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William Bradley, A86 and Clara Pizzarello

William Bradley, A86William Bradley, A86, believes he holds the Tufts title for the longest extension ever granted on a thesis paper deadline. Having started research in the spring of 1987, he submitted his paper in 1994, 12 years after his matriculation at Tufts.

But Bradley doesn’t regret the length of time it took him to earn his undergraduate degree. On the contrary, he’s proud of the fact that he finished, despite difficult financial circumstances, and grateful that he had the opportunity to attend at all. Without financial aid, he wouldn’t have been able to. “I received a total of $40,000 in aid at Tufts,” he says, “not counting student loans or money from university jobs. In today’s dollars, this is approximately $85,000. I never asked how I was so fortunate but I knew I was one of the luckiest students on campus.”

Now managing director in the mergers and acquisitions group at Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Bradley, along with his wife, Clara Pizzarello, has established a scholarship fund in the memory of the man he feels enabled his success: Grant Curtis, A42, Tufts’ former dean of undergraduate admissions and the university’s first financial aid officer. It was Curtis who located the scholarship funds that allowed Bradley to enroll.

According to Bradley, the luck he experienced at Tufts manifested itself not only in his financial aid but also in the courses he took. During his second semester, he enrolled in Introduction to Philosophy, with Professor George Smith. “After that,” Bradley says, “nothing was the same for me. Professor Smith inspired me, encouraged me, and provided me with a chance to grow beyond the boundaries of anything I could have imagined. Without him, I would not have had the courage to pursue my intellectual dreams.” Those pursuits included studying Latin, science, and history. With continued guidance from Smith, and one-on-one instruction from Professor Steven Marrone who worked with Bradley over three years, Bradley designed an independent plan of study in philosophy, with a focus on the development of scientific thought in the Middle Ages.

However, in the summer of 1987, before he could complete his final semester, economic hardship forced Bradley to leave Tufts. Accepting a job in the New York area, he began building his career in investment banking. Five years later, determined to earn his diploma, he enrolled in two courses at New York University and arranged to have the credits from those courses transferred to Tufts. A couple years after that, he turned in that thesis paper and finally had his diploma in hand.

A lot of people helped him along the way, but it was Dean Curtis who made possible Bradley’s first steps toward intellectual fulfillment and career satisfaction. For this reason, Bradley felt compelled to allow others to benefit from financial aid as he had, and, in doing so, to honor Curtis’s memory. (Bradley saluted Dean Curtis in his remarks as the featured speaker at this year's Charles Tufts Society luncheon, an annual event that brings together donors of scholarship funds as well as members of Tufts' planned giving society.)

“Dean Curtis opened the door of opportunity for me and gave me a chance to experience what Tufts has to offer,” Bradley says. “[It was] a world of amazing professors who challenged me, mentored me, encouraged me, and empathized with me. The opportunities I have had in my life trace directly back to my having graduated from Tufts, an achievement Dean Curtis made possible for me. It means a lot to me now,” he offers, “to help someone in circumstances similar to what mine were—someone who needs help to take advantage of the many opportunities Tufts has to offer.”

Expanding access for talented young people like the ones to whom Bradley refers has been the top priority of Beyond Boundaries: The Campaign for Tufts. Fifty percent of undergraduates received financial aid last year, and the number of federal Pell Grant recipients enrolled at Tufts—from families with less than $40,000 in total income—has increased from 432 to 670 over the past decade. At the same time, average SAT scores have increased 111 points to 1420 in math and verbal. Undergirding this pairing of opportunity with excellence, the William L. Bradley Scholarship is one of more than 600 scholarships established during the campaign—scholarships that have enabled students to enroll at Tufts not based on ability to pay, but on ability, pure and simple.

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