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Good sports: Krafts pitch in to benefit athletics center

As a Tufts athlete, Dan Kraft, A87, graduated from the school of hard knocks. "I was a lacrosse goalie, which left me with bruises in places you never thought you had," Kraft, now a Tufts trustee and athletics overseer, recalls with a laugh. "I remember off-season practices in the dead of winter. We'd practice at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning in Cousens Gym, in the freezing cold and pitch dark." He wouldn't trade a moment. "It was a great team-bonding experience," Kraft reflects. "Some of my best memories of Tufts come from the camaraderie of sports."

When Kraft and his wife, Wendy, J87, recently gave $1 million toward the renovation of Tufts' athletic complex, he says they were contributing to improved fitness facilities for "those kids" practicing hard at dawn, and "for everyone at Tufts." "Athletics always has been something very important to me," says Kraft, who now coaches youth basketball and who shares a love of sports with his wife, in her Tufts days a dancer who led the men's hockey team in off-season aerobics workouts. Their children, 13, 11, and 6, "play every kind of sport." So their gift toward the athletics renovation supports a cause close to their hearts.

The university seeks to raise $35 million for major improvements to its sports and recreation facilities. Planning is underway on the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, which will provide 66,000 square feet of new space between Cousens Gymnasium and the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center, and 55,000 square feet of renovated space. The vision for the sports center also includes a new swimming and diving facility, new locker rooms, and expanded sports medicine facilities.

"At Tufts, you've got a world class university with excellent students and faculty in addition to a culture focused on fitness and well-being, with the President's Marathon Challenge, the Tufts personal fitness program, and a graduate school of nutrition," Kraft says. "The athletic facilities should be on par with all the other excellent aspects of the university. The new Tisch Fitness Center will be a magnet not only for varsity athletes, but the entire Tufts community."