIC, a year-long program begun in 1985 to immerse students in a global issue which culminates in an annual symposium of scholars and experts from the field.

The Crane Theological School was opened in 1869 and closed in 1968.



Tufts University's undergraduate school is ranked #28 overall on U.S. News & World Report's 2009-2010 rankings of national universities,[19] #102 in Shanghai Jiao Tong University's 2007 Academic Ranking of World Universities,[20] and #157 in the Times Higher Education 2008 World University Rankings.[21] Tufts is counted among the "Little Ivies" and was named by Newsweek as one of the "25 New Ivies."[22] It is a member of the NESCAC league.

In the Princeton Review's 2010 Best 361 Colleges, Tufts' study abroad program and experience was ranked #8. In the 2006 "Best 361 Colleges", Tufts was named #7 in a list of the top schools in the country where students are happiest and #17 in a list of the top schools in the country with the best food.


In the 2010 US News & World Report college rankings, Tufts ranked as one of the top 20 most selective schools among national universities in the United States.[23] Tufts accepted 25.5% of applicants to its undergraduate Class of 2012, a 3% decrease from the previous year's admissions rate.[24] Eighty-five percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. The average SAT score was 2122.[25]

Since 2006, Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Sternberg has added experimental criteria to the application process for undergraduates to test "creativity and other non-academic factors," including inviting applicants to submit YouTube videos to supplement their application.[26] Calling it the "first major university to try such a departure from the norm," Inside Higher Ed also notes that Tufts continues to consider the SAT and other traditional criteria.[27][28]


The Tufts University Library System contains over 3 million volumes. The main library, Tisch Library, holds about 2.5 million volumes, with other holdings dispersed at subject libraries which include the Hirsh Health Sciences Library on the Medical campus in Boston, the Edwin Ginn Library at the Fletcher School, the Lilly Music Library in the Granoff Music Center, and Webster Library at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine on the Grafton campus.

Culture and student life

The Tufts cannon painted with birthday wishes

The Princeton Review has since 2005 listed Tufts in its "Best Campus Food" category, ranking it as high as second.[29][30][31] The undergraduate student body is ethnically and socioeconomically diverse,[32] despite a "notable amount of self-segregation."[33] Over 150 student organizations dominate campus life, led prominently by a dozen a capella groups. The school is also home to a variety of longstanding traditions and celebrations, most notably the cannon on the Medford campus, which is frequently repainted overnight by individuals and student groups.

Notable alumni and faculty

Tufts alumni hold prominent positions in government, media, and business: eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, former Prime Minister of Greece Kostas Karamanlis, United States Senator Scott Brown, and New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. count Tufts as their alma mater. Although Tufts does not have a business school or major, three alumni are CEOs of Fortune 50 firms: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler, and DuPont CEO Ellen J. Kullman.

Notable Tufts faculty include philosopher Daniel Dennett, former American Psychological Association president Robert Sternberg, retired Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Martin J. Sherwin, and Nobel Prize recipient Allan M. Cormack (1924–1998).

In popular culture

Tufts alumni in the media have been known to write characters as students of Tufts or a thinly-veiled substitute, such as the title characters of Two Guys and a Girl and the lead character of Christopher Golden's Body of Evidence mystery novels. Fictional doctors who cite Tufts School of Medicine as their alma mater include the title character on Crossing Jordan and Dr. Jennifer Melfi on The Sopranos. Elaine Benes from Seinfeld claims that she attended Tufts, calling it her "safety school," a common Tufts stereotype in the 1990s.

In addition, because of both the school's suburban ambiance and proximity to Boston, it has been used as a filming location to represent a New England liberal arts college. Footage of the campus has appeared in television series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, The Next Karate Kid, and Friday Night Lights, as well as the 1968 film Charly.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Tufts University
  3. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History "Tufts University, 1852"
  4. ^ Gittleman, Sol. (November 2004) An Entrepreneurial University: The Transformation Of Tufts, 1976-2002. Tufts University, ISBN 1-58465-416-3.
  5. ^ a b Bylaws of the Trustees of Tufts College, Article VI, sec. 6.1
  6. ^ Bacow, Lawrence S. "How Universities Can Teach Public Service." The Boston Globe. 15 October 2005.
  7. ^ Kantrowitz, Barbara. "America's Hot 25 Schools." Newsweek Kaplan College Guide.
  8. ^ a b McFadden, Robert D. "Jean Mayer, 72, Nutritionist Who Led Tufts, Dies." The New York Times. January 2, 1993.
  9. ^ Gittleman, Sol. "The Accidental President." Tufts Magazine, Winter 2005.
  10. ^ Tufts U. Joins Growing Number of Colleges Seeking to Raise More Than $1-Billion Chronicle of Higher Education.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Russonello, Giovanni. "Tufts receives largest gift in university history." The Tufts Daily, April 9, 2008.
  13. ^ The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Tufts, Lesley Receive Big Gift
  14. ^ Hopkins, Jim. "Ebay founder takes lead in social entrepreneurship." USA Today, 3 November 2005.
  15. ^ Tisch announces $40 million gift to Tufts University. Boston Globe. 12 May 2006.
  16. ^ E-mail sent from President Bacow to campus students, faculty and staff on September 4, 2007 at 1:18pm EST.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Bombardieri, Marcella. At Tufts, civic engagement stretches across the globe. Boston Globe, 14 March 2004.
  19. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2009: National Universities". Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  20. ^ "Top 500 World University (101-202)". Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  21. ^ "World University Rankings 2008". Times Higher Education. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  22. ^ "25 New Ivies". Newsweek. August 21, 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  23. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2009: National Universities". Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  24. ^ "Tufts receives record number of applicants". Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  25. ^ Typical Yield Makes for Ideally Sized Incoming Freshman Class
  26. ^
  27. ^ Jaschik, Scott (2006). A "Rainbow" Approach to Admissions. Inside Higher Ed, July 6, 2006.
  28. ^ McAnerny, Kelly (2005). From Sternberg, a new take on what makes kids Tufts-worthy. Tufts Daily, November 15, 2005.
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^

External links

Coordinates: 42°24′25″N 71°07′11″W / 42.406949°N 71.11982°W / 42.406949; -71.11982


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