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Profiles in Giving

Class Act

“There was nothing rah-rah about being at Tufts from 1969 to 1973,” says Regina Strazzulla Rockefeller, J73, A02P. She recalls a period of ferment and generational rifts, marked by nationwide protests against the Vietnam War. Final exams were canceled and Tufts was shut down in the spring of 1970 in protest of the U.S. bombing of Cambodia and the National Guard’s fatal shootings of four students at Kent State, in Ohio. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy was firebombed in 1971. Rules about when and where women could wear pants or entertain male guests were abandoned under student pressure within weeks of the arrival of the Class of 1973. An advocate for change, Rockefeller served on a committee that helped establish coed dorms.

Forty years later, she sees support for Tufts as “another part of our protest generation.” She’s proud that her class has twice consecutively won the Founders Cup for the highest percentage of undergraduate alumni giving. “We compete with the Class of 1958 during our reunion years,” Rockefeller says. “The 1950s offered a much more peaceful and conforming experience than the classes of the early 1970s enjoyed. The Class of 1973 takes great delight in beating them for highest class giving participation.”

The daughter of an Italian-American mother educated as a bookkeeper and an Italian immigrant father who owned tomato and citrus wholesale businesses, Rockefeller grew up in Florida and in Belmont, Massachusetts. As a Tufts sophomore, she co-taught with Jim Meyer, A73, a course on Judaism in America through the Experimental College and met her future husband, Andy Rockefeller, A74, A02P, who was one of her students. She wrote for the Observer, majored in political science, and graduated magna cum laude.

Now a partner in the international law firm Nixon Peabody, Rockefeller specializes in health-care law, representing hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers. She and her husband live in Lexington, Massachusetts, and have two adult daughters, Tory, A02, and Lisa. Rockefeller has remained deeply engaged with the university as a fortieth-reunion class gift officer, a class reunion committee member, and an elected member of the Tufts Alumni Council, where she serves on its Executive Committee and as its representative to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Tufts Board of Trustees.

“Tufts cultivates an intellectualism that I valued then and now, tempered with an orientation toward career preparation,” she says. “Many of us in the Class of 1973, myself included, were the first in our families to graduate from college. We were the children of immigrants to the United States, and our families put a premium on our education as a way of achieving the American Dream.” Rockefeller volunteers out of gratitude to the university that helped her and others achieve that dream.