Monaco is up to the challenge

The search is over. Tufts announced yesterday that Anthony Monaco, pro-vice-chancellor for planning and resources at the University of Oxford, will replace beloved University President Lawrence Bacow next summer. Monaco’s noteworthy accomplishments as a teacher, pioneering geneticist and biomedical researcher make him a highly qualified presidential pick.

Monaco comes to Tufts after two decades at the University of Oxford, with a celebrated career in the fields of genetics and neuroscience in tow. With an impressive research background, he may play an important role in reinvigorating the university’s graduate programs, particularly those at the medical, dental and veterinary schools, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.

Enhancing the quality of Tufts’ graduate schools will allow the university to attract top science professors with highly qualified students to assist with their research. Bringing more experienced science professors to the university would benefit undergraduate and graduate students alike.

In a decade under Bacow’s leadership, Tufts gained serious momentum and stature as a major research university, and the university is poised to climb higher. Monaco’s skill set and background are a strong choice to steer Tufts at this juncture.

As Bacow has taught us, having a university president who is involved in campus life and committed to students is vital. While Monaco will have a tough time living up to the current president — who has performed in Tufts Dance Collective performances and even has his own drink at the REZquad Café — he is willing to try.

Monaco has stated that he will work hard to “understand the culture” at Tufts and hopes to improve need-blind admissions, diversity and other important issues that directly impact students. That being said, Monaco is coming to the Hill after two decades at Oxford and may be more accustomed to the English style of university education, in which campus life is less of a priority. It will be very important for Monaco to work hard to get to know students and establish a presence on campus as he moves into Gifford House this summer.

Monaco’s international perspective and commitment to active citizenship will also be an asset to Tufts’ dedication to globalism and civic engagement. At a school with a substantial focus on education in language, culture and world civilizations, a president who could share his extensive experience and ties abroad could prove very beneficial. His stated commitment to active citizenship is heartening, considering its significance to undergraduate education at Tufts and to the mission of the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service in particular.

Although Bacow will be sorely missed, Monaco seems to be a strong replacement. His impressive background in science places him in a unique position to improve the competitiveness of Tufts’ graduate programs; he has stated his commitment to becoming involved in student life; and his global perspective and promotion of active citizenship are in line with the Tufts values.

He certainly has large shoes to fill, but Monaco seems to be up to the challenge.