May 2012 Alumni Council Meeting

On May 18-19, 2012, I attended the Dartmouth Alumni Council meeting in Hanover.

(As you may remember, the mission of the Alumni Council (and mine as your 1985 representative) is to maximize two communication from/to you as alumni to/from the College.)

Here are the Highlights:

Friday, May 18, 2012:

1. I attended the Enrollment and Admissions Committee Meeting. Maria Laskaris’84 (head of Admissions and Financial Aid) presented some preliminary numbers for the upcoming year. I made a presentation to the Committee on a pilot program to increase the yield from admitted applicants.

2. I attended a live class, taught by Bruce Sacerdote’90, on finance. The class seems to be taught almost stream of consciousness, totally discussion, with the professor as essentially the moderator, switching topics every 10 minutes or so.

3. I next attended the Honorary Degree committee meeting, discussing potential alumni nominations for honorary degrees. Please send suggestions for honorary degrees to me or directly to Diana Lawrence (

4. Then we attended a plenary meeting of the entire Council. First was a report from Pete Frederick ’65, as chair of the nominating and alumni trustee search committee. Then President Kim made his farewell remarks, commenting on what his tenure at the College has meant to him (quite a bit.) Then the Dartmouth Aires performed. Then Mike Mastanduno gave a report as Dean of the Faculty. Says his dream would be to increase the number of faculty by 20% (80 slots).

At dinner, we had a presentation from Michael Arad ’91, the designer of the 9/11 Memorial. He related the years-long process of developing the design, starting from a sketch he made soon after the attacks, to the development of the process for arranging the names of the victims on the Memorial itself.

Saturday, May 19, 2012:

1. Film on the Class of 1978 Like Sciences Building: take 15 minutes to watch this video about this (revolutionary) new Dartmouth building. See link here:

Board of Trustees presentation: Three main points:

a. Presidential search is ongoing — trying for end-2012, beginning of 2013. Send your ideas and suggestions — remember Jim Kim (who was running a department at Harvard) was not a “top-down identified” candidate (that is, identified in the traditional search manner as a “known quantity”), but was identified in “bottom up” manner, from a suggestion received by the Committee.

b. The development of the College’s Strategic Plan is ongoing.
The Board is very focused on ways to enhance the College’s academic distinction.

c. The Board wants to “move social norms” on campus (in the ways you might expect). More on this later.

3. Student Panel Presentation: Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering project: focus on Africa development (book Dead Aid) — Tenets: human-centered design; local materials; sustainable distribution; local partners. Current projects — cost and environmental impact of firewood “rocket stove”; local hydropower for electricity.; marketing and development of the Project. See link here:

3. Students of the Future Working Group (part of the Strategic Planning process): (presentation by Maria Laskaris). This year’s preliminary numbers: rate of admission 9.5%. 8 veterans. 10% international (much higher yield than before, possibly because of Pres. Kim’s world tour as World Bank president-nominee).

I will send a much more robust report in a couple of weeks.

Please take care. Please send comments and suggestions, including and especially your thoughts and ideas that you want communicated to the Administration.



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