Far-Sighted Gifts Vital to Future of Cummings School

Bequest intention speaks to a love of horses and the school
Frankie Leoff Trull with her Quarter Horse, Duke of Earl, in 2021.

Frankie Leoff Trull with her Quarter Horse, Duke of Earl, in 2021.

Horses have been a constant in the life of Frankie Leoff Trull, AG80. The granddaughter of a professional horseman, she first trotted along on a pony and later competed with hunters and Saddlebreds.

Her love for horses has now inspired two new endowed professorships at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. When received, her estate gift will fund the Frankie L. Trull Equine Sports Medicine Professorship and the Frankie L. Trull Equine Clinical Sciences Research Professorship. It will also create the Frankie L. Trull Scholarship Fund.

“The story of Cummings School is quite extraordinary,” said Trull, who served on the school’s Board of Advisors from 2007 to 2017. Estate planning conversations showed how she could “meaningfully carry forward my love of horses with gifts that strengthen the school’s future,” she said.

Henry and Lois Foster Professor and Dean Alastair Cribb shared his appreciation for Trull’s generosity and how her gifts buttress key priorities. “The endowed professors will benefit countless horse owners from across New England who rely on first-rate clinical equine care at Cummings School, and, as teachers, they will provide the kind of expertise required to educate the next generation of veterinarians,” said Cribb. “Resources for financial aid are also critical as we seek to strengthen excellence in veterinary education and ensure that the best students are able to attend Cummings School.”

Trull’s ties to the school date back to when it was but the germ of an idea. In tandem with her graduate studies in sociology at Tufts—she earned a master’s degree in 1980—she worked closely with Tufts’ 10th president, Jean Mayer, on his vision for a veterinary school. The School of Veterinary Medicine opened in 1979 and graduated its first class in 1983.

“I always felt the purpose of the veterinary school was a sound one,” said Trull, “and being a horse person, I was especially excited about its prospects. I’ve always maintained that the best medicine you can find will be around academic institutions. I was all in.”

Over the decades, her respect for the school has only grown. As she advanced in her career as a biomedical research lobbyist, she especially valued the mentorship of the school’s early champions—among them Henry Foster, a school founder (Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals honors his advocacy and philanthropy), and Frank Loew, a former dean credited with building the veterinary school into a nationally recognized institution.

Trull has retired and no longer has horses, but she has opened her Virginia barn to other equines: a donkey, a pony mule, and a miniature horse. And as she reflects on the highlights of her Tufts experience, the once-radical idea of creating a veterinary school remains close to her heart. “We were doing something significant,” she said.