Tufts University

When Somerville farmer Charles Tufts was asked what he planned to do with a hill he owned in Medford, he replied that he would put a light on it. Tufts University, founded in 1852, serves as a beacon on that hill today with four campuses, eight schools, and more than 8,000 students in a variety of liberal arts and professional programs.

Graduates Lawrence Marshall and Vannevar Bush (later a professor of electrical engineering at MIT) founded American Appliance in 1922 (Raytheon, page 53). In 1996 Neil Birnberg founded Mercury Therapeutics, Inc. to develop treatments for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In 2002 Tufts University researchers engineered the first "custom-made" human knee ligaments from adult stem cells. Neuroscientists John Kauer and Josh White are devising an electronic nose which will detect chemical particles used to make explosives. Nutrition professor Jose Ordovas has pioneered "Nutrigenomics" or the study of how diet is related to predisposition to disease. Today Charles Tufts' quiet gift of a hilltop is a busy focus for pioneering students and scientists.


 College History: Tufts University, MA by Anne Sauer, 2001