May 2011 Alumni Council Meeting

To the Class of 1985:

I attended the May 2011 Alumni Council meeting in Hanover and want to give you the highlights:

1. President Kim spoke, on three topics:

innovation at the College (“Every year we want Dartmouth to be responsible for a fundamental innovation in higher education,” he said, such as the Center for Health Care Delivery Science and a broad effort to address high-risk drinking.”);
student health (Pres. Kim cited new Dartmouth research showing that exercise in adolescents doubles the amount of time during which they remember data, indicating that involvement in athletics promotes learning.) also, he identified five critical areas: high-risk drinking, sexual assault, depression, tobacco use, and eating disorders and said that the College must focus on creating opportunities for healthy social interactions and keep those initiatives that work.
student life (new initiatives aimed at supporting first-year students through mentoring, and other programs that demonstrate Dartmouth’s understanding of what students need to succeed)

2. Martha Beattie ’76 was introduced as the new vice president for Alumni Relations. Martha is a former president of the Alumni Council and magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth’s first four-year class to matriculate women. Beattie has had a 30-year career as a math teacher, crew coach, and volunteer leader and board member for a range of charities and schools.

3. Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee: Tom Daniels ’82 gave an update: As of this April, Dartmouth alumni nominated two new alumni trustees to the board and elected a new Association of Alumni Executive Committee. Approximately 15.5 percent of the Dartmouth alumni body participated in the election. New trustees are Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82 and Bill Burgess ’81, who joined the board on June 12, 2011, following Commencement ceremonies. More about Nominating Committee procedures is available online.

4. Reflections on the Arts and Sciences: Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael Mastanduno:

Highlights: Dartmouth students want to be part of the process—they want to be active learners and researchers in their own right. It is Dartmouth’s responsibility, then, to create the environment to foster those aspirations. We have gone from 350 to 415 faculty during the course of a decade. Dartmouth teaches between 1,500 and 2,000 courses, in 40 departments and programs, and student demand for social science courses is high. The graduate schools have also adapted some graduate courses for undergraduates.

5. Reunions: Reimagining Reunions with Carrie Pelzel, Senior Vice President for Advancement

Reimagining Reunions: Carrie Pelzel noted that between 2,200 and 2,400 alumni—or about 23 percent of reunion-class alumni—attend reunions every year. Although other Ivy League universities tabulate results slightly differently, their reunion yields range from 14 percent to 35 percent. Staff found that the classes with the lowest reunion turnout have had consistently low turnout at every reunion. In general, alumni return in larger numbers for their fifth reunions but drop off as their professional and personal obligations expand; turnout rises again several decades later. Ideas to consider for reunions: • Saturday all-day programming;• Saturday evening spectacular event;• Creative fun;• Venues for affiliations other than classes;• Life-changing lectures or experiences; and• Address by the president. At subsequent focus groups brainstormed about potential reunion programming ideas and considered whether clustering reunion classes should continue, whether the College might subsidize more of reunions to reduce cost, and how to schedule reunion activities around shared interests.

6. Remarks by Trustee Jeff Immelt ’78, General Electric CEO:

Highlights: “There is huge, unbelievable opportunity in business in the next 25 years,” Immelt told the councilors, “but also lots of volatility, and we have to prepare our students and companies for that. The students that I hope are developing at Dartmouth are people who can deal with volatility, are technically savvy, and have the aptitude for this changing economy.”

“Good leaders are humble listeners with an analytical mind,”

“I was a math major here, and I have to say, I use that background probably more than anything I learned in business school. The constant probing and analyzing of data, and staying humble enough to ask questions. That’s something I think a good liberal arts education develops.”

“Good systems thinking” is another quality. “This world is about problem solving and people who know how to think horizontally,”

“This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Jim Kim almost at first sight. He’s a joint MD and PhD in anthropology, so he naturally thinks laterally about every problem.”

7. Update from the Board of Trustees: Peggy Tanner ’79 and Bill Helman ’80

8. Incoming Class: Maria Laskaris: Admissions director.

Number of applicants has more than doubled since 2005—from 10,000 to about 22,000. Some 2229 applicants were admitted this year, which is about 9.7 percent of the applicant pool. The Admissions Office is focusing its messaging on Dartmouth’s affordability and accessibility, and it considers applicants based on their substantive commitments, in addition to academic excellence.

Historically, the yield for accepted students is about 50 percent “and there’s an awful lot we do to make sure applicants take a hard look at Dartmouth,” she said. “Admissions uses phone calls, alumni clubs, Facebook, email…to convince them to come; this year they tried more videos, online chats, and now Spanish- and Chinese-language chats.”

Great video from a news station in Tampa.

9. Community Service Student Panel: spoke about projects they worked on.
That’s about it. Please post comments!

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