Impromptu Report from Dartmouth Alumni Council (December 2010)

by Joe Riley

The December 2010 Alumni Council just wrapped up. I will forward to all of you a much more detailed report within a couple of weeks, but I wanted to get out to you as soon as possible, in no particular order, some impressions from this Meeting.
1. President Jim Kim gave another stemwinder of a speech. Among other things, he is pledging that Dartmouth will make one nationally significant innovation in the field of education every year. Toward that goal, Dartmouth is launching the first-ever anywhere degree program (and a new Institute) in the Science of Health Care Delivery, with the first cohort of students beginning in August 2011. The goals will be decreasing costs while increasing quality of health care delivery, combining the talents of the Medical School, the Hospital and Tuck in a way not conceived before — Dartmouth has created a new field of study, a new concept. Already, since the word got out from Dartmouth, three other colleges/universities have announced copycat programs. But Dartmouth was the first and is the clear leader.
2. Dartmouth will launch and lead a national program on how to protect young people from binge drinking. This is NOT the same old thing. Dartmouth has conceived of a new national program to measure the outcomes of various alcohol abuse / binge drinking programs around the country and the world, and to determine which programs actually work and which do not. Apparently, there is an appalling dearth of rigorous data on this. Dartmouth will lead, with the Mayo Clinic and the National Center for Disease Control assisting. President Kim personally asked the presidents of the top 27 US colleges and universities to commit to act as laboratories to implement new, yet-to-be-developed, anti-binge drinking programs and to submit to being measured as to the effectiveness of the outcomes. All 27 said yes. Dartmouth will be leading on this as well.
3. The Alumni Council has proposed two amazing candidates for the two open seats as Trustees. You may have already received emails on this. Very briefly (and I will send much, much more information later), Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82, whom you may remember was the standout star of the women’s basketball team as a senior when we were freshmen, is now one of the top health care executives in the US. Bill Burgess ’81 has been in the technology industry on the finance side and is the chair of the New England Aquarium. Gail and Bill each have a long list of achievements to which this note in its brevity does not give proper justice, so please stay tuned for much more information.
I met each of them yesterday and both are outspoken, committed to improving our society, to Dartmouth, and to keeping the undergraduates safe, and are excited about standing for election as alumni-nominated trustees.
4. Keeping Students Safe: Sylvia Spears (Acting Dean of the College) spoke to us at length about the what the College is doing today to keep the undergraduates safe, particularly from alcohol’s effect. More on that later as well.
5. Trivia Question: if (living) alumni were ranked by age, which class would have the median alum? Reply with your answers . . . I will announce the winner in the next email.
6. Harry Sheehy, the new athletic director, spoke about his plans for athletics. He is focused on winning, through Enthusiam, Excellence and Perserverance.
7. Carol Folt (who started her tenure track in 1985), the College Provost, spoke about strategic planning. The College is beginning a 2-year process to develop its next strategic plan. The College’s 250th anniversary is upcoming in 2019.
8. The new CFO Steve Kadish told us that the budget is much better than before. They did a deep dive. Some discoveries: the College ordered 204 different types of post-it notes and 703 different types of pens. Annual withdrawal from the endowment will drop from 7% to 5.4% to 5% (closer to the historical rate). Large savings in annual operating expenses. Overall expenses are budgeted to growth at 4% (down from an original 8% rate of growth).
9. A webcast for alumni interviewers will be held on January 11, 2011. More details later.
Housekeeping: the Alumni Liaison Committee in order to be as close to the pulse of the alumni as possible has asked to be forwarded any emails I get from you, so that they can answer any questions that I cannot and to assess and appreciate which issues and concerns are topmost in your minds. I will reply to you, and they may reply directly to you as well.
Remember that I represent you, so please send me your comments, thoughts, complaints, ideas, etc. Please note for future reference my updated email address above
I will send a more complete report in a couple of weeks or so, after I receive a number of committee reports that are due to be sent.
I hope all is well!
Joe Riley

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