224th Meeting of the Alumni Council

Two weeks ago, the Alumni Council convened on campus, in-person, for the first time since fall of 2019 (943 days if you’re counting!). As you may know, the council’s mission is to sustain a fully informed, representative, and engaged exchange of information and sentiment between all 85,000 alumni and the College. The theme of our meeting was Reconnecting with Campus and Each Other, and it was truly a heartwarming experience to be back in Hanover with so many of my fellow Dartmouth alumni. The campus was alive, not just with Green Key festivities but with the normalcy of students engaging with each other in the academic term. We had a robust meeting agenda filled with updates from campus leaders and opportunities to explore the physical changes taking place across campus. Councilors appreciated how candid and genuine College leaders were as they continue to steer Dartmouth through a complex world.

The Student Experience

We kicked off Thursday evening with Interim Dean of the College Scott Brown ‘84a, who shared an update on the College’s significant efforts surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Dartmouth’s partnership with the Jed Foundation reinforces a strategic campus wide approach to these critical issues for both undergraduates and students of the professional schools. Dean Brown also spoke about the expanded student resources now available, such as increased mental health services and focused outreach to BIPOC students, as well as working to shift the overall campus culture to one of positive mental health.

On Friday morning, councilors received an update on the strategic vision being achieved for Dartmouth as a result of the $3 billion+ in capital investment made possible through The Call to Lead campaign from Bob Lasher ’88, Senior Vice President for Advancement. Bob highlighted how this effort, which was started eight years ago under the leadership of President Hanlon, has mobilized more than 25,000 alumni to advance Dartmouth’s academic excellence and distinction in the field of higher of education—emphasizing priorities that include expanding Dartmouth’s success in recruiting student and faculty talent, making discoveries that improve the human condition, preparing students for a lifetime of wise leadership, as well as the extraordinary improvements in access and affordability that the campaign has made possible. To date, $3.26 billion has been raised through the campaign, and the College is just 1,200 graduates away from reaching a 60% alumni participation goal—an unprecedented signal of grassroots support in the Ivy Plus peer group. Bob introduced the investments made in new campus teaching, learning, and athletic facilities that councilors would tour for the remainder of their visit, and councilors were encouraged to invite their constituents back to campus to experience the enhancements firsthand.

Interim Director of Athletics and Recreation Peter Roby ‘79 joined us virtually for a candid conversation about athletics at Dartmouth. The disruptions due to COVID-19 have been extremely difficult to navigate, but through the collective efforts of many, students are once again competing in a safe environment. The athletic teams that were discontinued and subsequently reinstated are integrating into the College, and Peter’s focus is on welcoming the players and coaches back so that they feel valued, respected, and supported in the process. Peter also shared that athletics has gone through several internal reviews to ensure the department is in the best position to provide an equitable environment and have a roadmap in place for the next athletic director, who should be announced in the near term. Although Peter plans to reenter retirement on June 30 of this year, he is committed to ensuring a smooth transition once the new AD assumes the role.

Physical Enhancements to Campus

A highlight of the meeting was the opportunity to tour two recently completed buildings in the West End District, Dartmouth’s hub of technology and innovation: the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Societyand The Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center. The spaces are truly inspiring and highlight the interdisciplinary collaboration happening among students and professors, as well as Dartmouth’s focus on energy efficient design for new teaching and research facilities.

Board Chair Emerita and Chair of the Hopkins Center Advisory Board Laurel Richie ‘81, Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Arts and Humanities Samuel Levey, and Bob Lasher ‘88 updated us on the plans for the expansion and renovation of the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Goals for the Arts District—with The Hop as the centerpiece–are defined as Welcome, Gather, Create, emphasizing the Hop’s unique role as both an arts center and a student center, as well as a new emphasis on creative production by students and faculty. Construction will begin before the year end, and we look forward to seeing it complete in fall of 2025.

Finally, we got to explore Anonymous Hall on the north end of campus. The building honors the countless alumni and friends who have faithfully and quietly (“anonymously”) supported the College over two centuries and is the permanent home of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and the Program in Linguistics. The space is impressive, and I urge you to check out the roof deck, which has gorgeous views of the College and Upper Valley!

