Chris Manos, Tufts University B.L.R. Professor of the Practice in Finance
Since launching in 2012, Tufts Finance Initiative (TFI) has transformed finance education at Tufts, significantly strengthening the academic and pre-professional experience available to students. Sustaining its success is a long-term strategic goal, and steps are now underway to secure its bright future in perpetuity.
New Investment in Faculty
At the end of last year, an anonymous donor significantly bolstered the importance of finance education at Tufts by providing $1.2 million to permanently endow the professor of the practice in finance. As a qualifying gift in the university’s recent Professorship Partnership Challenge, which concluded on June 30, Tufts provided the remaining 40%, or $800,000. This spring, Professor Chris Manos was named to this endowed position as the B.L.R. Professor.
“This is the most significant investment made in finance education at the university to date,” said Dean Jim Glaser, School of Arts and Sciences. He added, “it serves as a statement to current and prospective students and alumni that this area is a priority and we take seriously our responsibility to prepare students for highly competitive and desired careers in financial services.”
Chris Di Fronzo, E96, EG04, Director, Tufts Finance Initiative, speaks at the annual Finance Career Forum.
Established through the generosity of several alumni donors, TFI was the catalyst for creating the initial professor of the practice in finance position, a role Manos held since 2013. It also provided critical resources to hire Chris Di Fronzo, E96, EG04, as TFI’s program director. Working in Tufts Career Center, Di Fronzo has strengthened the network of companies hiring for full-time and intern positions at Tufts. He also provides students with resume and interview support and organizes several skill-building workshops annually.
Most notably, according to Manos, TFI catalyzed the creation of a new academic minor in finance, expanding the number of finance classes available to students and providing a foundational framework for their education. He added, “I find this to be one of the program’s biggest achievements and the most transformative change in finance education at Tufts in recent years.”
With core classes in mathematics and the economics of financial markets and enhanced networking opportunities on and off campus, TFI is ensuring that students leave Tufts with the tools needed to be successful day one in the world of financial services. As a result, added Di Fronzo, more students are reporting gainful employment—whether full time jobs or internships—than ever before.
These are big milestones for a young program to achieve, said Glaser, and alumni played a key role in ensuring TFI’s success. “They have been very passionate about the need for students to be more prepared upon graduation for competitive careers in the industry. Because of their support and advocacy, this and more has been made possible.”
Students at the annual Finance Career Forum engage in conversations over lunch with alumni mentors.
Permanency. To date, TFI has been funded through an initial $1.3 million investment, but that is quickly dwindling. Endowing the program has always been part of the long-term strategic plan, and thanks to the new endowed professorship in finance, Tufts is well on its way to this goal.
With an ambitious goal to raise $3.6 million by 2023 set, fundraising for TFI remains a top priority of Dean Glaser. This would permanently cover the salary and benefits for the Director of Tufts Finance Initiative (currently Di Fronzo), provide program money to the Career Center, and support a second part-time professor of the practice.
The good news is these efforts have been met with early momentum, and a handful of alumni have already stepped forward to commit $900,000 to establish three new endowments to support TFI. These gifts, coupled with $160,000 received in previous years, bring fundraising progress to $1,060,000 of the $3.6 million goal.
How Can You Help?
This year and beyond, Tufts will enlist the support of alumni leaders and the broader finance community to meet the $3.6 million goal. Investments will support the ambitions of our undergraduates and the continued success of TFI. From increasing academic offerings to dramatically enhancing career counseling, the program has been essential to strengthening the growing network of students and alumni in finance, potentially for a lifetime.
To learn more about how you can support TFI and ensure the program continues to grow and thrive for future generations of like-minded students, contact Jeff Winey, Senior Director of Principal Gifts and University Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.