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Honoring Civic Excellence

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Honos Civicus Society welcomed its newest members in a ceremony that celebrated the importance of active citizenship at Tufts.

Honos Civicus inductees with their certificates

On April 17, Tisch College hosted its 6th annual Honos Civicus ceremony and inducted 89 Tufts undergraduates into this unique society for active citizens.

Honos Civicus, which began in 2009, recognizes students who have combined academic excellence with valuable civic engagement, whether through campus leadership, community service, internships in public interest organizations, etc. There are now more than 500 members in Honos Civicus, forming a growing network of Tufts alumni who are committed to lifelong active citizenship across a broad spectrum of disciplines and areas of interest.

“Today, Tisch College honors all of you, because you embody the University’s vision of what a Tufts education is about,” said Tisch College Dean Alan Solomont, who offered welcome remarks at the event. “Throughout the past four years, each of you has made a difference at Tufts and made an impact on our communities. You have done it with no expectation of accolades or praise, which only makes you more deserving of both,” he added.

Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco also attended the event and acknowledged the important role of students like the Honos Civicus inductees in making Tufts a worldwide leader in civic engagement.

“You, as a group, are some of the best ambassadors for Tufts’ mission,” said President Monaco. “I know how much dedication it takes to undertake civic engagement alongside your academic work, and that it’s never easy to get it all done. All of you have shown how much you care, as individuals, about our commitment as an institution to active citizenship and public service.”

This year’s cohort of inductees was one of the largest, strongest, and most diverse in the six-year history of Honos Civicus. The group includes Tisch Scholars, Summer Fellows and others who have been active citizens through various Tisch College student programs, but also others who forged their own path to civic engagement at the university and in our communities.

These students excelled in courses from varied academic disciplines that gave them an understanding of pressing national and global issues, as well as some of the tools to begin engaging with those issues. They emerged as leaders and performed service through organizations and programs like: Engineers Without Borders, Generation Citizen, Jumpstart, The Sharewood Project, the Tufts Literacy Corps, and the TCU Senate.

Anjali Nirmalan, A09, a member of the inaugural Honos Civicus class who now works as a 6th grade English teacher at the UP Academy Charter School of Boston, addressed the inductees and challenged them to keep transforming communities through their work.

“All of you are the upenders and the reformers of this new generation,” she said. “In a few years, you’re going to make my familiar world completely unrecognizable. And that’s awesome: it needs to be made unrecognizable.”

Nirmalan also reminded the students that they should strive to build a world in which their service and their interventions are no longer required. “The very best wish that I can make for you is that, as great as your accomplishments will be, as great as they already are, I really hope that they are dwarfed by the accomplishments of the communities that you serve and you empower.”
Inductee Lauren Clement, A14, also addressed her classmates, and spoke eloquently about combining her twin passions of philosophy and journalism. “Tufts spurred my development as an active citizen because it effectively bridged the gap between the classroom and the real world,” she said.

Clement also encouraged her peers to see active citizenship as an enduring commitment that requires thoughtfulness and action.

“My civic participation is not an end in itself, nor is it just a string of actions. It is a lifelong process; one which involves constantly rethinking and learning, a lifelong exploration of reassessing values, and translating them firmly into action,” she said.

In May, Tisch College will induct its second class of graduating students from the Tufts Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine, and an inaugural class from the Friedman School of Nutrition.