Meet the New Board ChairPETER DOLAN’S THOUGHTS ON FITNESS, THE FUTURE, AND THE VALUE OF A TUFTS DEGREE
Peter R. Dolan, A78, A08P, has come a long way from organizing luaus for his fraternity. This fall, Dolan is taking the helm of the Tufts Board of Trustees, succeeding James A. Stern, E72, A07P, who steps down from his role following the November board meeting. (See “Punching Above Our Weight”)
Dolan has been a Tufts stalwart for three decades. Elected to the board in 2001, he has served on eight board committees and chaired the administration and finance, audit, and presidential search committees. He has sat on the executive committee since 2003 and was elected a vice chair of the board in 2008. A donor to a variety of Tufts schools and programs, Dolan chairs ChildObesity180, an initiative at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy aimed at reversing the childhood obesity trend through a multisector approach. He has helped to raise some $16 million for the initiative.
Professionally, Dolan has been a leader at General Foods, Bristol-Myers Squibb (where he served as CEO from 2001 to 2006), Gemin X, and Vitality Health, a health and wellness company where he is a director. Dolan is an advisory board member of Valence Life Sciences. He has also served on the boards of the Partnership for a Healthier America, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (from which he holds an M.B.A.), and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Recently, he shared some reflections with Tufts Magazine.
Tufts Magazine: What are some of your favorite memories of your undergraduate years?
Your older son graduated from Tufts in 2008. Did becoming a Tufts parent make you see the university any differently?
In your role as a volunteer, what do you want most for Tufts’ future?
With this exceptional student body, we need to make sure all of them take advantage of what Tufts has to offer. I went to a senior dinner this year and asked students what they would be doing. Too many of them said, “I haven’t figured it out yet.” You know what? Your parents spent a lot of money for you to go here, and that’s probably not as acceptable an answer today as it might have been in an easier employment market of ten or twenty years ago. Graduate school, a bridge to graduate school plans, a job—whatever is right for you. That’s what I mean about improving the value proposition. I would like to see us spend more time making the experience transformational for a larger percentage of the student body.
Given your work with a wellness company and initiatives such as ChildObesity180, you seem very health-conscious. What’s your biggest vice?
Is yours a fitness-oriented family?
What is most gratifying about your work with the Tufts Board of Trustees?