James A. Stern
headshot of James A. Stern

James A. Stern
© Stuart Cahill

Stern to chair Board of Trustees

James A. Stern, E72, vice chairman of the Tufts University Board of Trustees, has been appointed chair-designate of the board. He will succeed Nathan Gantcher, A62, who will step down this November.

For more than two decades, Stern and Gantcher have worked closely as trustees. Their most recent achievement is co-chairing the successful Tufts Tomorrow capital campaign, which raised more than $600 million for the university.

“Tufts is proud to have a chairman, and now a new chairman-designate, whose energies and talents are so inextricably focused on the needs and aspirations of this university,” said Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow.

Bacow praised Gantcher for playing “a vital role as both a member and leader of our trustee board. Despite the global demands of his own career, he has worked tirelessly with three Tufts presidents, always making the time to assist Tufts’ leaders with the challenges we have faced. I am grateful that he agreed to stay on as chairman this year, because he has been an enormous help to me in my early days at Tufts.”

Stern is chair and founder of the Cypress Group, a New York-based private equity firm that manages more than $3.5 billion in funds. Prior to founding the Cypress Group in 1994, he had a 20-year career with Lehman Brothers. In 1982, he was named managing director, with responsibility for Lehman’s corporate financing activities. Six years later, he joined the firm’s management committee and became co-head of investment banking. He was named head of merchant banking in 1989.

Stern also serves on the boards of directors of a number of corporations, including AMTROL Inc., Westco International Inc., Lear Corp. and Cinemark USA Inc. He is also a board member of several philanthropic organizations, including the Jewish Museum and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He holds an MBA degree from Harvard.

Stern joined the Board of Trustees in 1982, and is believed to be the youngest person in Tufts history to attain a trustee post. He went on to serve on more committees than any other current member of the board—including 21 years on the Administration and Finance Committee and 19 years on the University Development Committee, which he chaired for the past eight years. He also chaired committees focused on trusteeship, audits and investments, presidential transition and public relations.

After completing a seven-year term, Stern was elected a charter trustee. He has been a member of the Trustee Executive Committee since 1990 and has served as vice chair of the board since 1998.

Gantcher joined the board in 1983 and was appointed chair in 1995. Over that time, Bacow said, Tufts has made tremendous strides. “When Nate joined the board, the university’s endowment was $50 million,” said Bacow. “Since then, the endowment has grown by twelve times, and Tufts has raised more than $1 billion in three successful capital campaigns. Nate’s loyalty has been truly extraordinary, and he and his family have been our most ardent cheerleaders. Their passion for Tufts has inspired countless others to join the growing ranks of investors in Tufts.”

During Gantcher’s tenure, Tufts has grown in international stature, and important new facilities have been constructed for research, state-of-the-art classrooms, student and career services, library amenities, athletics and even much-needed campus parking.

The Gantcher family also has been generous benefactors of the university; their philanthropy includes the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center on the Medford/Somerville campus.

In recognition of his service, Gantcher will be honored on April 26 with a Tufts Distinguished Service Award, the highest honored given by the Tufts University Alumni Association.