The Year Ahead

To conclude the meeting, President Hanlon joined us to share an update on the five primary objectives for his final year and to answer questions from councilors. Hadley Mullin ’96, a councilor and member of the Presidential Commission on Financial Aid, also shared highlights from the PCFA’s Year One Summary Report. In the Board of Trustees open forum, Caroline Kerr ’05 and Odette Harris ’91 answered many of our questions on a number of issues, including the student residential and academic experience, status of the presidential search committee, and the Trustees’ approach to revised plans for new student housing.

As part of our spring meeting, Alumni Council members also had the opportunity to vote for several new leadership positions on the council. I’d like to congratulate the following:

President-Elect 2022–2023: Alex Barnett ’07

Alumni Liaison Committee 2022–2025: Cheryl Shepard ’90

Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee 2022–2025: Kate Carolan ’05 and Luzi Robinson ’88

And finally, after a two-year hiatus, we were delighted to celebrate four Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award winners: Kate Lyon ’05, Ashley Shackelton ’05, Andrew Son ’09, and Nadine Parris ’06. We also honored three Alumni Award recipients: Catherine Briggs ’88, William Bogardus ’67, and Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ’82, at the annual Alumni Awards gala. We all walked away with our hearts full of admiration for these amazing alumni and their service to the College. They each embody volunteerism for the greater good, and they are the very definition of “bleeding green.”

I appreciate you reading through this update! Please continue to share your thoughts with Alumni Council by emailing your councilor or the Alumni Liaison Committee. I can assure you that every message is read and the feedback and themes drive our agendas for future meetings and updates to fellow alumni.

It’s been my pleasure to serve as president of the Alumni Council, and the true gift has been meeting so many amazing alumni who I wouldn’t have otherwise known. The council will be in amazing hands next year with Chitra Narasimhan ‘92 at the helm!

For Dartmouth,

Laurie Lewis Shapiro ‘95
Alumni Council President

220th Meeting of the Alumni Council

Little did I know when I become the class Alumni Council rep that my scheme to return to Dartmouth more often would be thwarted by a pandemic. Nevertheless, the first virtual meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council was a successful and informative affair. Click through to read the highlights from the meeting.

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218th Meeting of the Alumni Council

It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as your Alumni Council President over the past year, never more so than during the recent 218th meeting of the Council. During the meeting, your Council representatives engaged with each other and Dartmouth leadership, representing your views and feedback on issues important to our community. It is clear to me that I am leaving the Council in good hands.

The agenda for the 218th meeting was packed. Councilors rolled up their sleeves and dug deeply into the work of the weekend. Some highlights:

Councilors supported The Call to Serve through the 5th Annual Day of Service on May 4 and a service project held during our meeting where we wrote letters of encouragement to senior citizens and veterans. Kudos to Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98, chair of the Alumni Service Committee, for organizing both events. As you may know The Call to Serve challenges our community to contribute 250,000 hours of service in honor of Dartmouth’s 250 years and seeks to call attention to the amazing work Dartmouth alumni, faculty, students, and staff do in the world. This initiative has recently crossed the 100,000-hour mark, and we need your help to get to 250,000: If you serve on a nonprofit board, coach a youth sports team, volunteer at your place of worship, or make other contributions, please visit dartgo.org/calltoserve to log your hours. And please save the date for next year’s Alumni Day of Service on May 2, 2020. Thank you for your part in making the world a better place!

Dartmouth is developing a strategic master plan that will chart a course for the next twenty years and beyond. Councilors participated in a walking tour of some of the coming and completed construction initiatives on campus and had the opportunity to offer our input on Dartmouth’s master plan. This plan seeks to preserve what is unique about the Dartmouth campus while providing a framework for sustainable development and preservation.

We engaged with Provost Joe Helble and C3I Director Theodosia Cook in a discussion of Dartmouth’s Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I). We learned how the initiative functions in concert with Moving Dartmouth Forward and Inclusive Excellence and how it takes important steps to address sexual misconduct; foster healthy relationships; and make the campus a safer, more inclusive community for all members. Did you know that Dartmouth has joined more than 40 other colleges and universities and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to create the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education? The collaborative’s formation follows a June 2018 report by the Academies that recommended evidence-based policies and practices for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment. I am proud that Dartmouth is the only school to have committed publicly to implement all of the recommendations, including interventions such as mandatory Title IX training, climate reviews, unified sexual misconduct policies, expanded mental health resources, and an external advisory committee.

