Tufts College

Tufts University is a private research university located in Medford/Somerville, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The university is organized into ten schools, including two undergraduate programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and the French Alps. The university emphasizes active citizenship and public service in all of its disciplines and is known for its internationalism and study abroad programs. Among its schools is the United States' oldest graduate school of international relations, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Tufts College was founded in 1852 by Christian Universalists who worked for years to open a non-sectarian institution of higher learning.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." For more than a century, Tufts was a small New England liberal arts college. The French-American nutritionist and former professor at the Harvard School of Public Health Jean Mayer became president of Tufts in the late 1970s and, through a series of rapid acquisitions, transformed the school into an internationally renowned research university. It consistently ranks among the nation's top schools.


    19th century

    Tufts College, c. 1854

    In the 1840s, the Universalist church wanted to open a college in New England, and in 1852, Charles Tufts donated 20 acres to the church to help them achieve this goal. Charles Tufts had inherited the land, a barren hill which was one of the highest points in the Boston area, called Walnut Hill, and when asked by a family member what he intended to do with the land, he said "I will put a light on it." His 20 acre donation (then valued at $20,000) is still at the heart of Tufts' now 150 acre campus, straddling Somerville and Medford. It was also in 1852 that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered Tufts College, noting the college should promote "virtue and piety and learning in such of the languages and liberal and useful arts as shall be recommended." Having been one of the biggest influences in the establishment of the College, Hosea Ballou II became the first president in 1853, and College Hall, the first building on campus, was completed the following year. That building now bears Ballou's name. The campus opened in August 1854. The divinity school was organized in 1867.

    Being more than 160 years old, Tufts is the third oldest college in the Boston area.

    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 to house his collection of animal specimens and the stuffed hide of Jumbo the elephant, who would become the university's mascot. The building stood until April 14, 1975, when fire gutted Barnum Hall, destroying the entire collection.

    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.

    20th century

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

    Tufts expanded in the 1933 with the opening of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the first graduate school of international affairs in the United States. The Fletcher School began as a joint effort between Tufts and Harvard University, funded by an endowment from longtime Tufts benefactor and alumnus Dr. Austin Barclay Fletcher. Tufts assumed full administration of the Fletcher School in 1935, and strong linkages between the two schools remain.

    During World War II, Tufts College was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    Due to travel restrictions imposed by World War II, the Boston Red Sox conducted spring training for the 1943 Major League season at Tufts College.

    In 1955, continued expansion was reflected in the change of the school's name to Tufts University.

    The university experienced some growth during the presidency of Jean Mayer (1976–1992). 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." 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.

    21st century

    Under President Larry Bacow, Tufts started a capital campaign in 2006 with the goal of raising $1.2 billion to implement full need-blind admission by 2011. As of December 10, 2010 the campaign raised $1.14 billion. Tufts received the largest donations in its history since 2005, including a $136 million bequest to its endowment upon the dissolution of a charitable trust set up by 1911 alumnus Frank C. Doble, a $100 million gift from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to establish the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund, and a number of $40 million-plus gifts to specific schools.

    On November 30, 2010, the university announced that Anthony P. Monaco, formerly of Oxford, would become its thirteenth president. Monaco's inauguration took place on October 21, 2011.

    As of October 15, 2015, Computer Science surpassed International Relations as the largest major at the university, with 466 declared majors.


    The University has four main campuses—three in the Boston area and one in the French Alps. The main campus is located on the border of Medford and Somerville just outside Boston. The medical and dental school are located in Boston proper, and the veterinary school is located in central Massachusetts, in Grafton.

    Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts

    Packard Hall

    Tufts' main campus is located on Walnut Hill in Medford, about 5 miles (8.0 km) from Boston. This campus houses all undergraduates in Arts & Sciences and Engineering, the graduate programs at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and all of the graduate programs in Arts & Sciences and Engineering. While the majority of the campus is in Medford, the Somerville line intersects it, placing parts of the lower campus in Somerville and leading to the common terms "Uphill" and "Downhill." Many points on the hill have noted views of the Boston skyline, particularly the patio on the Tisch Library roof. It has been ranked one of the prettiest college campuses in America. The offices of the president, the provost, and several vice presidents and deans are located in Ballou Hall, and administrative offices occupy the surrounding neighborhoods and nearby Davis Square, where Tufts makes payments in lieu of taxes on some of its tax-exempt (educational) properties.

    Chinatown, Boston

    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.

    Grafton, Massachusetts

    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.

    Talloires, France

    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 live with local families. There are programs for American high school students during the month of July, as well as a 6-week program for Tufts undergraduates that extends from the middle of May until the end of June. The site is frequently the host of international conferences and summits, most notably the Talloires Declaration which united 22 universities toward a goal of sustainability. The Talloires campus has been ranked as one of the best branch campuses by the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators.

