Commitee to screen presidential candidates
Tufts trustees have announced a Presidential Screening Committee,
charged with naming a successor to President John DiBiaggio, who
recently announced plans to step down.
The committee will work with an executive search firm to select
candidates to be recommended to the Executive Committee of the Board
of Trustees. Trustee Irwin M. Heller, A67, will chair the 11-member
Presidential Screening Committee comprising Susanna Barry, program
director, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development; Joyce L.
Barsam, J62, G89, trustee; Abby Kohnstamm, J75, trustee; Dr. Mary
Lee, J75, M83, dean of educational affairs, School of Medicine;
Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics; David Moon, president of
the TCU Senate; Dr. Lonnie H. Norris, K80, dean, School of Dental
Medicine; William O'Reilly, A77, president of Tufts University Alumni
Association;Dr. William W. Sellers, A56, D60, trustee; Alan D. Solomont,
A70, trustee; and Catherine Squires, professor of microbiology,
School of Medicine.
General Colin Powell delivers Fares Lecture
More than 2,500 people filled the Gantcher Center on November 2
to hear General Colin Powell, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, deliver the annual Issam Fares Lecture. Powell, who spent
28 years fighting "to contain the Evil Empire," recounted Cold War
tensions, discussed domestic concerns and fielded questions dominated
by Middle East specifics. At one point, protesters condemning U.S.
sanctions against Iraq forced Powell to stop midsentence.
"I think Desert Storm was a noble cause," said Powell, blaming
Sadaam Hussein's tyranny for the misery of the Iraqi people. Prior
to Powell's talk, Tufts awarded an honorary degree to Fares, Lebanon's
deputy prime minister and a Tufts trustee. Fares, whose son is a
1993 Tufts graduate, received an honorary doctor of international
public affairs. His numerous philanthropic activities have made
a significant impact on the university; in addition to the annual
lecture series supported by the Fares Foundation, buildings on two
Tufts campuses bear his name, including an equine research center
at Tufts' Veterinary School and library facilities in Tisch and
Chenault named overseer
Trustee Kathryn Chenault, J77, has joined the Dental Board of Overseers.
She is an attorney and former vice president of national corporation
and foundation support programs for the United Negro College Fund
in New York. She lives in New Rochelle, New York.
Global Leadership Institute to hold symposiums
The Institute for Global Leadership will host two symposiums this
year. The first is the third annual international symposium of the
Tufts Institute for Leadership and International Perspective in
China, to be held February 2 to 4, on the Medford campus. For a
detailed conference schedule, visit www.tilip. org or call 617-627-3314.
The second event is the 16th Annual EPIIC International Symposium.
The theme this year is Race and Ethnicity: A Global Comparative
Perspective. The symposium will be held March 1 to 4, in Cabot Hall
Auditorium, on the Medford Campus. For a detailed conference schedule
and ticket information, visit www.epiic. org or call 617-627-3314.
Thousands attend Tufts' Inaugural Animal Expo
The Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine hosted the first-ever
Tufts Animal Expo in Boston. The inaugural event brought together
animal professionals from across the spectrum, including thousands
of veterinarians, breeders, groomers, behaviorists and others. In
addition, more than 170 companies and non-commercial organizations
Phil Kosch, the dean of the Veterinary Medicine School, reported
that the attendees-who totaled more than 4,200 people-represented
all 50 states and 22 foreign countries. Hundreds of people attended
the Expo's three "Meeting of the Minds"-considered among the most
compelling parts of the four-day event. The meetings, which addressed
controversial issues including the impact of exotic animals and
animal training practices, brought together professionals and experts
from all sides of the issues, including veterinarians, animal rights
organizers and humane society members.
Sackler celebrates twentieth anniversary
Often the pieces that make up a graduate school remain just that-scattered
and distinct. At other times the pieces cohere into something greater
than the individual parts. On November 11, as faculty, staff and
graduates of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences
gathered in the DeBlois Auditorium for a celebration of the school's
20th anniversary, it was clear which sort of place Sackler is.
