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Profiles in Giving

Dr. Gustav Grisard and Annetta Grisard-Schrafl, J94P

The Inspiration

University Trustee Emerita Annetta Grisard-Schrafl, J94P, a retired civil court judge in Basel, and her husband, Dr. Gustav Grisard, an industrialist, have maintained a strong connection to Tufts since their daughter Dominique, J94, was a student. They became members of the Society of Tufts Fellows and chaired the Tufts International Parents Fund Program in the German-speaking region of Switzerland for several years. Mrs. Grisard-Schrafl was a member of Tufts’ Board of Trustees from 1997-2007. She has served on the Academic Affairs Committee, the Honorary Degree Committee, and the University Development Committee, and currently sits on Tufts’ International Board of Overseers. In addition, she has played a key role in creating a Tufts Club of Switzerland.

The Gift

Mrs. Grisard-Schrafl along with her husband made possible a $3 million gift to the School of Medicine from the Switzerland-based Foundation for Research in Gastroenterology and Related Fields. The gift endowed the professorship held by neuroscience chair Philip Haydon while furthering neuroscience research benefiting the field of gastroenterology. Mrs. Grisard-Schrafl is the daughter of two physicians, so the gift to benefit the School of Medicine, she has said, was one close to her heart. She also wished to express her gratitude to Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, former dean of the School of Medicine, and Dr. Paul Friedmann, emeritus clinical professor at the School of Medicine and former chair of surgery and academic dean at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, a major academic affiliate of Tufts, for the excellent care given to Dr. Grisard during treatment of a leg ailment a few years ago.

The Impact

Support from the Grisards has helped the School of Medicine build a remarkable team that is shedding new light on the workings of the human brain. Professor Haydon had an ambitious goal when he arrived in 2008 to direct Tufts’ program in neuroscience: “We are going to be the best,” he said. Tufts has made a major commitment to a field seen as one of the great unexplored frontiers of science; one measure of the progress to date has been the rise in the program’s national ranking in NIH funding, from 34th in 2008 to 10th last year. The research to be done at Tufts is expected to have significant impact on the treatment of epilepsy, Alzheimer's, and other diseases. “We're only just scratching the surface when it comes to understanding the workings of the brain," says Jamshed Bharucha, Tufts’ provost and senior vice president. “Neuroscience is one of the virtually unlimited horizons opening up for future research.”