Oh, the Place We Have Gone!!! Our own international representative on the Council, Nestor Paz-Galindo ’93 and Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88 presented an informative session, bringing us all up to speed on our expanding global presence. This year we will have the chance to celebrate the 250th with international alumni in cities around the world. We’ll be bringing Dartmouth to London, Hong Kong, Lima, and Toronto, where alumni, families, and friends will have opportunities to experience interactive sessions with faculty and students, engage in lively debates and open conversations about the most pressing issues of our time—from climate change to international security—and connect with peers as we explore Dartmouth’s critical role in our global future. I was able to see our international engagement firsthand during my tenure as Council president as I made my way to Helsinki, Finland, for an event featuring multi-generations of Dartmouth alums.
As noted above, in plenaries and committee meetings, your Councilors spent much of their time sharing your views on key matters, including admission, student and campus life, and the class action sexual misconduct lawsuit brought in November by nine former students against Dartmouth. Following her Friday remarks, Board Chair Laurel Richie responded to some tough, thoughtful questions from Councilors on the suit and explained Dartmouth’s strong preference to settle the claims out of court. Several days after the meeting, the plaintiffs and Dartmouth agreed on a mediator and will soon begin to meet. Please be assured that the College and Council will keep you updated as this matter proceeds.

Finally, we did pause for a moment to celebrate important milestones, including our 250th anniversary and the $2 billion raised through The Call to Lead campaign. We also took time to acknowledge accomplishments for which we should be proud, including the thousands of hours of service our community has contributed through The Call to Serve, the competitiveness and diversity of the newly enrolled class of 2023, the progress we are making to be greener and more sustainable, and the excellence and impact of our faculty.

We are here to hear you and to share your sentiments with Dartmouth’s leadership. Be in touch anytime. If you’d like a more thorough summary of the Council meeting, please read the minutes and view photos, or reach out to your Council representatives.

As I traveled the globe as your representative, I have to tell you that indeed Dartmouth has the best alumni body in the world. Thank you for the laughs, hard conversations, thought-provoking engagement, and trust that we are a community made better when there is a place for all of us at the table. It has been a true joy to serve as your president. I welcome my successor, Alec Casey ’88, who will begin his tenure on July 1, 2019.

Yours for One Dartmouth,

Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ‘82
Alumni Council President

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.

216th Meeting of the Alumni Council

Last month I returned to Hanover for the 216th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. The program focused on the vision and priorities of The Call To Lead campaign. The plan is designed to be far-reaching and seeks to drive distinction and differentiation for Dartmouth through three overarching priorities. I encourage you to read more about what the campaign seeks to accomplish and follow the conversation on social media using #DartmouthLeads. Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88 shared with us that the campaign has already raised $1.6 billion of its $3 billion goal.

Thanks to all who shared their thoughts about the campaign prior to the Council meeting. I’ve conveyed them to College leadership and I’ll be in touch separately with those of you who made comments.

Other highlights of the meeting included:

  • We had dinner at one of the two House Centers, popularly known as “The Onion” and “The Cube” to learn about the House Communities which opened in 2016. The goal of the communities is to provide more residential continuity for undergraduates as well as additional social opportunities beyond the classroom. Apparently theses houses are more popular with the freshman and sophomores than upper classmen but that should change as the houses themselves become established. What I liked best about these houses is that they bring people from all parts of the campus together, not just students and professors. There are grad students and campus employees involved to give a bigger range of thoughts and opinions.
  • Support for students is central to The Call to Lead campaign. Dartmouth is focusing on a major expansion of financial aid by eliminating loans from financial aid packages, extending need-blind admissions to international students, and providing full financial aid for foreign study. This will particularly benefit undergraduates from middle-income families.
  • We heard that the College remains committed to bring the best and brightest talent to Hanover from Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith and a panel of faculty. The Call to Lead seeks to advance our distinctive educational model which gives Dartmouth students an incomparable experience with outstanding teacher-scholars working with them inside and outside the classroom.
  • Dartmouth plans to address a focused set of the great global challenges. We discussed several “big bets” that students and faculty are working on to improve the human condition. We heard from faculty working in the fields of computer science, cancer research and the Arctic. These discoveries help students become creative, curious, and compassionate citizens of the world.

