Giving Back a Love for Learning

Trustee Elyse Newhouse, J82, and her husband, Michael, A82, help Tufts expand its reach in civic studies.
History Professor Peter Winn and James Glaser, dean of Arts and Sciences

History Professor Peter Winn and James Glaser, dean of Arts and Sciences, discuss voting results on election night  2016. Photo: Alonso Nichols

Tufts Board of Trustees member Elyse Newhouse, J82, has never forgotten the educational foundation she built at Tufts. “I gained a love for learning and civic engagement,” said Newhouse, who earned both a BA in English literature and a BS in engineering psychology. “I thought the level of teaching was really high.” Now, to ensure future generations of students can benefit from that excellence, Elyse and her husband—Michael, A82, who majored in history—have established the Newhouse Professorship in Civic Studies through the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation. Supported with matching funds from Jonathan, A76, and Lizzie Tisch, the professorship is a joint position between the Tisch College of Civic Life and the School of Arts and Sciences.

The Newhouse professor, who is expected to be named soon, will explore civic engagement, public participation, civil society, and other topics related to civic life in his or her own scholarship and in the classroom, and will explore questions across department lines. The position is one of several that will focus on civic life and be shared between Tisch and other schools, and is Tufts’ first endowed professorship in civic studies. “We feel Tisch is a great and unique thing at Tufts and we’re happy to be the first,” Elyse said. “It’s very important to have endowed professorships—it allows Tufts to attract and keep talent.”

At Tufts, Elyse is a member of the campaign cabinet executive committee and has served on many boards at the university, including the boards of advisors for Arts and Sciences and Tisch Library and other campaign committees. “I enjoy helping the school prosper and I feel it’s a really great institution to support,” she said. “Tufts is committed to undergraduate education.” Elyse and Michael share that commitment: in addition to the Newhouse Professorship, they established the Newhouse Scholarship in 1997, offering financial support to low-income students from New York City. One of this year’s recipients was Paulina Jedrejowski, A19, an economics major and international relations major and the daughter of Polish immigrants, who has studied immigration in the context of world economies, and hopes to become a financial lawyer. “Without this scholarship, I could not afford to be here,” Jedrejowski said. “I’m so grateful to have this opportunity.”

Elyse and Michael hope their new endowed professorship will enhance the student experience, and inspire others to do the same. “We hope other people will find an area that interests them and endow professorships as well,” Elyse said.