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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tufts dedicates new fitness center


The Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center was officially dedicated at an afternoon ceremony yesterday in the Chase Gym. 

The event honored Tufts alumnus, New York Giants Chairman and award-winning film producer Steve Tisch (A '71) and recognized the contributions of various others in the university's effort to improve Tufts students' athletic and overall college experiences.

"When you're in beautiful spaces you can do great things," Dean of Arts and Sciences Joanne Berger-Sweeney said.

Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris acted as master of ceremonies and introduced speeches from Tufts administrators, public officials, students and Tisch himself.

Harris opened with a few remarks of his own, including an expression of appreciation to Tisch for his ongoing philanthropic commitment to Tufts and the acknowledgement of various guests of honor. Harris then conveyed a note of congratulations from Republican Senator Scott Brown (LA '81) in honor of the event and thanked the various members of the Medford community in attendance.

Berger-Sweeney followed with a short speech on the new fitness center's value to undergraduate education. Drawing on a personal anecdote about her own family's athletic background, Berger-Sweeney illustrated how athletics taught her the importance of integrity in team play.

"When we strengthen athletics, we strengthen the student experience here at Tufts University," Berger-Sweeney said.

Stanmar Inc. President Mark Snider, father of Oliver Snider (LA '10), spoke next on Stanmar's contribution to the facility's design. 

After hearing the opinion of his son, a football player, about Tufts' dated athletic facilities, Snider began to cooperate with university officials to create a better design. Snider's inspiration ultimately was crucial to the on-schedule and under-budget completion of the new fitness center.

Senior Kate Barnosky, a senior and co-captain of the women's basketball team, and Nick Cutsumpas, a junior and co-captain of the baseball team, then expressed what the new facilities meant personally for them as Tufts students. 

Barnosky explained the fitness center represents a way of bringing students together, while Cutsumpas recognized that few Div. III schools are fortunate enough to have facilities of such a caliber.

Athletics Director William Gehling affirmed both students' sentiments, declaring his belief in the value of a university's athletic experience and his enthusiasm that Tufts' athletic facilities are finally beginning to match up with the institution's overall quality.

"This building represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Tufts athletics and in our dreams moving forward," Gehling said.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Stern then thanked President Emeritus Lawrence Bacow and his wife, who were present at the dedication, for directing all gifts made in their name towards Tufts athletics. 

Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn then made a speech affirming the positive relationship between the city and Tufts, before University President Anthony Monaco took to the microphone to acknowledge the fitness center as the culmination of steady improvements to Tufts athletics under Bacow.

"It's through philanthropy such as this that we can change," he said, before introducing Tisch.

After receiving a standing ovation, Tisch joked, "There's nothing left to say," before moving on to close the dedication ceremony.

"Raising the bar is really what Tufts is all about," Tisch said. "The building I am here to dedicate keeps pace with the mission of progress."

Tisch added that the building bears more than just his name, but also embodies his ideal that physical fitness is critical to achieving a world-class education.

"I am truly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the future of this school," Tisch said.