213th Meeting of the Alumni Council

Dear Fellow ’85’s,

Last month, 125 Alumni Councilors — representing classes spanning more than a half century, as well as affiliated group and geographic areas — met at Dartmouth for our semi-annual Alumni Council meeting.

Our busy weekend was focused on the theme of Dartmouth for All: Fostering an Inclusive Community, which drove many of our panels and discussions. The bullet points below summarize the weekend, organized loosely by topic. If you’re interested in more information, you’ll find links throughout the text and can view the full meeting minutes here. In addition, we invite you to view a round-up of the social conversation during the 213th meeting via Storify.

As always, I welcome your questions or feedback – feel free to email me at lyecies@gmail.com



Cheers to Our Outstanding Leaders!


We fêted this year’s recipients of Alumni Awards at dinner on Friday night and enjoyed video tributes to each candidate. For their contributions to Dartmouth, we honored:

Dartmouth Alumni Awards: Philip C. Kron ’60, Tu’61, Charles E. Haldeman Jr. ’70 and Margaret (Meg) N. Sommerfeld ’90

Young Alumni Distinguished Service Awards: Maia Josebachvili ’05 and Shounak Simlai ’05, Th’07

Diversity and Inclusion

The meeting featured panels and discussions to broaden our understanding of diversity and inclusivity at Dartmouth, as well as the challenges the College faces in this area and the efforts it is making to improve. Alumni Council President Russell Wolff ’89, Tu’94 helped give perspective to the topic with his opening statement: “Diversity is who is on the team, inclusion is who gets to play and how the team makes them feel.”

Specific topics included:

  • House Communities Discussion and Tour:  Effective this fall, Dartmouth has reorganized its dormitories into House Communities, with which students will be affiliated not only during their four years at Dartmouth but for life. We heard from two of the house professors and participated in a tour of the house community social spaces. Inge-Lise Ameer, vice provost for student affairs, summed up the intent of the House Communities well when she said “More than a random place to sleep and do laundry, Dartmouth’s new housing communities provide students a home base, sense of place, and a feeling of continuity.” The houses, while they differ in set-up, each provide a central location for study, socializing, and late night munching (they have food counters). The new residential life model is a key component of the Moving Dartmouth Forward Initiative and is designed to transform the undergraduate living experience, bringing continuity to the on-campus living experience and creating deliberate opportunities for faculty-student interaction beyond the classroom. Students are assigned to one of six faculty-led houses. Read about the opening celebrations and see a welcome message from house professors to join in the excitement.
  • First Generation Programs at Dartmouth: After an introduction by Jay Davis ’90, director of the First Year Student Enrichment Program, we listened to and asked questions of a  student who is the first in her family to attend college, and learned what Dartmouth’s support and mentoring programs have meant to her. She shared that for her, “meeting my first year mentor was like looking in a mirror at my future self.” The emphasis of this pre-orientation program is on building community, norming struggle, and embracing belonging for those who are first in their family to go to college. Inge-Lise Ameer, vice provost of student affairs, also provided an update on the many ways Dartmouth is committed to supporting students from all backgrounds.
  • Diversity of Political Thought in America and at Dartmouth: Three faculty members representing a range of perspectives participated in this lunch panel, moderated by Jennifer Avellino ’89. Andrew Samwick, Leslie Butler, and Sonu Bedi spoke with councilors about diversity of political thought in America and at Dartmouth, focusing on the new dynamics in America and the ways in which Dartmouth faculty encourage and support a multitude of perspectives in the classroom. It was lively, thought-provoking, and generated much discussion.
  • Communities for All: Conversation with Alumni Leaders: Alumni Councilors representing Dartmouth’s alumni communities participated in a panel discussion about how and why they provide a supportive smaller community to their members within the context of the larger Dartmouth family. Panelists included representatives of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association (BADA), the Dartmouth Asian Pacific American Alumni Association (DAPAAA), the Dartmouth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Alumni/ae Association (DGALA), and Women of Dartmouth. Discussion centered around the communities’ efforts to build inclusion and collaboration across classes, clubs, and the alumni community through events and mentoring.
  • Competing Beyond Our Differences: A Conversation with Student Athletes: Four student athletes participated in this panel discussion, which focused on competing beyond differences and how diversity is an asset on teams. The students described the powerful bonds built through teams, while providing a view into the schedules and unique challenges faced by student athletes competing for a strong academic institution at the NCAA Division 1 level.

College Updates


At each Alumni Council meeting, College leadership, including President Hanlon, presents us with updates on the College. This session’s updates included:

President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and Michael Mastanduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government spoke about the competitive academic environment, the niche Dartmouth occupies with a research faculty also dedicated to teaching, and the increasing value of a strong liberal arts education. President Hanlon also discussed the new house communities and their role in strengthening the student academic and social experience, experiential learning initiatives, the Inclusive Excellence initiative, and the creation of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.

We met new Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lee Coffin, who joined the Dartmouth team this summer after a 13-year career at Tufts. Coffin commented that he has dedicated his career to shaping a multifaceted undergraduate community from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives and is thrilled to continue to do so at Dartmouth.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Helman ’80 and Trustee S. Caroline Kerr ’05 addressed the Council on Saturday morning. Discussion topics included divestment from fossil fuels, how the College is addressing diversity in the tenure process, and the Inclusive Excellence Initiativeamong other College updates.

Catherine Craighead Briggs ’88, Chair of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee updated the Council on DCF initiatives, the critical role it plays in providing financial aid to students, and the importance of collaboration between fundraising and engagement volunteers. A bit of history: the DCF was formed by the Alumni Council in 1904 when Dartmouth Hall burned down.

Events and Other Items of Note


The 3rd Annual Alumni Day of Service will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Mark your calendars and get your alumni friends together to participate in a service event in the name of Dartmouth. We are seeking coordinators to organize service projects. If you’re interested, please send us a note.

The Dartmouth Center for Service is looking for alumni who are either working in a social impact career (nonprofit organization, education, government agency, social impact research, b corporation, social responsibility arm of a corporation, etc.) or serving on the board of directors of a nonprofit organization. If this pertains to you, or an alumnus/ae you know, please submit information via this form.  If you have questions, please contact us.

Dartmouth Sports Teams may be appearing near you soon! Check the away schedules easily online, and log on to your favorite sports team’s page to download their specific schedule.

Recommended Posts