Scenes from Inauguration Week

Across the Tufts campuses, the community is welcoming Tufts’ 14th president with open houses, performances, tours, and thought-provoking discussions

From tractors rides at the Cummings School open house to a performance-filled arts showcase at the Granoff Center to a memorable address on Friday afternoon, it was a festive Inauguration Week at Tufts.

Check out all the events and celebrations from across the campuses.

The Installation Ceremony

Hundreds of faculty, staff, students, alumni, neighbors, and academic leaders gathered on the Medford/Somerville campus to witness the installation of Sunil Kumar as the 14th president of Tufts University.


Photo: Anna Miller

Audience watches inauguration ceremony

Photo: Anna Miller

Zana Hunt, D24
Zana Hunt, D24, spoke on behalf of Tufts graduate and professional students. Photo: Paul Rutherford
Arielle Galinsky, A24
Arielle Galinsky, A24, gives greetings on behalf of Tufts undergraduate students. Photo: Alonso Nichols
Sunil Kumar, recesses out of the Inauguration ceremony

Photo: Paul Rutherford

Tufts University's 14th President, Sunil Kumar, recesses out of the Inauguration ceremony.

Day of Service

Students, faculty, staff, and neighbors joined together for a day of service to the community on Saturday, October 7. After breakfast at Breed Hall and a brief talk by organizers and President Kumar, volunteers headed to community sites nearby for clean-up activities. 

A panoramic photo of more than 100 people in front of a building

The Tufts community turned out in force for the day of service honoring the inauguration of President Sunil Kumar. Photo: Alonso Nichols

Chinatown Community Welcome Luncheon

October 5 brought President Kumar to Chinatown, home of Tufts’ Health Sciences Campus. He was given a tour of the Pao Arts Center, Chinatown’s first arts and cultural center and a community space for events, classes, performances, and exhibits. He then met with Chinatown leaders, nonprofit community partners, and Boston elected officials over a dim sum lunch at Hei La Moon restaurant. He was joined by Tufts students, faculty, and staff who are active in various community projects.

President Kumar walking through Chinatown

President Kumar walks through the neighborhood with Debbie Ho, executive director of the Chinatown Main Street community organization. Photo: Alonso Nichols

people in a Chinese restaurant raise a toast

Raising a toast to community members at Hei La Moon restaurant. Photo: Alonso Nichols

University Chaplaincy Program

On the evening of October 4, the Chaplaincy Program held a festive, multifaith gathering with music and dance, spoken reflections, and a collaborative art installation to welcome President Kumar into the Tufts community. Attendees wrote words of welcome or blessing for the new president on paper leaves, which were added to an artwork inspired by the stained-glass oak leaves on one of Goddard Chapel’s windows.

the exterior of Goddard Chapel at night

Lights on Goddard Chapel welcome the president to the multifaith gathering. Photo: Paul Rutherford

Najiba Akbar, Muslim Chaplain
Muslim Chaplain Najiba Akbar Photo: Paul Rutherford
Shir Appeal
Members of Shir Appeal, a Jewish a capella group, are among the evening's musical performers. Photo: Paul Rutherford
paper leaves on an art installation

Photo: Paul Rutherford

Messages for the new president hang on an art installation inspired by the chapel's stained glass windows.

Academic Symposium

On October 4, the academic symposium “One Health: Tufts Making an Impact” brought together faculty and students from across all the university’s schools to discuss research that takes a holistic view of the health of people, animals, and the environment.

Scientists presented research on the impacts of air pollution, extreme heat, and the built environment on human health, as well as the global risks of zoonotic disease spillover to humans. A central theme was the importance of taking a global approach to tackle issues from food security to climate resilience. Speakers also addressed the critical role of representation and the need to diversify the scientific workforce while prioritizing the lived experiences of patients in research agendas.

President Kumar, noting the humility with which the researchers are undertaking their vital projects, praised their willingness to work with colleagues outside their disciplines at other Tufts’ schools to meet their goals. “We need to think small, as a family, in order to bring things together,” he said.

When it comes to research at Tufts, Kumar said that he sees his role as somewhat of a taxi driver: “I want to take you all to where you want to go.”

Centering Indigenous Voices in the Arts

On October 3, President Kumar attended a tour and discussion of the Tufts University Art Galleries’ Véxoa: We Know,” an exhibition of work by Indigenous artists of Brazil that explores the political power of contemporary art. The discussion was led by Claudia Mattos Avolese, senior lecturer of visual and material studies; Mary McNeill, assistant professor of studies in race, colonialism, and the diaspora; and Lily Mengesha, assistant professor of theatre, dance and performance studies.

SMFA at Tufts Reception

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University welcomed the 14th president of the university with an October 2 reception at the Boston SMFA campus in the Fenway.  This hub for artmaking houses the majority of the school’s classrooms, student studios, workshops, and production labs. The new president also received a tour of exhibits from the Tufts University Art Galleries.

Sunil Kumar talks with a student in the SMFA Atrium

President Sunil Kumar talks with Gray Winburne, MFA24, in the Atrium at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Photo: Alonso Nichols

Dina Deitsch and President Kumar look at a display case
Dina Deitsch, director and chief curator of the Tufts University Art Galleries, gives President Kumar a tour of the installation “Double Arrows.” Photo: Alonso Nichols
Dean Scheri Fultineer and President Kumar
Scheri Fultineer, dean of SMFA at Tufts, and President Kumar pose with Bessie the Rhino in the courtyard. Photo: Alonso Nichols

Tufts Student Arts Showcase

On the evening of October 1, the Tufts Student Performing Arts Showcase held at the Granoff Center highlighted the remarkable talents of Tufts students. The event, which was open to the public, featured short, student-led music, dance, and theater performances.

Member of the Tufts Dance Program

Photo: Anna Miller

Members of the Tufts Dance Program
Students beat on folding chairs and trash cans
BEATs (Bangin’ Everything at Tufts), a student street percussion ensemble Photo: Anna Miller
The cello section of a chamber orchestra
Tufts Chamber Orchestra, directed by John Page, perform "Dabke" by Professor of the Practice Kareem Roustom. Photo: Anna Miller
two women dancing

Photo: Anna Miller

The Envy Ladies Step Team

Community Day

President Kumar took the opportunity to meet hundreds of his new neighbors at Tufts’ annual Community Day, held October 1. As always, the day included performances, info on the latest research projects from Tufts faculty and students, and fun activities for kids. See more photos from the event.

The Jumbo mascot runs through the “car wash” as two Tufts volunteers cheer on the Academic Quad at Tufts University for Community Day 2023

Photo by Alonso Nichols

Jumbo runs through the kiddie car wash as two Tufts volunteers cheer at Tufts University's Community Day 2023.

Grafton Open House

On the last day of September, friends of animals and science had a true field day at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine’s Open House on the Grafton Campus. Some rode a tractor through the grounds and visited the cow and sheep pastures while others explored the animal skeletons in the anatomy lab. The canine members of the Face to Face Disc Club performed frisbee-catching and agility demonstrations. And all were welcome at the teddy bear clinic, where youngsters could bring their favorite stuffed friends for some professional boo-boo care.

President Kumar and Dean Cribb

President Kumar and Cummings School Dean Alastair Cribb speak with students, faculty, staff, and families at the open house. Photo: Anna Miller

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