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Trustee emerita's lasting impact inspires junior professorship

The late Joan Bergstrom, J62, educator and author, sought to improve the lives of children worldwide. "She was a true Renaissance woman whose tremendous grace and intelligence made a deep and lasting impact," Eileen Kennedy, dean of the Friedman School, said of the former chair of the Friedman School's Board of Overseers and Tufts trustee emeritus, who died April 6.

Since Dr. Bergstrom's passing, an outpouring of support has been received for a professorship that is part of her legacy at the Friedman School. More than 50 contributions in her memory have been made toward the Bergstrom Foundation Professorship in Global Nutrition, a junior professorship for rising young faculty members who are addressing such vital world issues as malnutrition, food insecurity, and famine. "Joan was passionate about helping people," said Dean Kennedy. "It is fitting that part of her legacy will be supporting young faculty who aim to lessen the suffering and improve the health of people across the globe."

Dr. Bergstrom, a graduate of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts, received her Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was affiliated with Wheelock College for more than 40 years. She was founder and director of Wheelock's Center for International Education, Leadership, and Innovation, which coordinates the college's international offerings.

Her many achievements in early-childhood development included authoring books and articles for parents, teachers, and education leaders; creating ways for school-age children to develop hobbies that become lifelong pursuits; developing degree programs for early-childhood educators in Southeast Asia; and serving as a board member on major institutions affecting the lives of children, including the Museum of Science in Boston and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. At Eliot-Pearson, Dr. Bergstrom was central to the development of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development under the direction of Richard M. Lerner, who holds the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science.

"I will miss her wise counsel as well as the thoughtful and passionate leadership she offered the Friedman School," Kennedy said. Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow said, "Joan Bergstrom was an incredibly loyal alumna. She found so many different ways to contribute to the life of an institution that she loved and that loved her back."

To find out more about the Bergstrom Foundation Professorship in Global Nutrition or how you might join the efforts to honor Dr. Bergstrom's memory, please contact Brian Lee, vice president for university advancement at 617-627-3143, 80 George St., Medford, MA, 02155 or Cindy Briggs Tobin, director of development and alumni relations, Friedman School, 150 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA, 02111, 617-627-0962.