Tufts Magazine Editor-in-Chief John Wolfson
Spring 2017
From the Editor

Spring Cleaning

It’s spring again, and with change in the air, what better time to unveil a fresh new design for Tufts Magazine? In many respects, the issue you’re holding right now is just like the ones that have come before it. The pages are filled with stories and photos detailing the fascinating things that Jumbos are doing out there in the world. But this issue is different, too.

How so? Broadly speaking, we have changed things up in our new design by doing away with the grouping of stories by subject matter. That has meant retiring the Discover, Act, and Create sections. In their place, the magazine now opens with a new section, called Tufts Now, that features stories of a variety of topics and lengths. From there, we go to a more traditional feature well—the area in the middle of the magazine where we’ll now concentrate our longer articles. One holdover from the previous design is the Connect section, where you’ll continue to find alumni news of all sorts, including class notes, wedding photos, obituaries, and updates from campus.

My hope is that this reworking of the magazine will result in a richer reading experience, with more opportunities to inform, delight, and surprise you.

Speaking of surprises, I hope you’ll make time to read one of my favorite stories from this issue, the serendipitous result of an error we made in our previous one. A few of you wrote to inform us that, in our oral history last fall about the great Barnum Hall fire, P.T. Barnum, the circus showman and one of Tufts’ first trustees, was misidentified as a Unitarian Universalist. He was, of course, a Universalist.

In a lovely essay on page 76, Charles A. Gaines, A58, CRANE61, explains that the merger of the Universalists and the Unitarians didn’t occur until 1961, just two weeks after he became perhaps the last person ever ordained as a Universalist minister. Our story, Gaines writes, was hardly the first time that he has seen Tufts inaccurately described as having Unitarian Universalist roots. And that’s unfortunate, he points out, because even though the two religions had some similarities, there were also important distinctions.

Much of Tufts’ enduring embrace of diversity and commitment to social justice can be traced directly to its Universalist heritage, Gaines writes, yet even as the university continues to honor the spirit of its origins, there is a sense that it may be losing touch with the true nature of them. I regret that our story may have contributed to the confusion, and I am simply thrilled to have been able to publish Gaines’ elegant clarification.