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Profiles in Giving

David Cunningham, A98 and Suysel (de Pedro) Cunningham, J98

About them

David and Suysel began dating freshman year, and got engaged under the Bowen Gate. Twenty Tufts classmates attended their wedding in 2001, and daughter Cecilia ("Class of 2028," in her parents' description) received lots of stuffed elephants as baby presents.

New York City residents, David is a private equity fund manager and Suysel is an interior designer and kids' fashion blogger [blog.chicmommyfinds.com]. They have given at the Packard Society level in support of financial aid at Tufts, and plan an additional gift in support of the athletics complex renovation.

Why Tufts is special to them

Suysel: "Tufts means the world to me. My time there was blissful. Dave laughs because every September, at the first hint of autumn air, I still want to go back to campus and be a student again with my Boston Red Sox cap and LL Bean fleece (staples in the wardrobe in the late '90s). Aside from meeting Dave there and all of the amazing memories we share as a couple, I am proud to say the friends we made there are not only loyal and loving friends, but all are successful and driven in their careers and quite an inspiration. In almost every industry you can imagine, we know a Tufts grad who is a leader in that field. Tufts enables you not only to achieve your utmost potential as an individual, but to surround yourself with amazing people and lifelong friends."

David: "Tufts was the quintessential college experience. It was the perfect equilibrium on so many levels: it was not in the city, but not too far from it; it's not too big but not too small. There was just such a great balance about everything at the school. The biggest gift you can get from Tufts is that it equips you with all the tools necessary for success in any area you want to explore."

Why they give

Suysel: "I was so excited when I received my acceptance letter from Tufts, but was very nervous about the financial aid component. I was lucky enough to receive a good amount of financial aid and supplement that with student loans. I want to do whatever we can do to have a small part in ensuring that other students get that same opportunity to take advantage of all Tufts has to offer. It's a life-altering experience and an education that's second to none, in my opinion. Everyone should have that opportunity regardless of need. That is why I was thrilled to see that Tufts is moving towards need-blind admissions. It will make the school that much richer in terms of diversity and depth. It's something that will be an advantage and will benefit every single student."

David: "It is also important to us to give to the Tufts Athletics program. I played basketball and know that I benefited tremendously from the experience. Playing in Cousens Gym and wearing Tufts' brown and blue with the support of the student body played an important role in my time at Tufts. It made me appreciate Tufts on a different level and really gave me a sense of pride in our school spirit. Athletics at Tufts is another layer that made my Tufts experience that much more rewarding and complete."