Finally, I want to note that this year, the Alumni Council will nominate candidates for the Dartmouth Board of Trustees to replace Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82 and R. William Burgess, Jr. ’81. We invite and encourage your recommendations.

215th Meeting of the Alumni Council

In October, I had the privilege to attend the Dartmouth Alumni Council’s 215th Meeting in Hanover. The meeting’s theme was “A Sense of Place, A Sense of Purpose,” and numerous sessions with leaders from across the institution provided a view into many new developments as well as challenges the College faces. I am writing to share what I learned and to invite your feedback and questions.

  • One of the Council’s tasks is to nominate candidates for alumni-nominated seats on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees (there are two openings in 2018). After inviting suggestions from all alumni and a thorough review process over the past year, we nominated Jeff Crowe ’78 P’08, ’10, ’15 and Elizabeth (Liz) Cahill Lempres ’83, Th’84, P’11. Read about the trustee candidates and process.
  • President Hanlon recently convened an Enrollment Task Force to explore increasing the size of the undergraduate student body by 10 to 25 percent. The task force will study the pros and cons of growth and will release a report in mid-March. President Hanlon said to the Council that no decision has been made. Please share your comments with enrollment.taskforce@dartmouth.edu or with me.
  • We were among the first to visit the newly rededicated Moosilauke Ravine Lodgewhere we explored the concept of sense of place and discussed ways students (and alumni) come together as a community through our experiences of place. We’ll share our report – including feedback sent by many of you– with the Offices of Alumni Relations, Communications, and Admissions. A highlight was Professor Don Pease at Moosilauke reading Green Eggs and Ham.
  • The Dartmouth leadership team outlined a strategic vision for Dartmouth that was developed by campus leaders, faculty and trustees over the past year. The vision is based on what makes Dartmouth distinctive – the fusion of a best-in-class undergraduate college and a dynamic research university. With emphasis on liberal arts, the teacher-scholar model, the sense of place associated with our unique location, and the adventuresome spirit embodied by students and alumni, the strategic plan outlines a path that prepares Dartmouth and its graduates to play a larger role in improving the human condition globally.  President Hanlon described a series of initiatives aimed at attracting student and faculty talent, fostering a pioneering spirit, and creating a campus without boundaries to advance the plan.  A panel discussion discussed the competitive opportunity for Dartmouth, early signs of success, and why it is important to act now. We learned about communications and fundraising plans to mobilize the community around the vision and plan in 2018. The Council shared ideas with leadership for how alumni can become engaged, and we’ll share more as things progress. Among the presenters and panelists were President Hanlon, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences Elizabeth Smith, Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88, Vice President for Communications Justin Anderson; and alumni leaders from the campaign planning committee including Trustee and Campaign Co-Chair Ellie Loughlin ’89, Aly Jeddy ’93, Scott Stuart ’81, and Anne Kubik ’87.
  • The Council feted this year’s Alumni Awards recipients for their contributions to Dartmouth. Sherri C. Oberg ’82, Tu’86 and Arthur M. Kelton ’61 were awarded the Alumni Award, and Kevin C. Hudak ’07 and Heiyab F. Tessema ’04, Th’05, Th’06 received the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Read more.
  • The Alumni Liaison Committee has recently released its annual report to the Board of Trustees for 2016-2017. The report, which you can download here, details feedback received by the Council over the last year.

During the meeting, we also discussed progress made on Moving Dartmouth Forward and learned the College’s position on DACA. We were also informed of the investigation of three professors for alleged sexual misconduct. And President Hanlon assured us that although the College is considering the future of the Hanover Country Club, it will continue to fully support its golf program and has no plans to sell the land where the golf course currently sits.

I’m happy to hear your feedback and answer any questions you may have. If you’d like more details, the full meeting minutes are available here and you can view photos – including of the new Moosilauke Ravine Lodge here. I also hope you’ll save the date for the annual Alumni Day of Service on May 5, 2018.



