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Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Alpert, A70, A96P, A06P, A06P

About him

Mark Alpert, A70, A96P, A06P, A06P, the new president of the Tufts University Alumni Association, has Jumbo connections that go way back—to the original Jumbo, in fact.

When Alpert's great-grandfather was a little boy growing up in London in the 1870s, he not only knew P. T. Barnum's famous elephant, Alpert says, "he was friends with him." When Alpert's father, D. Robert Alpert, A35, M39, was preparing to graduate from Tufts that year, his grandfather, Alfred Mark Davis, wrote the Tufts paper that he looked forward to visiting campus to "make the (re) acquaintance of an old Chum, Jumbo"—whose stuffed hide was in Barnum Hall at the time. The letter, headlined "He Rode Jumbo Sixty Years Ago," recounted Davis's childhood visits to London's Zoological Gardens, where he had the opportunity to ride on Jumbo's back. His grandfather wrote, "When Jumbo saw me coming, his ears would flap, and he trumpeted a soft welcome."

How he makes a difference

Alpert, who lives in Newton, Massachusetts and is in-house counsel for John Hancock Financial Services, is encouraging members of the Tufts family around the world to be more active and engaged in the life of their alma mater. His credo: "Participation, participation, participation!"

He has pledged that Tufts Alumni will work strenuously in the coming year to get more of its members involved in university activities. "We know we have to provide interesting programs in the locales where alumni live, for all age groups, and for all interests," he says.

What Tufts means to him

Tufts has remained "family" to Alpert: he and his wife Jane, A96P, A06P, A06P, have seen three of their five children - including two-thirds of their triplets - graduate from the Hill. "Our alumni make Tufts unique," he says. "They share a vision that their Tufts experience has imparted an obligation to go out in the world and make the world a better place."

It's a vision that includes service to their fellow alumni. "We should understand that Tufts Alumni is made up of volunteers, some of the hardest-working volunteers I have ever seen," Alpert says. "They're dedicated to this school. This university is very proud of its alumni, and it should be."