Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Kumar officially inaugurated as Tufts’ 14th president

The seasoned leader in education was installed as university president on Oct. 6, making him the first person of color to occupy the role.

sunil kumar inaug.jpeg

University President Sunil Kumar is pictured at his inauguration ceremony on Oct. 6.

Sunil Kumar was formally inaugurated as president of Tufts University on Oct. 6 on the Residential Quad after starting the job this July. Among those who introduced him were Peter Dolan, chairman of the Board of Trustees, TCU Senate President Arielle Galinsky and Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University.

Kumar comes to Tufts after serving as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University. He also served as dean and the George Pratt Shultz professor of operations management at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and was the Fred H. Merrill professor of operations, information and technology at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he worked for 14 years.

Speaking on Kumar’s qualifications, Dolan described Kumar as an experienced leader prepared to take on the challenges of being the university’s president.

“He is trained to take complex situations, then extract data, summarize, synthesize, model and predict outcomes and then develop an effective policy,” Dolan said.

Immediately before Dolan’s address, demonstrators in support of the Tufts University Graduate Workers Union organized a walkout, beginning their rally outside of the Olin Center.

Zana Hunt, a third-year student in the School of Dental Medicine, was at the inauguration representing the graduate students but did not address ongoing contract negotiations in her speech.

“You have committed yourself to political, environmental, scientific, economic and social progress,” she said to Kumar. “We salute you for solidifying the commitment to excellence by taking the helm of our great university and leading us with wisdom.”

In his address, Kumar spoke to Tufts’ unique culture as both a global research institution and a liberal arts school in the NESCAC.

“There was one common sentiment that came up again and again: the belief that this is truly a special place,” he said.

Among his core goals as president, Kumar highlighted the importance of preparing students to take on global challenges.

“We must prepare the future doctors graduating from our School of Medicine to not only be excellent clinicians but also to tackle growing health disparities to their understanding of economics and society,” he said. “We need our Fletcher School graduates to understand the impact of the latest technology on world affairs. We must equip our engineering graduates with the skills to comprehend the ethical and moral consequences of their inventions.”

Kumar announced plans to prioritize education and research as well as supporting students throughout all stages of their life.

“I consider this event the official end of my honeymoon. I’m energized by the path that lies ahead and I look forward to making Tufts — our special place — even greater together. Let’s get to work,” he said.