217th Meeting of the Alumni Council

  • Earlier this month, the Dartmouth Alumni Council convened for a very productive 217th meeting in Hanover. As president of the Council, having an informed alumni body is paramount to my mission. Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to bring to the Dartmouth alumni family a summary of important discussions and takeaways.

    A Celebration for the Ages

    In 2019, Dartmouth will celebrate its 250th anniversary, which marks a unique opportunity to honor our past and look to the future. The year will feature opportunities to come together to celebrate what makes Dartmouth unique, feel proud of our amazing community, and be inspired to be part of Dartmouth’s future. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the 250th video. Different communities will be celebrating in their own ways, and there will be celebrations, educational opportunities, arts exhibitions, and service opportunities. There’s something in the plans for everyone, and I encourage you to consider how you would like to join in on the celebration.

    It All Matters

    The Council has enjoyed a front-row seat over recent years, representing alumni and advising in the strategic vision that is being realized by The Call to Lead: A Campaign For Dartmouth. I hope that you have had a chance to understand the dual power of this plan: it both doubles down on the distinctive qualities of Dartmouth that we adore and outlines an ambitious legacy for the next generation of Dartmouth students. At the meeting this month, we learned from Councilors serving as our regional campaign volunteers that the community’s response has been strong since the campaign was announced in April. More than $1.8 billion has been raised for people, programs and buildings. I was particularly struck by what a collective effort this has been and how much participation matters. Did you know that more than 20,000 of those gifts are in amounts of $1- $250? The Call to Lead vision embraces three goals: to advance Dartmouth’s distinctive educational model and be the preeminent U.S. undergraduate college; to make discoveries that improve the human condition; and to prepare students for lives of wise leadership. As Council president, my belief is that this is a legacy we can all help to create. For the 52,000 of you that have paid it forward on behalf of the campaign, your support is inspiring to the Alumni Council – we thank you! To learn more about the vision for Dartmouth and meet current students, faculty, and campus leaders, I encourage you to attend one of the upcoming The Call to Lead celebrations coming soon to a city near you. And I offer you this invitation: as we seek to champion the campaign as inclusive and inviting to ALL Dartmouth alumni – enlist a friend or two, attend one of the celebrations, learn more about our bold vision for Dartmouth’s future, then email me or your Alumni Councilor and tell us what you found inspiring. We’d love to hear from you.

    And who knows, you may even see me on the road!

    Recognizing Dartmouth Leaders

    The Council accomplished two important items of business during our meeting. We nominated two outstanding candidates for the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. They are Hilary C. Tompkins ’90 and Daniel L. Black ’82 P’21. You can read more about the candidates and the nomination process. And we honored five alumni for their extraordinary service to Dartmouth. Harris B. McKee ’61 Th’63, Edward S. Heald ’68, and Lynne Hamel Gaudet ’81 received the Dartmouth Alumni Award, and Melanie Pastuck ’11 and John E. Valdez ’07 received the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Give a rouse!

    Addressing Sexual Misconduct

    For many of you, there are questions regarding the lawsuit filed by seven former and current students who allege that Dartmouth did not adequately respond to their complaints of sexual misconduct in cases involving three former faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. The lawsuit was announced the day we arrived in Hanover, and we had the opportunity to discuss it as a Council with senior leadership of the College.

    I was reassured to hear that the College applauds the courage displayed by the seven women for coming forward over a year ago. As a result of their bravery, an investigation was launched that led to the departure of each of the three faculty members in the summer of 2018. I was equally pleased to learn that Dartmouth has been and remains open to a fair resolution of the women’s claims through mediation. Please feel free to send your comments and questions about the lawsuit, which we will in turn share with the President and Board of Trustees.

    We also learned of the ongoing effort by the College to increase safety on campus for all. Title IX Coordinator Kristin Clemens shared how her office promotes sexual respect, safety, and well-being and provides resources to the campus community. In addition, the Presidential Steering Committee, launched in January 2018, recently presented a report to President Hanlon resulting in the development of a draft unified policy on sexual misconduct. The deans of Arts & Science and the four graduate and professional schools are in the process of soliciting feedback on the policy before final implementation.

    As president, I assure you that the Alumni Council shares with Dartmouth’s leadership the goal of maintaining a safe and inclusive campus for all members of our community.

    Basecamp to the World

    Finally, the meeting explored the many ways that Dartmouth serves as a hub of intellectual and personal growth as well as a launchpad for worldwide study. I was personally inspired to hear two examples of how global perspective and experiential learning feature prominently in the Dartmouth experience. We explored the King Scholars program, which seeks low-income students from developing nations interested in alleviating poverty in their home countries, as well as the impact of international internships offered through the John Sloan Dickey Center. Dartmouth encourages its students to explore beyond the boundaries of our campus, our states, and our nation. I encourage each of us to do the same.

    Thank you for reading. If you’d like more information about the Council, I encourage you to visit our website. You can always reach me with your thoughts and sentiments. Please continue to stay involved and thank you for all you do for Dartmouth. We are ONE DARTMOUTH, and we are greater together.

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