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Largest gift in alumni association in university history

Sometimes a great notion begins quite simply. In writing about the importance of financial aid, Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco observed, “Going back to the early days of the fledgling college, scholarships from Tufts’ most loyal supporters meant that bright students with more potential than wealth could come to college on the Hill.” Those words resonated with Cherie Bishop, D94, the immediate past president of the Tufts University Dental Alumni Association. One of the alumni association’s “biggest concerns,” she says, is the amount of debt dental students carry after they graduate. “It’s a totally different story now from when we went to school.”

The alumni board decided to do something about that, creating a $250,000 scholarship fund that will support the best and brightest students with demonstrated financial need. The gift will be given over five years and matched through the university’s ongoing Financial Aid Initiative, meaning the scholarship ultimately will total $500,000.

Their philanthropy is notable for another reason—it is the largest gift by an alumni association in Tufts history. “For us to be trailblazers was exciting,” Bishop says, “and we hope it sets a model for what other schools might have the potential to do as well.”

The gift is an important one for the entire dental school community, says Derek Wolkowicz, D97, DG00, the new alumni association president. “We wanted our efforts to have a lasting impact, not only on the individual receiving the scholarship, but really on the dental school as a whole. We want to show students that the Dental Alumni Association is here to help them in whatever way we can.”