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 email@example.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
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