New Role Bridges Civics and Athletics

Position funded by Steve Tisch, A71, to encourage student community engagement
Frank Roche, A19, AG20, outside the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center

Frank Roche, A19, AG20, outside the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center.

Frank Roche, A19, AG20, has found “the perfect fit” at Tufts as civic life coordinator for athletics, a role created at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life with a gift from Steve Tisch, A71. A generous supporter of Tufts, Tisch also provided the naming gift for the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center and most recently made a $10 million gift to create the Steve Tisch Family Endowed Scholarship for School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering undergraduates.

The civic life coordinator position builds on Roche’s connections to the Boston area and to athletics as a nexus for community service. In his role as a liaison for athletics, community organizations, and Tisch College programs, he serves 900-plus student-athletes, 28 varsity teams, and more than 20 community organizations.

“Tufts Athletics already has a strong foundation of civic values,” said Roche, who was a receiver on the Jumbo football team. “The inherent nature of teams encourages athletes to be civic-minded and can be used as a vehicle to further Tufts’ mission of developing civic leaders.”

Steve Tisch, A71

Steve Tisch, A71

Roche studied political science as an undergraduate and went on to receive a master’s in teaching; he previously taught high school Special Education and English in Revere, Massachusetts.

His return to Tufts is inspired by his meaningful civic engagement during his undergraduate years. He was a Big Brother, mentoring a local student from third through fifth grade, and enjoyed being involved with Team IMPACT, an organization that matches children facing serious illness and disability with college sports teams.

He knows that it can be tough to fit community service in between classes and athletics. “I’m here to help coordinate with community organizations, work around schedules, and provide a menu for teams to choose from so they find the balance that defines a Tufts education.”

The program reinforces Tisch College’s priority of creating civic pathways that help all Tufts students learn how to be actively engaged in the community. It has already had a positive impact: Last year, student-athletes participated in more than 1,500 hours of civic engagement opportunities.