Empowering philanthropy

$40 million gift endows Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service

Tufts alumnus Jonathan M. Tisch, A76, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and co-chairman of Loews Corp., has donated $40 million to the university to endow the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

Jonathan M. Tisch, A76, with Tisch College Citizenship & Public Service Scholars from the classes of 2004 to 2008 © MELODY KO

The gift will secure the future of the college (formerly the University College of Citizenship and Public Service), which empowers students, faculty and alumni to be active, engaged leaders in their local and global communities through a university-wide interdisciplinary program. Tisch’s gift will guarantee that the courses, programming, fellowships and other initiatives of the college will be a permanent part of the university. The gift is believed to be the largest ever made by an individual donor to a university civic engagement program and is the third largest gift in Tufts’ history.

“Jonathan Tisch was an early advocate for the creation of the University College,” Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow said. “Since that time, he has consistently championed Tufts’ bold active citizenship initiative. This gift is in keeping with his personal commitment to corporate responsibility and his extensive community and philanthropic activities,” he said. “We are thrilled that he has chosen to help us firmly establish the college and infuse the values and skills of active citizenship in all Tufts graduates.”

‘The power of we’
“In today’s complex world, we no longer have the option of existing in isolation,” said Tisch, who has served as a Tufts trustee for 18 years. “No single person or organization is capable of mobilizing all the resources required to meet the challenges we face. Through what I call ‘the power of we,’ each one of us has the responsibility to work together to create the kinds of partnerships that underlie our dream of a truly civil society—a society in which all people have the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential and contribute to their communities.

“No matter what our field of endeavor—whether we are business people or politicians, educators or homemakers, health care workers or artists, scientists or clergy—bringing this world a little closer to the realization of that vision should be the ultimate goal of all our efforts,” Tisch continued. “I believe higher education is among the most effective means to instill the sense of opportunity, responsibility and community, and I am delighted that the groundbreaking work of Tufts in the field of active citizenship will continue and grow in the years to come.”

The Tisch College is unique because it provides students across all disciplines and schools at Tufts, including graduate and professional schools, with the tools to practice active citizenship and public service both at the university and beyond. In addition to supporting more than 100 courses that engage students in principles of citizenship and service, the college offers programming to support student initiatives, a faculty fellowship program to fund research and curriculum development related to public service and student summer research and internship programs.

The college, which was launched in 2000 with seed money from Tufts alumni Pierre and Pam Omidyar, amplifies all university studies, from providing a real-world context for the newest environmental engineering models to supporting groundbreaking faculty research on childhood obesity and nutrition.

A common goal
“The impact of this gift will be felt far beyond greater Boston,” said American Council on Education President David Ward. “American colleges and universities contribute to the economy, well-being and quality of life in our country. They provide the people, ideas and scientific and technological advances that will be the source of solutions to our society’s most pressing problems. The unique interdisciplinary nature of the Tisch College is a fine example of how a university can harness the academic strength in every element of its community toward a common goal of improving our nation and our society.”

“With President Bacow, I applaud Mr. Tisch’s vision for engaging the academy in crucial social issues in this way,” said Dr. John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University and chair of Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 950 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education. “This gift highlights the considerable moral and educational importance of civic engagement. It will ensure a deeper awareness of civic responsibility and provide the means to help members of the Tufts community fulfill that responsibility.”

Elizabeth Hollander, executive director of Campus Compact, said, “The Tisch College represents the next stage in the civic engagement movement in higher education—weaving active citizenship into the very fabric of the university and assuring the solid, long-term funding needed to support that mission. An endowment gift on this impressive scale should inspire other universities to find donors who understand the importance of the civic role of higher education.”

In addition to his distinguished business career, Tisch is also the author of a best-selling book, The Power of We: Succeeding through Partnerships (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2004), and host of the television program “Open Exchange: Beyond the Boardroom.”