214th Meeting of the Alumni Council

From our Class Alumni Councilor, Laura Yecies:

Dear Fellow ‘85’s

I’m writing to share with you the highlights of the most recent Alumni Council meeting. Apologies for the delay – I was happily distracted with a new grandchild (hopefully class of ’39).

It was a content “full” meeting where more than 100 Alumni Councilors representing classes, affiliated groups, clubs, and associations returned to Hanover to work in committees and meet with College leadership, faculty, and students. It was a busy three days of informative sessions and lively discussion highlighted by beautiful weather and Green Key weekend commencing around us. I believe that discussion during and actions occurring after the meeting shows the importance of alumni feedback. The information below serves as a summary of the meeting. I would also invite you to view photos, browse a round-up of the conversation on social media during the weekend, and review the full meeting minutes. As always, I welcome any questions or feedback you may have.


Summary from the 214th Meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council
May 18-20, 2017
by C. Alec Casey ‘88


Learning by Doing

Councilors participated in discussions with students and faculty engaged in three projects that demonstrate Dartmouth’s intellectual community and the tremendous power of experiential learning opportunities at home and abroad.

  • Terren Klein ’17 and a team of students developed the College Pulse app, an incentive-based opinion polling tool that provides real-time data to students about their College and community. This app has gone on to be funded!
  • A team of students traveled to Washington, DC, in November 2016 to deliberate the pros and cons of interest-rate hikes with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen through the College Fed Challenge.
  • And in January, undergrads in Anthropology 70 made a major fossil discovery while excavating at a UNESCO World Heritage site at Malapa, South Africa.

We also heard several other presentations that were academic in nature:

  • Director of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning Lisa Baldez spoke of the evolution of teaching and learning, reaffirming Dartmouth’s commitment to the teacher-scholar model. Equipping faculty members to be excellent teachers is a longstanding tradition at Dartmouth and remains at the core of the academic vision for the College. Baldez talked about how the Center for the Advancement of Learning serves as a resource to make professors better classroom teachers – especially in an era in which technology has upended the traditional format of lecture and Q&A.
  • Professors Edward Miller and Jennifer Miller shared the Dartmouth Vietnam Project, a collaborative effort between students and faculty to collect oral histories from members of the Dartmouth community who served in Vietnam. Don’t miss this video about their work.
  • Dean Joseph Helble moderated a panel of faculty on how the combination of engineering and the liberal arts has resulted in national leadership for the Thayer School of Engineering, which turns 150this year. Thayer is the only engineering school to require an AB before a BE and has been recognized for its focus on entrepreneurship. In 2016, Thayer made history by being the first engineering class from a national research university to achieve gender parity.
  • The academic affairs committee of the Council presented the inaugural Professor John Rassias Faculty Award for exceptional educational outreach to alumni to Steve Swayne, the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music; and Don Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, who is also Chair of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program and professor of English and comparative literature. Professor Rassias’s daughter, Helene Rassias-Miles A&S ’08, was there to congratulate the winners.

Strategy and Vision

President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 shared his vision for Dartmouth as a distinctive experience defined by world-class faculty and students, intellectual rigor and interdisciplinary curricula, unique spirit, and magnificent setting. Among the highlights of his presentation to us were these:

  • President Hanlon made it clear that Dartmouth is “hot”: The Class of 2021 will be among the most selective and accomplished class in Dartmouth’s history, faculty are being recognized for their scholarship, and rankings are on the rise.
  • President Hanlon took questions from Councilors pertaining to tolerance of divergent opinions and freedom of expression, House Communities, fundraising plans, and recruitment and retention of faculty of color.
  • He also referenced the appointment of N. Bruce Duthu ’80 as dean of the faculty – an appointment that drew strong support from some (including those who noted that Professor Duthu would have been the first Native American to serve as dean of the faculty) and criticism from others (while serving on the council of Native American academic association, Professor Duthu had signed a statement in 2013 in support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.) During the Council meeting, President Hanlon expressed his support for Professor Duthu, while reaffirming that Dartmouth will not support academic boycotts of any kind and remains committed to freedom of expression as a fundamental value of our community. Since the closing of the Council meeting, Professor Duthu announced he had decided to decline the appointment. In an email to colleagues, he explained that controversy had become a distraction with the potential to damage Dartmouth and undermine his ability to serve effectively as dean. The president and provost will consult with faculty members to determine next steps.

