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Board of Visitors for the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
- Existence: 1955
In 1929, the President of Tufts University, John C. Cousens, began recruiting prominent individuals to the Board of Advisors of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, though the school itself did not open until 1933. President Cousens hoped that the members would assist in the development of the Fletcher School and that they eventually would form its Board of Visitors. In its earliest conception, the Board of Advisors would be made up of people with an interest in international affairs who were not trustees of Tufts nor affiliated with the College.
It was not until 1940, however, that the Trustees of Tufts College formally established the Board of Counselors for the Fletcher School. Five years later, the Board was enlarged from its original four members and was renamed as the Board of Advisors. Though the members were distinguished officials in government and diplomacy, there were no specific mandates or guidelines in place for their role at Fletcher.
In 1958, Tufts College issued a memorandum specifying the responsibilities of Committees of Visitors for each school; at Fletcher this Committee of Visitors was called the Board of Advisors.
The objectives of each Committee were to provide ongoing evaluations of their School; to define its needs; and advise the administration in regards to that School. It was recommended that the "core" of each Board or Committee (including Fletcher's) should consist of members of the Board of Trustees, with other members appointed upon the president's recommendation.
In 1969, the new Chair of the Fletcher Board, Charles Adams, attempted to revitalize the Board by defining its duties and activities. Two yearly meetings were proposed; one in the fall to be held at the Fletcher School so Board members could meet with students and faculty, and a spring meeting to deal with the business and operational aspects of the School. During the 1970s, Tufts University altered the responsibilities of oversight as well as the membership of each committee for all Schools but Fletcher. At the request of Charles Adams, the Fletcher School was allowed to operate independently of the new regulations. At the time, the Board was called Board of Visitors, and Tufts Trustees extended an invitation to Fletcher's Board of Visitors to join the Trustees in order to create a bridge between the two governing bodies.
During the 1980s, the Fletcher School was more closely integrated with the rest of Tufts University under the leadership of its dean, Theodore Eliot, Jr. and Tufts' President Jean Mayer. In the mid-1990s, the Fletcher Board of Visitors took the name Board of Overseers. They meet 2-3 times per year, in the spring, fall, and/or winter. Though the responsibilities of the Overseers remain flexible, they are primarily involved with the management and development of Fletcher and working with the Asian, European, Latin American and International Management advisory groups.