The Cummings Foundation Inc. has agreed to invest $50 million in the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine over the next 15 years.
The gift, which will greatly augment the school's $45 million annual operating budget, ranks among the largest contributions ever made to a Massachusetts college or university, according to a statement from Tufts. In recognition of the gift, the school will be renamed the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine during a ceremony next spring.
"Tufts is enormously grateful to Cummings Foundation for this extraordinary gift," said Lawrence S. Bacow, president of the university.
William S. Cummings, the president of the foundation, a businessman, and an alumnus of Tufts University, pointed to the unique contributions of the school of veterinary medicine as a reason for the gift. In addition to the traditional DVM degree, the school offers a variety of joint degree programs, including a master's degree in animals and public policy. The school also has programs in veterinary ethics, and wildlife and conservation medicine.
"We were moved to recommend this commitment due to the practical, entrepreneurial spirit of Tufts University in general, and Tufts veterinary school in particular," Cummings said. "This collaboration will help to provide the resources necessary for the school to sustain its vision. We are honored to support this world-class institution of higher learning."
Dr. Philip Kosch, the dean of the veterinary school, said the funds will be used to make capital improvements, and will provide matching funds that are necessary for the school to compete for some major research grants.
The gift also will provide financial stability for the school, which like many veterinary schools has seen deep cuts in government funding, over the last few years, Dean Kosch said. Over the past three years, state funding to the veterinary school has dropped from $5.3 million to $3.3 million.
Beyond the financial impact, Dean Kosch said this remarkable gift raises the prestige of the school.
"I cannot thank Cummings Foundation enough for its vote of confidence in the faculty, staff, and students who make Tufts veterinary school the special place that it is," Dean Kosch said.