A Lasting Gift of Gratitude
When Louis A. Fiore, D62, looks back at his Tufts dental education, he recalls being so diligent he was practically invisible. “You never saw me Monday through Thursday,” he said. “I was studying.” On Fridays, though, ever
conscious of tuition, he drove home to Connecticut, trading the intricacies of dental procedures for jobs like house painting and trash removal.
“I had to work my way through both college and dental school,” he said. “And when I needed financial help to finish dental school, Tufts was there for me. I always promised to repay that generosity.”
That promise has been realized in generous giving, including the Louis A. Fiore, D.M.D., D62, and Jean H. Fiore Endowed Scholarship Fund. Fiore and his wife also showed support in 2008 for the school’s vertical expansion by funding the Fiore Dean’s Suite and the 14th-floor lecture hall known as Rachel’s Amphitheater, named in honor of his mother, who died when he was just 16 and who was his greatest advocate; her savings from working the night shift at a Connecticut textile mill were always earmarked for his dental education.
Most recently, in honor of his 60th reunion this past spring, Jean and Louis made a special gift to augment their scholarship, making them the most generous individual donors in the Dental School’s history.
Fiore is characteristically modest about that distinction, which he sees as a reflection of his abiding philosophy. “The feeling that I have about people is this,” he said. “All your diplomas are just wall décor until somebody makes you someone. In my practice, my patients made me, and I owed them the best care I could give. A lot of other people helped me too: my mother, and the people at Tufts who took a chance on me. I’m grateful for them all.”
Becoming a dentist was a longtime dream for Fiore. Growing up in Enfield, Connecticut, he was inspired by a local dentist he met in seventh grade who was both a busy professional and an enthusiastic volunteer with local organizations. “I was impressed,” said Fiore. “I wanted to be like him.”
After Tufts, Fiore followed that ideal to Olde Lyme, Connecticut, where he opened a private practice. “It was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said. “When you have a general practice, you get to know your patients and they get to know you.” With characteristic gusto, he embraced the life of his community, joining the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, and the volunteer fire department, among other organizations. He also is a past member of the Connecticut Dental Association and the American Dental Association. He retired in 1986 for health reasons.
Over the years, Fiore’s Tufts loyalty has never wavered. He is an emeritus member of the Dental Board and a member of the Charles Tufts Society for including the university in his estate plans. In 2008, he was awarded a Dean’s Medal.
He hopes his remarkable record of philanthropy will help the school “continue to thrive,” he said. His support for Tufts honors the people and opportunities who made his dream possible.
“You don’t forget the people who lift you up,” he said. “I am overjoyed that my wife, Jean, and I can, in our own way now, say thank you to Tufts, and help future students, who, like me, just need a helping hand.”