Introducing the Tufts ECE Design Innovation Fund

Alumnus’s interest in creative lab work will support ECE Capstone projects through 2023.
Elephant statue on a lawn

Entrepreneur Joe Hill, EG86, attributes his success to the many people who provided a helping hand at the right time. He jokes, “They may not have felt their generosity was critical in timing, but it was critical for me in my business.” He is always aware of the support he received from others throughout his career, and now he seeks to do the same for students at Tufts.

The central tenet fueling his goal of paying it forward? “Goodness gives goodness.”

Hill and his wife Alison share a similar philosophy in philanthropy. A home health aide cared for Alison’s father in his later years. A nurse practitioner herself, Alison identified the woman’s innate ability and offered to send her to nursing school, with one condition: when she could, when her life permitted, the former health aide should help another go to nursing school. “We received a call several years later,” says Joe Hill. “She did not help one person — she helped two.”

Hill wants to give back and to help undergraduate students gain more experience in the lab with hands-on work. “I believe that there is more to a student’s portfolio than just grades and grad recs,” he says. “Creative lab work is important. This where the textbook becomes real.”

Hill’s interest in this creative work was the inspiration for the Tufts Electrical and Computer Engineering Design Innovation Fund (DIF). The establishment of the Fund will support ECE Capstone projects for the next five years. Current plans for the Fund include funding Capstone materials, software, and test equipment to address general or specific projects. The Fund allows flexibility in more robust, multi-year Capstone projects pertaining to drones, radar, GPS, data science, or signal and image processing – or combinations where a deep dive into subject matter is required.

Hill hopes to see students thrive from their gift and to see support for this invaluable learning experience continued by many in the Tufts alumni community.