Whether speaking singly or in groups, those in attendance agreed
that there is something special, a mystery element of atmosphere
and attitude, that yields better science and more satisfying personal
relationships than can be found elsewhere.
The day's greatest honor went to a man who gathers mushrooms in
his spare time. Moselio Schaechter, former chair of the Department
of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, was awarded the first Sackler
Dean's Medal for his outstanding service to the school by Dr. Louis
Lasagna, dean and professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics.
Schaechter, speaking emotionally at times, gratefully received the
award, before relating some funny stories of his tenure at the medical
school, beginning in 1962. Very little research money circulated
back then, he said, and financing of every kind was handled much
more casually than now. If you needed money, you simply approached
Dean Joseph Hayman (dean from 1953-1966) and asked him for it. "The
budget was kept in a little black book in his vest pocket," Schaechter
said. "You'd go to him and tell him what you needed, and he'd take
out his little book and look at it and say, 'OK'."
Physical facilities may have been rudimentary, but the people
involved at every level were extraordinary, Schaechter said. He
marveled at the rapid, nearly flawless way the "media kitchen" had
functioned on a daily basis. "You could take any scrap of paper,
put it on the door of the kitchen telling them what you wanted,
and the next morning you'd have the media," he said. Schaechter
posed the question, "How did we do it? We did it by our proper juices
running in the proper way."
Schaechter's memories prompted Lasagna to reflect on his own first
impressions of the school 16 years ago, when it was still entirely
housed in the cramped M&V (then M&D) Building directly across the
street. "They took me on a tour of the place," Lasagna said. "They
took me to a little room where they said, This is the library.'
I said, 'Come on, this isn't the library. Where is it, really?'
But it was."
Times-and reputations-have changed. Last year, Lasagna noted, there
were nearly 1,000 applications for 34 seats in Sackler's entering
class. A morning panel discussion featuring four women affiliated
with the school reinforced the collegial, entrepreneurial note Schaechter
Claire Moore, professor of molecular biology and microbiology,
told of the summer research program for minority college students,
which she has supervised since 1990. It began with three students
the first year. Now the program receives as many as 200 applications
from across the country for a dozen openings.
Graduate Natalie Munn, a doctorate-bearing high school science
teacher on Martha's Vineyard, described how "enchanting" she had
found her exposure to young students while at Sackler and made her
subsequent life choices sound both inspired and spiritually supported
by the school.
Nicole D'Avirro, a Sackler student enrolled in the genetics program,
brought everyone up to date on the Gap Junction outreach effort
that enlists Sackler students to get kids excited about science
in Boston high schools.
Dawn Gross, who received her M.D./Ph.D. this past spring, was perhaps
most effusive of all. After nearly a decade of intense study at
Sackler, which culminated in a collaboration with Dr. Allen Steere
that identified an autoantigen in patients with treatment-resistant
Lyme arthritis and won an award from the American Association for
the Advancement of Science as one of the top ten science discoveries
of 1998, Gross is taking a year off to tend her newborn child. She
spoke feelingly of the close professional and personal bonds she
had forged during her time at Sackler, saying, "I know it's not
what's out there in the world. It's unique to Tufts." That message
kept sounding, like a background chime throughout the day's talks.
In the afternoon, amid a medley of presentations from distinguished
faculty and graduates, Professor of Neuroscience John Kauer, a member
of the Sackler faculty for most of the past 20 years, summed up
his latest work on the "artificial nose," an olfactory detection
system designed to sniff out buried land mines. He gave a dramatic
demonstration of his device, which managed to catch a whiff of chemicals
presented to it and loudly announce, in a stern voice, "Land mine!"
Kauer's work was daring and impressive. But it was a final comment
that Kauer tossed off midway through his presentation that lingered
in memory. "It's an extraordinary place to do science, especially
for those of us who have been at other places," he said. "People's
doors are open, and the students are first-rate." -Bruce Morgan