These were among the discussions we had with other members of the Dartmouth leadership team:

  • Chair-elect of the Board of Trustees Laurel Richie ’81 spoke with Councilors about her pride in Dartmouth and excitement to lead the Board of Trustees. As Board chair, Richie hopes to increase visibility and differentiation for Dartmouth by highlighting its special character.
  • Vice-President of Communications Justin Anderson walked the Council through a new branding strategy that builds on Dartmouth’s unique location, academic focus, experiential learning opportunities, and spirit that makes the College “Distinctly Dartmouth.”
  • Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, spoke about the Class of 2021 — which had the highest yield in Dartmouth’s history at 61 percent – and his strategy for increasing applications to Dartmouth from the very best students. Alumni interviewers participating in the Admissions Ambassador Program were a key component of this success.
  • Vice President for Development Andrew Davidson P’12 and Advancement COO Ann Root Keith gave Councilors a look into the planning phases of the upcoming Dartmouth capital campaign. I’ll report back on the priorities and goal when they become public, but am pleased to say that things are going well.

Recognizing Leadership

It has been said that Dartmouth is a launch pad for success, and that is clearly the case for the Honorable Eric Fanning ’90, 22nd United States Secretary of the Army who spoke over dinner at the Hanover Inn. As the “CEO” of the U.S. Army, he was responsible for its $147 billion budget and its 1.4 million people. He is the first person to have held senior presidential appointments in the Army, Navy and Air Force. It was inspiring to hear his devotion to the men and women who defend our country and eye-opening to understand what a difficult job managing such huge organizations can be. His remarks focused on leadership and the role his liberal arts education at Dartmouth played in his career trajectory. 

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.

212th Meeting of the Alumni Council

Report from the 212th Meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council

May 12-14, 2016

Dear fellow ’85 Alumni,

I just returned from my second semi-annual meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. More than 120 members of the Dartmouth Alumni Council including more than our fair share of ’85’s were in Hanover in mid-May for two days of meetings centered, in large part, on the theme of “Global Dartmouth.” The Council was also brought up-to-date on a range of issues closer to home, including developments in housing and admissions.

At dinner on Friday May 13, we heard from Jake Tapper ’91, a CNN anchor who has reported on arguably the biggest news story of the year: the American Presidential race, an assignment that has provided him a ringside seat for the Clinton and Trump campaigns, among others.

The following morning, we were treated to a moving tribute by Helene Rassias-Miles A’08 to her father, John Rassias ’49a, ’76a, the legendary William R. Kenan Professor of French and Italian Emeritus, who died in December at age 90. At the end of her presentation, the Council’s Academic Affairs Committee, announced the establishment of the “Professor John Rassias Faculty Recognition Award.” This will be presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated strong engagement with Dartmouth alumni in support of lifelong learning. Read the latest on the Rassias Center at Dartmouth.

Watch a brief video with highlights of what we saw and heard during our Council meetings – including remarks from Jake Tapper and President Philip J. Hanlon ’77.

A Question for You

Before I turn to a bullet-point synopsis of some of what we learned on campus in May, the Council would like to pose a question to all alumni:

To what extent did you participate in a Dartmouth academic off-campus program, and how did the lessons you learned on that journey shape who you are – and how you see the world – today?

Please send responses directly me at lyecies@gmail.com. I will share them with the Alumni Liaison Committee, which synthesizes alumni views and sentiment on behalf of the President and Trustees, as well as the alumni body as a whole.

