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6.18.05 Tufts Fund Volunteer Leadership Award

One just celebrated his fifth reunion; the other his fiftieth. Jason Potts, A00, and Jack Heneghan, A55, G60, share Volunteer of the Year honors for their dedication to Tufts and their work with the Tufts Fund for Arts, Sciences & Engineering. With Heneghan's help, the Class of 1955 won the Founders Cup for achieving 55.6 percent participation towards the reunion Class Gift. And Potts’ efforts helped the Class of 2000 raise $18,920, setting a new Fifth Reunion record.

Heneghan, a stockbroker with Moors & Cabot in Norwell, Massachusetts, was a commuter student, yet vividly remembers the strong sense of community he felt as a Tufts student and athlete. A star basketball player, he ranks fifth on the Jumbos' list of all-time high scorers. "I started out poorly as a student," he recalls, "because I never had to study very hard in high school and didn't know how to." He credits help received from both faculty and coaches for boosting his GPA each semester.

Heneghan and his wife, Faith (Ellis), J54, also a college athlete, are founding members of the Jumbo Club. Faith is the daughter of Dorothea (Loughlin) Ellis, J31, and legendary coach Fred "Fish" Ellis, A29, after whom Ellis Oval is named. Their son Kevin, A85, and his wife; Faith's sister; and Heneghan's brother and sister-in-law are also Tufts alumni. Heneghan cites the family connection as one reason for his active commitment. The only 'secret' to his fundraising success, he says, "is that my classmates, like me, feel a connection to their Tufts education." The competitive streak also kicks in: "I just told them we had a chance to set a record, and asked if they’d like to join in." In true team spirit, he credits the entire Class Committee and all class contributors for winning the Founders Cup.

Potts, Assistant Vice President for State Street GlobalMarkets in Boston, double-majored in history and classics at Tufts. "I wanted to optimize my time by focusing on subjects I loved, but wouldn't pursue in my career," he explains. "I knew I'd have the rest of my life to spend in the business world." The choice paid off with transferable critical thinking and analytical skills. An appreciation for his liberal arts education, plus a family connection—his brother Andrew (A03) is also a Tufts alumnus—fuels his commitment to Tufts today.

Institutional advancement, Potts believes, begins with cultivating relationships. He learns something about people before soliciting them so that he can "have an intelligent conversation with them," he says, adding, "I try to find out what they did at Tufts, what they do professionally, and what their outside interests are. It reminds them how much the Tufts experience meant to them. Once they start to remember, they're more willing to engage or re-engage with Tufts."

Heneghan, citing a number of vivid stories classmates recalled in his conversations with them, agrees that evoking good feelings about Tufts was key in his success. His efforts are, for him, a way to acknowledge his own fond memories of his alma mater. Potts' efforts are about looking ahead: as a member of the University Alumni Council and a National Co-chair of the Packard Society, he aims to engage other younger alumni to give to the university at a leadership level. Though these two attended Tufts during different generations, the memories that keep them both involved remain strong.

Find out more about how you can take a leadership role for Arts, Sciences & Engineering by contacting Amanda Boer at 617-627-5312 or tuftsfund@tufts.edu.