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A Reliable Trust

A Reliable TrustDecades after his death, alumnus Frank C. Doble continues to give back to the Tufts community, making recent headlines for his role in the university's largest donation ever.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.10.08] In the past, Frank C. Doble was known as a technology pioneer. Almost 40 years after his death, however, he has become known to the Tufts community and beyond as the philanthropist responsible for the largest gift in the university's history.

On April 9, Tufts announced the $136 million gift, which came from trusts that Doble had set up in 1960 and funded with equity in his engineering company. When Doble Engineering was sold and the trusts dissolved, Tufts and fellow beneficiary Lesley University received the full benefit of his philanthropy.

News of the gift caught the attention of media outlets ranging from the Associated Press to The Boston Globe.

"While an electrical engineering student at Tufts University in the early 1900s, Frank Currier Doble wired the campus for telephones to help pay his way through college. A century later, like a bolt from the past, Doble's work ethic and pioneering technical expertise have produced a stunning windfall for his alma mater and another local university that will help an untold number of students afford school," The Globe reported.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Doble's gift is 12th-largest private gift to a college or university in the last four decades.

At Tufts, the money will support priorities such as financial and also enable the university to begin development of a new interdisciplinary science laboratory "to honor Doble's legacy," the Associated Press reported.

Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow explained to the Globe that Doble's gift was "absolutely in keeping with his legacy and the priorities of the university."

Doble earned a degree in electrical engineering from Tufts in 1911. The engineering company that he founded in 1920 became a world leader in providing high-end diagnostic test solutions for the electric utility industry.

Over the years Doble's forethought has had a positive impact at Tufts and Lesley.

"Both universities had previously benefited from Mr. Doble's generosity, receiving $34-million each in dividends from the trusts since Mr. Doble died, in 1969," the Chronicle reported.

Frank Doble's spirit of innovation and philanthropy will now benefit future generations of Tufts students. As Bacow said to the Chronicle, his "foresight and ingenuity as an engineer and success as an entrepreneur and businessman will today have a transformative impact, 98 years after his graduation."


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