Longtime Top Administrator Patricia Campbell to Retire

Tufts executive vice president since 2007, she was recently named honorary chancellor of the University of Rwanda

Patricia Campbell at Tufts

Patricia Campbell, executive vice president of Tufts since 2007 overseeing finance and administration, announced last week that she will retire on March 1, 2019.

But that wasn’t her only news. Earlier this month, she was also named chancellor of the University of Rwanda, an honorary position that will entail periodic visits to the east African country. “It’s honorary and ceremonial, but also advisory, helping to further their interest in creating a really world-class university,” said Campbell.   

Her connection to Rwanda started with a Cummings Foundation grant a few years ago to Tufts to help assess oral health needs in the country. That process was led by John Morgan, a professor of public health and community service at the dental school with whom Campbell had worked on projects in Zambia. She met with officials in Rwanda, including those from the University of Rwanda, who were impressed with her expertise. On September 18, the Rwandan government officially appointed her to the chancellor position.

That’s not the only work Campbell does in Africa. She’s also on the board of the BOMA Project, which works to combat extreme poverty in northern Kenya, and helps run the small nonprofit Muchila Access Project in a village in Zambia, along with several Tufts faculty.

Campbell, A05P, MPH06, first started working at Tufts in 1996 as executive associate dean of the School of Dental Medicine. She left at the end of 2004 to go to WGBH as vice president of finance and administration, before coming back to Tufts three years later.

At Tufts, as executive vice president, Campbell “helped the university to navigate a complex, changing, and at times challenging business environment,” said President Anthony Monaco in a message to the community. “Patricia has been a model of talented and dedicated service—someone who understands not just how the university runs, but also what it aspires to accomplish.”

Soon after she arrived as executive vice president, the economy fell into the 2008-2009 Great Recession. “We saw our way out of that pretty well,” Campbell said. “It was not simple, but we made some good strategic decisions.” While other universities spent down their endowments, Tufts lived within its budget, and benefited from that.

Campbell also “worked consistently to enhance the quality and efficiency of the central administrative services that the university provides to the schools and to individual faculty and students,” Monaco said. “Many of these improvements were part of the TEAM initiative—Tufts Effectiveness in Administrative Management—including the consolidation of fifteen previously independent IT support organizations and the establishment of the Budget Center and Tufts Support Services.” She also oversaw construction and renovation work across the university, helping focus efforts to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

Tufts will begin a search for Campbell’s replacement soon, according to Monaco; James Glaser, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, will chair the search committee.

Taylor McNeil can be reached at taylor.mcneil@tufts.edu.

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