The Tufts University Board of Trustees on Feb. 9 elected Vice Chair Peter R. Dolan as its chair-designate; he will succeed the current chair, James A. Stern, E72, A07P, when he steps down in November after 10 years in that leadership role.
Dolan, A78, A08P, is a philanthropist committed to health and wellness initiatives as well as a successful business leader in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. He chairs ChildObesity180, a multi-sector alliance of national leaders, including the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, which has a goal of reversing the trend of childhood obesity within a generation. He is also a board member of the nonpartisan nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America, whose supporters include honorary co-chair Michelle Obama and some of the nation’s most respected health and child wellness advocates.
In a message to the Tufts community announcing Dolan’s election, Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco noted Dolan’s “extraordinary commitment to the university” and called him “an active citizen in the finest tradition of Tufts.”
“I am deeply honored to have been given this opportunity to continue to serve Tufts University as chair of the Board of Trustees,” Dolan said following the board vote. “More than any other venture, institutions of higher education have enormous potential, not only to change individual lives, but to better all of society through scientific discovery and the creation of knowledge. I look forward to working with President Monaco, my colleagues on the board and the university community in advancing the important work that is occurring on all three Tufts campuses.
“I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Jim Stern, who has led the board superbly for the last decade, and on whom I will rely for guidance and counsel to ensure a smooth transition in board leadership,” Dolan said.
Dolan, who earned a B.A. in social psychology from Tufts, was elected to the university’s Board of Trustees in 2001. Since then, he has served on eight trustee committees and chaired the Administration and Finance, Audit and Presidential Search committees. He has been a member of the board’s Executive Committee since 2003, and was elected a vice chair of the board in 2008. He and his wife, Katie, and sons Chris, A08, and Tim ran the 2009 Boston Marathon as members of the Tufts President’s Marathon Challenge team to raise money to support nutrition research and fitness programs at the university.
“Peter Dolan has an outstanding background that has prepared him well for the responsibilities of serving as chair of the Tufts Board of Trustees,” said Stern. “He is widely recognized as an innovative strategist with exceptional ability to bring out the best in other highly skilled leaders. Those abilities, combined with his years of past service to the university and unswerving dedication to Tufts’ continued success, make him a superb choice to lead our board.”
Dolan’s leadership is evidenced over more than three decades of professional achievement. After earning his M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, he joined General Foods in 1980, moving up the marketing ranks to category manager in 1987. His successful tenure at General Foods resulted in his recruitment as vice president of marketing in the consumer products division of Bristol-Myers Co., later Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he worked for 18 years. He was named president of Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2000 and chairman and CEO in 2001; he served as CEO until 2006.
Under his leadership, Bristol-Myers Squibb received approvals for eight new medications. No pharmaceutical company had more drugs approved in the U.S. from 2002 to 2006. Dolan was known as an adept strategic planner and for his ability to recruit and develop highly skilled senior leadership, two of whom currently run the company as CEO and as chief scientific officer and president of R&D.
In 2008, Dolan joined the board of directors of Gemin X, which develops cancer therapeutics. He became chairman and CEO in 2009, a position he held until the company was sold to Cephalon Inc. in 2011. He is currently a director of Vitality Health, a health and wellness company, and an advisory board member of Valence Life Sciences Fund, a venture firm.
Founded in 2009, the ChildObesity180 initiative draws on the expertise of senior decision-makers from government, academia, public health advocacy, community organizations, the food industry and the media to drive an integrated national strategy to prevent childhood obesity. Using evidence-based research, it has identified four priority areas on which to focus: children’s access to healthier foods, physical activity, marketing to children and restaurant dining.
Dolan also serves on other higher education boards. He is a member of the board of overseers at Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business and serves on the board of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Stern, the outgoing trustee chair, first joined the board in 1982, and his significant accomplishments include spearheading two successful capital campaigns that together raised more than $1.8 billion for Tufts. In his message to the Tufts community, Monaco noted that Stern has guided four Tufts presidents during his tenure. “I count myself extremely fortunate to have had his counsel and support during my first two years at Tufts,” Monaco said.