    Academic organization

    Tufts University comprises ten schools including:

    Both undergraduate and graduate students

    • The School of Arts and Sciences (1898 or 1903)
    • The School of Engineering (1898)
    • The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service (2000) – non-degree-granting

    Exclusively undergraduate students

    • The College of Special Studies (1939), which awards the degree of bachelor of fine arts through a cooperative arrangement with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts

    Exclusively graduate students

    • The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (1933), America's oldest graduate school for international relations and foreign affairs
    • The School of Dental Medicine (1899)
    • The School of Medicine (1893), whose primary affiliated hospitals are the Tufts Medical Center and the Baystate Medical Center
    • The Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences (1981)
    • The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (1981), the only graduate school of nutrition in North America, with the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center
    • The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (1978), the only veterinary school in New England

    Former schools

    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 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. The school was renamed in 2006 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." Tisch College does not grant degrees; the college facilitates and supports a wide range of community service, civic 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. It offers the opportunity for students to take for-credit courses with non-academic practitioners in a variety of fields, and also from upper-level undergraduates who have a chance to design and teach their own courses. Another 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.



    In 2015, Forbes ranked Tufts 15th among Research Universities, and ranked the undergraduate school 24th in its America's Top Colleges ranking, which includes military academies, national universities, and liberal arts colleges. Additionally, Vault.com's 2013 rankings placed Tufts' undergraduate school 25th in the nation. The 2014 Parchment student choice college rankings, which tracks enrollment decisions of 253,440 students who have been accepted to multiple schools in order to reveal their preference for their chosen school compared to the other schools that admitted the student, ranks Tufts as #17 nationally and #13 for national universities for student preference. According to U.S. News & World Report's 2015 college rankings, Tufts ranks 27th in the nation, while high school guidance counselors rank Tufts 21st in the nation. In 2013, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Tufts 80th in the world. The university ranks in the No. 101-150 range in Shanghai Jiao Tong University's 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities and 214th in the 2014 QS World University Rankings.

    Foreign Policy ranked Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy 4th in the world for International Relations. U.S. News ranks Tufts as 51st for engineering among schools that grant PhD degrees, slightly ahead of nearby Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Tufts' Medical School and Research Institute are ranked 33rd and 44th, respectively, according to U.S. News & World Report‍‍ '​‍s 2010 rankings of Best Medical Schools in primary care and research, and the Sackler School likewise ranks 56th in their rankings of Best Graduate Schools, Biological Sciences. The Boston School of Occupational Therapy, an entry-level masters program within the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Tufts, ranks 5th in U.S. News & World Report‍‍ '​‍s Best Occupational Therapy Programs.

    Tufts is counted among the "Little Ivies" and was named by Newsweek as one of the "25 New Ivies" in 2006. In The Princeton Review‍‍ '​‍s 2010–2011 "Best 363 Colleges," Tufts was ranked 14th for the happiest students and its study abroad program was ranked 3rd in the country. According to the October 2010 rankings compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tufts ranked 12th in the country (tied with both Harvard and Johns Hopkins) with 17 Fulbright scholars. Tufts also ranks 4th among medium-sized schools for the number of Teach for America volunteers it produces. Because of its continual growth as an institution, Tufts was ranked as the 5th "hottest school" of the decade from 2000–10. Tufts was ranked the 450th top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index college rankings.


    Bendetson Hall, on the Medford/Somerville campus, houses the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    Undergraduate admissions

    For the class of 2019, Tufts accepted 15.8% of 19,064 applicants. According to Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin, the admissions team still deemed 7,935 students, or 42 percent of the application pool, as potentially qualified for admission. Coffin went on to detail that despite the recent marked increase in applicants, the number of spots for enrollment that the university can offer stands at a static 1,310. For the class of 2019, the mean SAT scores were 727 for critical reading, 736 for math, and 727 for writing, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 690–770 for critical reading, 700–780 for math, and 690–770 for writing.[]

    For the matriculating class of 2016, 91% of incoming freshmen ranked in the top 10% of their high school class (up one percent from the previous year).

    The most common overlap schools, as of 2006, are Brown University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University.

    In 2006, Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Sternberg 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. 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.

    Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin announced on April 7, 2015 that Tufts would be accepting undocumented students with and without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Coffin said that undocumented students would no longer be considered international students, but rather domestic students. This was due to the activism of social justice group United for Immigrant Justice. The first cohort of undocumented students is in the class of 2019.

    Graduate admissions

    The graduate schools each hold their own admission process. Students apply directly to the graduate program to which they are seeking acceptance, and so acceptance rates vary dramatically between programs.


    Entrance to Tisch Library, the main library on campus
    A seating area on the 4th floor of the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, where faculty and students may study or have lunch

    The Tufts University Library System contains over three million volumes. The main library, Tisch Library, holds about 2.5 million volumes, with other holdings dispersed at subject libraries including the Hirsh Health Sciences Library on the Boston campus, the Edwin Ginn Library at the Fletcher School, and Webster Family Library at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine on the Grafton campus.

    Tufts also runs the Perseus Project, a digital library project that assembles digital collections of humanities resources.

