Tufts University

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Template:Infobox University2 Tufts University is a university located in Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts (near Boston). In 1852, Charles Tufts founded Tufts College, and donated the land for the campus on Walnut Hill, the highest point in Medford. Tufts said that he wanted to set a "light on the hill." Originally affiliated with the Universalist Church, Tufts is now non-sectarian. The name changed to "Tufts University" in 1954, although the corporate name remains "the Trustees of Tufts College."

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Eaton Hall, ca. 1950, at the time was the campus library. The building now houses a computer lab.

Tufts University is recognized among the premier universities in the United States. Tufts also enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A Research I university, Tufts has extensive and highly regarded liberal arts, sciences, and engineering programs that draw outstanding students from around the world with the highest academic achievement and standing.

More than 98 percent of enrolling students expect to pursue graduate or professional study. Approximately 40 percent of all undergraduates attending Tufts pursue course work outside the United States to add a strong international dimension to their field of study, and the university's language studies are both popular and rigorous. Tufts balances teaching with research, and students are encouraged to develop strong analytical skills. A growing number of innovative research initiatives and joint degree programs are available for both undergraduate and graduate students in liberal arts, sciences, and engineering and the university's seven graduate and professional schools, including:

  • An internationally affiliated School of Dental Medicine that trains dentists as expert clinicians with strong biomedical backgrounds

As of 2003, Tufts University enrolls nearly 9,000 full-time students on three campuses. The Medford/Somerville campus is the main campus, home to the School of Arts and Sciences (including the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Summer Session); the School of Engineering; and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, the only divisions of the university that award both undergraduate and graduate degrees, form the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering.

The Boston campus emphasizes medical and life sciences, with 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 USDA Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. At the Grafton campus west of Boston, Tufts runs the only veterinary school in New England.

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Tufts' "fourth campus," an 11th century Priory in Talloires, France

Summer programs in Europe are coordinated through a satellite campus in Talloires, France. Tufts has dual degree programs with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the New England Conservatory of Music. Some of the strongest areas at Tufts include Economics and International Relations. Tufts has a significant amount of international students (roughly 10%) and a large Jewish population (roughly 25%).

In 1910, the Jackson College for Women was established as a "coordinate" college adjacent to the Tufts campus. Jackson College was later integrated with Tufts College, but is recognized in the name of the undergraduate arts and sciences division, the "College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College." The campus land that was Jackson College is in the city of Somerville.

Tufts University's mission embraces teaching, research, and public service in the United States and around the world. Every year Tufts graduates physicians, diplomats, dentists, veterinarians, entrepreneurs, teachers, engineers, researchers, scientists, and liberal arts professionals who will be leaders in their chosen fields and who believe it is their responsibility to contribute to the advancement of humanity and to the improvement of today's global community and environment.

Tufts believes its focus on its students and the profession of teaching leads to its agile and responsive research efforts and a record of achievement that earned Tufts its Research I rating from the Carnegie Commission, placing it among only thirty-eight private institutions so recognized, and its rank as one of the top universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.



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Jumbo statue on the academic quad near Ballou Hall, the oldest building on campus

The Tufts school mascot is Jumbo the elephant, in honor of a major donation from circus owner P.T. Barnum in 1882. The stuffed remains of Barnum's Jumbo the elephant were on display in the basement of Barnum Hall, until the building burned down in 1974. Currently a plaster-statue likeness of Jumbo resides on the academic quad.

A Light on the Hill Award has been established to annually recognize distinguished Tufts alumni. Recent recipients have been Nick Birnback, Bill Richardson, and Rob Burnett.

The University College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts provides numerous Active Citizenship opportunities for Tufts Students including the presitgious "Citizenship Scholars" program started by the Omidyars.

Every year, right before the reading period preceding winter exams, there is a Naked Quad Run. It involves several hundred variously intoxicated students getting naked and running around the quad for perhaps a half-hour. The run has been held for many years now, although the 2002 run generated some controversy and fears of its end when several students were injured and President Bacow publicly denounced it. In 2003 the administration worked to ensure the safety of the event.

Right before the reading period preceding spring exams, there is also the annual Spring Fling. This event is always quite expensive (in the tens of thousands of dollars) and many bands are invited to play for the student body outside, free of charge. There was much disappointment when the 2003 show was unceremoniously canceled because of rain. In 2004, The Roots, Less Than Jake, and several other bands made an appearance.

Tufts University is also home to numerous prestigious A Capella musical groups. Tufts is also very politically active, with the political scene headed by the Tufts Democrats and Tufts Republicans who coordinate multiple internship programs and host numerous speakers on campus.

University leadership

Presidents of the university:

  1. Reverend Hosea Ballou II (1853–1861)
  2. Reverend Alonzo Ames Miner (1862–1875)
  3. Reverend Elmer Hewitt Capen (1875–1905)
  4. Reverend Frederick W. Hamilton (1905–1912)
  5. William Leslie Hooper (1912–1914)
  6. Hermon Carey Bumpus (1914–1919)
  7. John Albert Cousens (1919–1937)
  8. Leonard Carmichael (1938–1952)
  9. Nils Vngve Wessell (1953–1966)
  10. Burton Crosby Hallowell (1967–1976)
  11. Jean Mayer (1976–1992)
  12. John DiBaggio (1992–2001)
  13. Lawrence S. Bacow (2001–present)

Notable Tufts alumni

Political leaders

Entrepreneurs and business leaders

Actors, film, and media

Literature and arts

Academic leaders


In fiction

  • Elaine Benes, character on Seinfeld played by Julie Louis-Dreyfus, graduated from Tufts University, called it her "safety school."
  • Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, title character from "Crossing Jordan," played by Jill Hennessy. The fictional Boston medical examiner graduated from Tufts.
  • Dr. Melfi, Psychiatrist to Tony Soprano from "The Sopranos" graduated from Tufts.


The athletics program at Tufts fulfills many needs. In keeping with its support of interdisciplinary studies, Tufts encourages the integration of both physical and intellectual pursuits. Tufts provides an opportunity for its scholar athletes to develop with the guidance and support of an outstanding professional staff.

Varsity intercollegiate athletics

Tufts is a member of the Division III National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Tufts distinguishes itself from other Division III schools by competing against some Division I teams from Boston College, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton. Tufts, like other Division III schools, does not offer athletic scholarships. The sailing team alone is part of Division I at Tufts.

Varsity sports are:

Intramural athletics

Intramural sports provide the opportunity to play without the time commitment that intercollegiate or club sports require. The number of intramural sports offered is based on the amount of student involvement. Dormitories and fraternities organize intramural teams, and groups of friends with a common athletic interest often join together to form an intramural team. All members of winning teams receive Champion t-shirts.

Campus media

For at least the last decade, the most prominent source of news and information at Tufts has been The Tufts Daily. Also influential are the campus' journal of conservative thought, The Primary Source, The Tufts Observer (the oldest collegiate newspaper), a general newsmagazine and The Zamboni a humor magazine.

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