A History of Excellence

Students at graduation


When The Fletcher School opened its doors to the 21 members of the inaugural class in the fall of 1933, it became the first graduate-only school of international affairs in the United States. Nearly a century later, it remains a globally respected trailblazer.

A gift — and a vision

The School was born when Dr. Austin Barclay Fletcher, a member of Tufts' Class of 1876, donated $1 million towards establishing a school of law and diplomacy at what was then Tufts College.

A corporate lawyer in New York City for most of his career, Dr. Fletcher was a dedicated alumnus of both Tufts College and Boston University Law School, serving as a trustee of both, and as president of the Tufts board from 1913 until his death in 1923.

Dr. Fletcher's support is indicative of his lifelong devotion to Tufts, and his deep desire to create a new kind of school – one built "to prepare men for the diplomatic service, and to teach such matters as come within the scope of foreign relations, [which] embraces…a thorough knowledge of the principles of international law upon which diplomacy is founded."

Fletcher's vision was realized nearly a decade after his death, in 1933, when Fletcher welcomed its inaugural class. Distinguished by its valuable library, renowned faculty, and aspiration to serve both the United States and nations around the world, the School immediately became an innovator — a reputation it maintains to this day.

An unyielding commitment

More than 85 years later, Fletcher remains true to its founding mission: to offer a broad professional education in international relations for students committed to maintaining the stability and prosperity of a complex, challenging, and increasingly global society. This consistent, unwavering focus is due in no small part to the continued support of Fletcher’s alumni, students, faculty, and friends. We continue to deliver on our mission because they continue to champion the school’s internationalist approach and cooperative, multidisciplinary ideals.

Fletcher enrolls an average of 550 students each year, from the United States and more than 40 countries around the world. Fletcher alumni live and work in more than 130 countries, and are engaged in careers within national governments, international organizations, business, banking, journalism, education, international research, and countless other private and public pursuits.