University President Anthony Monaco will step down as president of Tufts in summer 2023, concluding a 12-year tenure.
“It’s always good practice for an institution to have a transition in leadership every 10 to 15 years so that it can benefit from fresh ideas and new perspectives,” Monaco told the Daily. “So I feel this is the right thing to do at this time for Tufts.”
Monaco formally notified the Board of Trustees of his decision over the weekend. In a message to the Tufts community on Monday morning, Board Chairman Peter Dolan thanked Monaco for his leadership on the public health, academic, research and financial fronts.
“I join the entire Board of Trustees in expressing our deep gratitude to Tony for his steadfast leadership of the university, for his dedication to Tufts, and for the clear moral compass and intellectual rigor that have guided him as president,” Dolan wrote.
Dolan added that the Board of Trustees “will immediately begin the process of forming a presidential search committee,” the details of which they will share in the coming weeks.
All of Tufts’ past presidents have been white men. Monaco explained that while he will not be involved in choosing his successor, he hopes the Board of Trustees will consider the ever-increasing diversity of the Tufts community as they make their decision.
“I won’t be involved in the process, that’s the responsibility of the Board of Trustees,” Monaco said. “But I’m confident that they will reflect the changed diversity of Tufts over my tenure in the pool of applicants that they bring in to consider. I hope that pool will be very diverse and represent the change that has happened.”
Notable moments in Monaco’s presidency so far have included the university’s COVID-19 pandemic response, the introduction of the Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution intitiative, the removal of the Sackler name from all Medical School programs and buildings, the acquisition of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the initiation of the $1.5 billion Brighter World fundraising campaign.
Monaco is timing the end of his presidential tenure to coincide with the conclusion of the Brighter World campaign in June 2023.
“I’d like to see it through to the end,” Monaco said. “We’re confident that we can meet the goal and continue the momentum of alumni, donor and friend support for our academic mission.”
Reflecting on the financial position of the university as he prepares to pass the baton to his successor, Monaco said that Tufts has continued raising money and growing its endowment throughout the pandemic.
“We did well during the pandemic raising funds, I think, because our alumni did appreciate the work we did to keep our campus safe, and also to care for those that live around us,” Monaco said. “We did increase the endowment from 1.9 billion [dollars] to 2.7 billion [dollars] at the moment … and that’s really helpful to support the schools and their academic programs.”
Monaco told the Daily he plans to keep pushing forward on the Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution initiative during the remainder of his presidency, with a particular focus on bringing more students and faculty of color to Tufts.
“I’m very proud that this year, we were able to have 52% of the applicants to our undergraduate programs [be] from domestic students of color, and [that] we could reflect that in our offers with increased financial aid,” Monaco said of the university’s efforts to enroll more students of color.
In 2020, the most recent year when data was available, just 2.8% of Tufts’ full- and part-time faculty identified as Black or African American, while 71.1% of them identified as white. Monaco said that the Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution initiative places an emphasis on recruiting faculty of color.
“We put a huge effort into faculty recruitment across the university for faculty of color, with real money on the table to support that, and we’re writing grants to the federal government for further support,” Monaco said. “We hope that that will really not only increase the number of faculty of color, but provide for their development as faculty.”
Monaco told the Daily that one of his favorite parts of being university president has been interacting with the passionate and talented student body.
“I’ve learned so much from this generation during my time here [about] what they feel is important, and also that they’re very willing to be active and advocate when they feel something in the university, in the nation or in the world is wrong,” he said.
In Monaco’s message to the Tufts community on Monday, he stressed that his time at Tufts is not yet finished.
“Over the next year, I look forward to expressing my appreciation to all of you for what you have done and continue to do to ensure that Tufts remains a truly exceptional institution,” he wrote.