A Jumbo Welcome for Tufts’ Incoming President

Upon his selection as Tufts’ 14th president, Sunil Kumar was greeted by community members across Tufts' campuses

On Thursday morning, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to elect Sunil Kumar as the next president of Tufts University. In the afternoon, Kumar met dozens of faculty, staff, and students at a reception at Breed Memorial Hall at 51 Winthrop Street on the Medford/Somerville campus. The event is the first in a series of receptions across Tufts’ campuses to introduce Kumar to the community.

Kumar, an accomplished leader of large and complex higher education institutions, has served as a professor and dean at Stanford University and the University of Chicago, respectively. He currently is provost and senior vice president at Johns Hopkins University, a role he has held since 2016.

In his remarks to those gathered, Kumar shared the most important lessons that had been imparted to him by academic leaders at his current and previous institutions. “It's always about the people,” he reflected. “You should lead with your values, you should never lose sight of the mission... and most important, you should never stop taking delight in the achievements of the people around you: students, faculty colleagues, staff, and alumni.” This, he offered, is the “true reward” for any academic leader.

Sunil Kumar greets students in Breed Memorial Hall.

Sunil Kumar greets students in Breed Memorial Hall. Photo: Alonso Nichols

In introducing Kumar to the attendees, Peter Dolan, chairman of the Board of Trustees and chair of the presidential search committee, characterized the president-elect as a creative problem-solver who is able to synthesize lots of information, distill it down, and apply it thoughtfully to whatever challenges he faces.

Dolan invoked references from several members of Kumar's current community at Johns Hopkins, who cited the personal connection they feel with him. People across multiple disciplines say, I connect with Sunil,’” said Dolan. 'He understands who I am, where I am coming from, what I am working on.’”  

Kumar will assume the leadership of Tufts on July 1. Looking ahead with enthusiasm, Kumar said, “I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve such a special institution.”

On Friday, November 18, receptions continued to be held across Tufts’ campuses, as listed here:

  • Grafton campus: 9-10 a.m. at the Agnes Varis Campus Center
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts: 11 a.m. to noon in the SMFA Atrium
  • Boston Health Sciences campus: 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Center for Medical Education, 145 Harrison Avenue, Room 114
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