The Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a day of campus events, followed by an invitation-only 30th anniversary gala at the Boston Marriott in Cambridge on Saturday, May 7. The celebration not only honored the history and growth of the institute, but also the career of Founding Director Sherman Teichman, who will be retiring after this academic year.
The day’s events kicked off with a roundtable discussion among Teichman and IGL alumni in the Alumnae Lounge about the institute’s legacy. After the discussion, Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York — a major donor to both Tufts and the IGL — and Philip Bobbitt, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for National Security, delivered lectures titled, “Challenges to Higher Education” and “The Evolution of Terrorism,” respectively, in the Cabot Intercultural Center. The two speakers were both awarded the institute’s Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award.
Teichman said that Gregorian’s appearance at the event was an honor and an indicator of the unique relationship the IGL has developed with the Carnegie Corporation over the years.
“Gregorian said that the IGL is ‘a proven breeding ground for future world leaders,’” Teichman said. “He is the most significant expert in higher education in the U.S. … it’s pretty amazing that he came and gave a speech for us.”
Those who attended the day portion of the celebration also had a chance to see an exhibit in Tufts’ Slater Concourse Gallery titled “The IGL at 30,” which has been on display since April 1, in recognition of the anniversary.
The evening gala was packed with current students and alumni of the IGL, administrators such as Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris, professors and distinguished guests, including former Tufts President Lawrence Bacow and trustee and donor Robert Bendetson. Several alumni traveled far distances to attend the gala and celebrate Teichman’s career and legacy.
One such alumnus, Diego Villalobos (LA ’09), traveled from his home in Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate Teichman’s formative impact on his life.
“Coming from Costa Rica, Sherman gave me a place to call home,” he said. “He got me my first job, paid for my first internship … he was my family away from my family, and I still feel that way.”
Bendetson, who also serves as co-chair of the IGL External Advisory Board, said that the high turnout at the event reflect on the strength of the institute.
“The camaraderie and enthusiasm of people coming back speaks volumes about the program,” Bendetson said. “I’ve been to a lot of Tufts events, and you don’t often see a turnout like this.”
The Beelzebubs a cappella group opened the dinner event with a performance, followed by the gala’s host Padraig O’Malley — a professor of peace and reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and past speaker at the IGL — who commented on the legacy of the IGL and, in particular, its founding director.
Associate Director Heather Barry then tearfully introduced Teichman.
“What Sherman has meant to everyone, challenging them both to challenge themselves and to recognize everyone’s humanity … it’s meant a lot to me, and I know I speak for others as well,” she said.
Teichman then briefly took the microphone to a standing ovation.
Other speakers included Harris, who spoke in lieu of a traveling University President Anthony Monaco, and Justine Hardy, an Institute Scholars and Practitioners in Residence fellow at the IGL, both of whom praised the IGL and its founding director. Many IGL alumni spoke as well, some in person and others through a video message compilation played for the crowd.
Teichman was introduced a second time by alumnus Tovia Smith (LA ’87), a national correspondent for NPR. In his closing remarks, Teichman hailed the institute’s legacy in fostering globally active citizens.
“We knew that the conundrum issues of the world … would not be solved soon but refused to encourage you to avoid entering the fray,” he said. “What I understand with steely certainty is that we have hardly fallen short.”
Despite the overall celebratory tone of the gala, there was an air of uncertainty surrounding the transition in leadership that will follow Teichman’s departure, which some feel could dilute the impact of the IGL.
“The connections I’ve made through IGL programs have allowed me to get work over the summer and meet people in fields I’m interested in,” first year IGL participant Eva Kahan said. “After Sherman leaves, I’m concerned his fundraising power will leave with him, and things may not stay the same.”
Harris also commented on the difficulty of filling the role of the IGL director in his speech.
“I have had the unenviable job of finding a replacement for Sherman,” he said. “We will not try to replace him because that is impossible. But out of respect for his legacy, we won’t settle, either.”
Teichman told the Daily that his successor needs to be dedicated and open-minded, and ideally would be a member of the current IGL community of alumni and partners.
“My successor should be open to non-polemical thinking, and he should have a real reputation globally in order to contribute to the IGL’s legacy,” he said. “They need networks in order to bring leaders and speakers into the program without the allure of an honorarium as well as a proven fundraising ability. More importantly, they have to be dedicated to their students.”
Barry explained that Sherman’s retirement will significantly impact the institute, but that the IGL’s strong foundations will make the transition easier.
“The IGL is at a significant transition point, as would be any organization having a leadership change from the founding director, especially someone who has built it and stayed with it for 30 years,” Barry told the Daily in an email. “Some things will change and many will continue, I believe, as long as the type of education that the IGL has embraced all these years … continues.”
After his retirement on July 1, Teichman said he will be starting a higher education consultancy called Trebuchet. Its mission, “encouraging transformative education for ethical global engagement,” is modeled on what Teichman has learned from leading the IGL, he said.
Teichman will be an emeritus of the IGL after his retirement, and he plans to “continue to help the institute thrive” in a new capacity. He said he remains confident in the future of the institute.
“I believe the community is so vibrant, the human connections so intimate … there’s no doubt in my mind that the IGL will continue to thrive,” he said.