ANTHONY P. MONACO
Anthony P. Monaco became the thirteenth President of Tufts University on August 1, 2011. A distinguished geneticist, he had served as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources at the University of Oxford since 2007. President Monaco is an accomplished leader, scientist and teacher. He brings to the Tufts Presidency deep-rooted commitments to academic excellence, diversity and inclusion, a global perspective and the consequential role that universities have in society.
President Monaco holds faculty appointments as a Professor of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences and as a Professor of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine. He describes his leadership style as transparent and focused on consensus building. “The most important ingredient is to work with people and listen to their views. That’s where I spend a lot of time before making big decisions,” he says.
At Oxford, Dr. Monaco developed and led strategic planning initiatives for academic programs, student recruitment, senior academic appointments, capital improvements and budgeting and resource allocation across the university’s four academic divisions, central administration, library, and museums. His leadership ensured that appropriate resources were allocated to support excellence in teaching, research, and wider engagement with society. Dr. Monaco was an active steward of programs to broaden access to an Oxford education. He developed multidisciplinary research initiatives and engaged in fundraising to support those collaborations as well as other academic priorities.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, President Monaco received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1981, and his M.D. and Ph.D. through Harvard Medical School’s Medical Scientist Training Program, where he specialized in the genetics of neurological disorders. His doctoral research led to a landmark scientific discovery: the gene responsible for X-linked Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, which weaken the skeletal and heart muscles.
“I have the same feeling of excitement about Tufts that I had when I was embarking on my first scientific discoveries,” he says. Although a scientist by training, President Monaco believes that the humanities are an essential component of an undergraduate education. “The humanities, in particular, foster an appreciation of the creativity of the human mind,” he notes. A liberal education, in which undergraduates experience a range of subjects across the disciplines, is empowering and enduring, he says, because it prepares students to go out and take on some of the world’s greatest challenges.
Prior to serving as Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Oxford, Dr. Monaco had directed the university’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics since 1998. Under his leadership, the Wellcome Trust Centre doubled in size: it is now the largest externally funded, university-based research center in the U.K. He also had been a professor of human genetics at Oxford since 1997, teaching undergraduate and graduate students through laboratory supervision and coursework. He led Oxford’s Neurogenetics Group, a team of scientists investigating the genetic underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, specific language impairment and dyslexia. His group was the first to identify a gene specifically involved in human speech and language. During a transition period, he continues to supervise three PhD students and a research grant as Visiting Professor in the Genetics of Speech and Language Disorders at Oxford.
He was elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2006, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) and the Royal Society of Medicine.
President Monaco is married to Zoia Monaco, Ph.D., a molecular geneticist who heads a research group at Oxford that is investigating chromosome and genome stability in stem cells. The Monacos have three sons, ages ten to thirteen. President Monaco enjoys reading history and fiction and keeps fit by swimming.