    Culture and student life

    The Tufts cannon, repainted almost nightly during the academic year, is here painted in response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan


    Tufts competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference—the NESCAC—in NCAA Division III. Their mascot is Jumbo, which is the only college mascot to appear in Webster's Dictionary. The mascot comes from P. T. Barnum's circus, as Barnum was one of the original trustees of Tufts College. According to legend, Jumbo the Elephant heroically jumped in front of a train, sacrificing himself to save a younger elephant from dying. Jumbo's stuffed skin was donated to the school, and was displayed until a 1975 fire destroyed the body, except for the tail, which had been removed for conservation work. Now, a statue of the elephant is a prominent landmark on the quad, near Barnum Hall, the Biology building.

    Tufts men's lacrosse team won the school's first ever NCAA team championship in 2010, beating Salisbury State University in the championship game. They lost in 2011 to Salisbury in the championship. In 2012, the women's field hockey team won their first national championship, beating Montclair State University 2–1 in the finals. Coach Tina McDavitt won DIII National Coach of the Year in 2012, as well. The field hockey team had previously been national runners-up in 2008. The women's softball team won NCAA Division III National Championships back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. The men's lacrosse team won their second NCAA Division III National Championship in 2014. On December 6, 2014, the men's soccer team won its first-ever DIII National Championship, defeating Wheaton College 4-2. The mens and women's squash teams have been historically successful, ranking within the top 30 teams in the nation.

    Student media

    The Tufts Daily is the daily student newspaper, and the Tufts Observer, established in 1895, is the school's biweekly magazine and the oldest publication on campus. The Zamboni is Tufts' monthly humor and satire magazine. The Princeton Review has named Tufts' college newspaper as one of the best in the country, currently ranking it No. 12.

    Greek life

    There are 14 total Greek life organizations at Tufts. About 18% of the student body is involved in Greek life. The eight fraternities with chapters at Tufts are Delta Tau Delta, Delta Upsilon, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Theta Chi, Theta Delta Chi, Zeta Beta Tau, and Zeta Psi. In addition, there are four sororities: Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, and Kappa Alpha Theta. A fifth sorority will be added in fall of 2015, Alpha Gamma Delta. There is also one co-ed fraternity, ATO of Massachusetts, and a local fraternity, Pi Delta, that was founded in 2015.


    In The Princeton Review's 2012–2013 "Best 363 Colleges," Tufts was ranked #14 for the happiest students and Tufts' study abroad program was ranked #3 in the country.The Princeton Review has also listed Tufts in its "Best Campus Food" category since 2005, ranking it as high as second. The undergraduate student body is considered to be both ethnically and socioeconomically diverse.The Advocate ranks Tufts as one of the top 20 gay-friendly campuses. Tufts also has a thriving a cappella scene, including the Beelzebubs, known for their performances on NBC's The Sing-Off and Glee.



    Tufts alumni in the government sector include Kostas Karamanlis (M.A. 1982, Ph.D. 1984), former Prime Minister of Greece; Shashi Tharoor (M.A. 1976, M.A.L.D. 1977, Ph.D. 1979), former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Indian Minister; Daniel Patrick Moynihan (B.A. 1948, M.A. 1949, Ph.D. 1961), former-US Senator from New York and US Ambassador to the United Nations; Scott Brown (B.A. 1981), former-US Senator from Massachusetts; Bill Richardson (B.A. 1970), former-Governor of New Mexico, US Secretary of Energy and US Ambassador to the United Nations; and Peter DeFazio (B.A. 1969), Democratic United States Representative from Oregon.

    Graduates who have found success in business include Pierre Omidyar (B.S. 1988), eBay founder; Laura Lang (B.A. 1977), CEO of Time Inc; Jamie Dimon (B.A. 1978), CEO of JPMorgan Chase; John Bello (B.A. 1968), SoBe Beverages founder; Jeff Kindler (B.A. 1977), former CEO of Pfizer; Jonathan Tisch (B.A. 1976), CEO of Loews Hotels; Ellen J. Kullman (B.A. 1978), CEO of DuPont; and Anthony Scaramucci (B.A. 1986), Cofounder of SkyBridge Capital.

    In media, alumni include (B.A. 1975), journalist and TV personality; David Faber (B.A. 1985), anchor at CNBC; Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. (B.A. 1974), publisher of The New York Times; and Peter Roth (B.A. 1972), CEO of Warner Bros. Television.

    In the arts, Darin Strauss (B.A. 1992), National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author; Gregory Maguire (Ph.D. 1990), novelist; William Hurt (B.A. 1972), Academy Award-winning actor; Hank Azaria (B.A. 1988), Emmy Award-winning actor; Tracy Chapman (B.A. 1987), Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter; and the founding members of the band Guster (class of 1995).

    Other alumni include Michelle Kwan (M.A.L.D. 2011), Olympic medallist and World Champion figure skater from the United States; and Frederick Hauck (B.S. 1962), spacecraft commander of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

    Notable drop-outs include actress Jessica Biel, actor Rainn Wilson, American Apparel founder Dov Charney, and country music singer songwriter Darrell Scott.


    Current and former Tufts faculty include former American Psychological Association president Robert Sternberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Martin J. Sherwin, preeminent philosopher Daniel Dennett, Nobel Laureate Allan M. Cormack (1924–1998), regular featured columnist in Foreign Policy Magazine Daniel W. Drezner, radio host Lonnie Carton, and author Lee Edelman.