And Now, Some News You Can (Hopefully) Use
“Global Dartmouth”
In a panel discussion with the ominous title, “What Keeps You Awake at Night?” the Council heard three Dartmouth international relations faculty members each speak to a particular threat to international security. Jeffrey Friedman, assistant professor of government, discussed the challenges of making policy (especially as it relates to combating terrorism), at moments of high anxiety. Jennifer Lind, an associate professor of government, said she considered speaking to the Council about the threats posed by climate change, infectious disease, and nuclear non-proliferation before settling on what she described as a far greater hazard: the current, unstable relationship between the United States and China. And Daniel Benjamin ‘57a, Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding, focused on the world refugee crisis– with about 250 million people, he said, currently living outside their home countries, many in the most dire conditions imaginable. He noted that this relates strongly to the current issues within the European Union. Michael Mastanduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, moderated the panel.
Among the many, impressive new study-abroad opportunities we learned about were these: “Biology 71: Ocular Cell Biology and Disease in the United States and India,” an undergraduate course offered this fall through the department of biological sciences, which will be paired with a visit to the Aravind Eye Clinic in Madurai, India, one of the largest such hospitals in the world. Meanwhile, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, in partnership with the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program, is offering an interdisciplinary Foreign Study Program in Hyderabad, India, during the winter term. Among its offerings will be service-learning opportunities with Averil Spencer ’10, who started a camp in India to teach girls English, leadership skills, and information related to health and safety.

News from Closer to Home (or Closer to Hanover, at least)
Dartmouth student housing will get a reboot in the fall, as students join six residential house communities led by a house professor. With names like South House and North Park House, the communities will provide lifelong affiliation for the students, according to Dean of the College Rebecca Biron.
The Class of 2020, which will matriculate this fall, is impressive by any number of measurements, not least that its members were selected from 20,675 applicants (at an admission rate of 10.5 percent). It includes students from 40 countries, representing 9 percent of the class, and a record percentage of students of color (40.4 percent), according to Paul Sunde, director of admission and interim dean of admission and financial aid. Dartmouth alumni played more of a role in the selection of this class than any other in history, with 5,400 active alumni conducting admissions interviews – a 51 percent increase. Learn more about how to become an admissions interviewer.
As commissioned by President Hanlon, three working groups– one each focused on faculty, students, and staff –spent time studying the latest data on diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth, as well as defining goals to measure progress. On May 27, the Inclusive Excellence Executive Committee composed of President Hanlon, Provost Carolyn Dever, Executive Vice President Rick Mills, and Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Equity Evelyn Ellis, released the Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence.
The Thayer School of Engineering is about to undergo a major expansion – with a goal of increasing its student body by 50 percent. In what will constitute a major change on the western side of campus, at the end of Tuck Drive, the Computer Science department will be relocated adjacent to Thayer, the better to promote synergy. Just after we left campus, Dartmouth announced a $25 million gift to Thayer.

News from the Alumni Body
Catherine Craighead Briggs ’88 is the new chair of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee, succeeding Bruce D. Miller ’74.
The Alumni Council’s Alumni Awards’ Committees have announced the 2016-2017 recipients of the Alumni Awards. The Dartmouth Alumni Award will be presented to Philp C. Kron ’60 ’61Tu, Charles E. Haldeman Jr. ’70, and Margaret N. Sommerfeld ’90. The Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award will be presented Maia Josebachvili ’05 and Shounak Simlai ’05 ’07Th. They will receive their awards at the Alumni Council dinner in Hanover on Friday, October 21, 2016.
Dartmouth is continuously enhancing its online resources for alumni – including its directory. We encourage all alumni to go online and update their contact information.
The second annual Dartmouth Alumni Day of Service took place on May 7. Alumni, family, and friends participated in 36 community service projects throughout the country. Next year’s Alumni Day of Service will be held on May Saturday, May 6, 2017.
During our meetings, the councilors voted to elect two new members of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee – Adrienne (Tee) Lotson ’82 and Alyse Streicher ’95. Alexandra Roberts ’02 was elected by the Council membership to the Alumni Liaison Committee, and Emily Abernathy-Jones ’95 was appointed to the Alumni Liaison Committee from the Association of Alumni body. Russell Wolff ’89 ’94Tu, who was elected President-elect of the Council in May 2015, begins a one-year term as President on July 1, succeeding Jennifer Avellino ’89, who begins a one-year term on July 1 as Chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee.

Read the full minutes and view photos of the 212th Meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council.

Laura Yecies ‘85