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Journal Archive > 2002 > January

Electronic History

University celebrates 150th on an interactive web site

A new web site—featuring the latest in technology and design—has been created to celebrate the founding of Tufts University 150 years ago.

You can check out the site, "Tufts' 150th Anniversary: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future," at It was launched at the dawn of 2002 to mark the sesquicentennial of the university.

A view of Professors Row in the 1870s University Archives Photo

Created in collaboration with the Boston-based web firm Interactive Factory, the 150th anniversary web site links the past to the future. The "spine" of the site—and the feature that is likely to stimulate the greatest appreciation for Tufts' achievements—is an interactive timeline. The timeline, covering 150 years, offers a chance to explore the people, events and places that have shaped the university's history.

A reverence for the past is highlighted in the link called "Memories," where browsers can learn about Tufts College in the 1930s through excerpts from the Tufts Oral History Project and reconnect with classmates through class bulletin boards. The "Presidents" link chronicles Tufts' leaders and their legacies.

Architecture and history buffs will enjoy virtual campus tours designed around an innovative "then and now" perspective that shows how Tufts' four campuses have evolved over 150 years. On the lighter side, the site serves up some "Fun and Games": Solitaire, Concentration, a Tufts "jukebox," "Starship Jumbo" and screen-savers.

The "Academics" link provides an online academic experience, with features such as panels, study rooms and the opportunity to interact with field experts in an "Ask the Expert" link. For a glimpse of what lies ahead, visitors can check out "Beyond 150."

And, finally, no tour would be complete without a visit to the Gift Shop, where sesquicentennial memorabilia are offered for sale.

The web site's "world premiere" on January 1 set the stage for a busy spring of sesquicentennial events that encourage community participation.

The Tisch Library observes the 150th anniversary with a lively staging of the arts on April 17, when it hosts a Rooftop Café on the library roof. Scheduled at the same time is April Open House, when prospective students visit Tufts.

"The Rooftop Café will be a great opportunity for all kinds of student, alumni and faculty performers to promote the arts at Tufts," said Chris Barbour, humanities bibliographer and chair of the Rooftop Café committee. The library is also celebrating the sesquicentennial with a photographic exhibit of university history that runs through May 30 on the library's main floor, adjacent to the reference desk.

Tufts' international stature will be underscored by the newly established Institute for Global Leadership, which incorporates key strengths of Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) and the Tufts Institute for Leadership and International Perspective. Adopting EPIIC's maxim of "thinking beyond boundaries, acting across borders," the institute is planning "Voices from the Field: Distinguished Young Leaders in International Public Service." To be held April 21–23, "Voices from the Field" will invite back to campus alumni involved in humanitarian emergencies, human rights work, refugee assistance, United Nations missions, diplomacy and conflict resolution.

An aerial view of campus in 1960 University Archives Photo

"This will be a unique opportunity to gather significant alumni who have served with distinction all over the world in such conflict areas as Bosnia, Chechnya, East Timor, Haiti, Kosovo and Rwanda," said Sherman Teichman, director of EPIIC. "It will provide a chance to reflect on their experience, to consider best practice, codes of accountability and to instruct and inspire current students." Visit for more details.

This past fall saw the official launch of the sesquicentennial with several events that incorporated a historical perspective, including Parents Weekend. On October 18, the Alumni/ae Juried Exhibit at the Tufts University Gallery honored Tufts and Tufts-Museum School graduates. Greg Colati, director of Digital Collections and Archives, presented a talk on the history of Tufts museums, from their colorful beginnings under the auspices of P.T. Barnum to the current day. The presentation can be viewed on the web at

Sesquicentennial lectures this past fall also brought special guests to the Medford/Somerville campus. The first of these distinguished visitors was Paul Ehrlich, esteemed population ecologist, who spoke on October 15 at the biology department's annual Kenneth D. Roeder Lecture. Economist John Kagel, A64, came to the Hill on November 5 to deliver the Wellington-Burnham Lecture, hosted by the economics department. Kagel, a professor at Ohio State University, is considered a founding father of experimental economics. Noted Tufts philosopher Daniel C. Dennett spoke on December 12, when he delivered the inaugural lecture celebrating his appointment as University Professor.

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