A Jumbo Welcome

Alumni give advice to incoming first-year students: be open to new ideas and make lifelong friends

students coming down stairs in Houston Hall by a poster of alumni advice

Lisa Hernand, J89, didn’t hesitate when asked to share encouraging words of wisdom with incoming first-year students.

“The four years I spent at Tufts were TRULY the most magical years of my life,” responded Hernand, of Pacific Palisades, California. “The friends I made there are still my best friends almost 30 years later!  . . .  Be bold, take risks, try something new every semester, get to know your amazing professors. Most importantly, make sure to order the Brownie Brownie Batter at J.P. Licks. You won’t regret it.”

Hernand’s note with enthusiastic college tips, including what not to miss at the popular Davis Square creamery, was one of 140 words-from-the-wise missives sent to first-year undergraduates through the initiative From One Jumbo to Another.

Photo: Anna MillerPhoto: Anna Miller
Now in its second year, the program taps into nostalgia of former college days by inviting Tufts Fund donors—mainly graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering—to share advice with first-year students.

Tufts Fund staff gathered up the comments, submitted via an online form, to create large posters that speak to the heart of what it means to be a new Jumbo. This year, they created eight different posters and printed a total of forty for display in first-year dorms and the campus center.  

The program has grown from 100 alumni participating last year to 140 this year, said Audrey Leland, a student and young alumni philanthropy officer. It’s an opportunity for students “to see the continued involvement, commitment, and love alumni have with the school,” she said.

Common themes run through the submissions, including the importance of being open to new ideas and finding people who will become lifelong friends. Here’s just a sampling of some advice shared with the Class of 2022:

“Welcome to one of the greatest places on Earth. In the next four years, you will be challenged and encouraged to explore your abilities—and limits. I may have taken my last course at Tufts some 45 years ago, but the friends that I made still remain. Be active! Listen to other opinions and form your own. Best wishes for a successful sojourn.” —James J. Cherniack, A72, A73G

“Welcome to Tufts! Now it’s time for a treasure hunt: See if you can find these words by poet John Holmes carved in stone on campus: “This is the world, the kingdom I was looking for.” Hint: it’s outdoors, uphill on the academic quad. And I hope those words come to describe how you feel about this college; they did for me.” —Susan L. Papa, J82 

“My favorite memory at Tufts was playing on the women’s lacrosse team and making it to the Sweet 16 in 2015. I loved being part of the athletic community at Tufts where everyone was so passionate and hardworking in all they did. I also was able to learn so much about myself through the sport and being challenged on and off the field every day. It’s such a privilege to be able to wear Brown & Blue and represent something greater than yourself and feel connected to all those who played before you. My teammates are still my best friends today, even years after graduating!” —Jaymi Cohen, A16

Laura Ferguson can be reached at laura.ferguson@tufts.edu.

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