It was 8 in the morning on Saturday, and the ground-floor halls of Haldeman and Kemeny were awash in foot traffic and friendly greetings, and from classrooms came the murmur of group discussions and speaker presentations.
Students in class this early on a Saturday?
Alumni. More than 200 Dartmouth alumni class volunteers—presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, treasurers, Webmasters, newsletter editors, reunion and mini-reunion chairs, gift planners, and head agents—met in Hanover on Oct. 12 and 13 for Class Officers Weekend 2007. At an hour when many people enjoy a slow coffee and the paper or a view of the backyard birdfeeder, these alumni, who'd traveled from as far as Shanghai and represented an amazing 65 Dartmouth classes, were deep in discussion of next year's reunion registration logistics, class dues processing, volunteer recruitment, and more. The weekend also brought more relaxed entertainments, among them informal meetings with students; talks by Professor Christian Jernstedt, President James Wright '64a, and trustee Al Mulley Jr., MD, '70; and announcement of the 2007 Class of the Year Award recipients.
Participants got a preview of several brand-new Web-based resources created exclusively for the Dartmouth alumni community. A much anticipated alumni event registration tool, offered by the Office of Alumni Relations, will allow alumni to register and pay by credit card for class, club, and group events through the Vox Online Network and to see who else is planning to attend an event. The tool is a boon to alumni volunteer event organizers, and will enable them to set up online registration for an unlimited number of events, list their events in the alumni events calendar on this very site, and customize and print Excel reports for event planning. The Reunion chairs for the twelve classes holding Reunions in June 2008 will test the use of the registration tool in January, with the help of the Special Events unit. It'll then be offered to other alumni group, club, and class volunteers.
2007 Class of the Year Awards Class of the Year
Class of 1957
Class of 1982 Class President of the Year
Philip E. Beekman '53
Mary Conway '82 Class Secretary of the Year
Bud Elder '45 Class Treasurer of the Year
William Breer '57
David Plekenpol '82 Class Newsletter Editor of the Year
Clark Griffiths '57
Jeanhee Kim '90 Gift Planning Chair of the Year
Melvin George Alperin '58 Class Webmaster of the Year
Gregory Clow '81 Donald C. Smith '53 Award for Outstanding Mini-Reunion Program in 2007
Class of 1982 Special Recognition Award
Class of 1947
Class of 1966
Class of 1969
Class of 1999
Class of 2002 Recognition of Continued Dedication by Older Class
Class of 1933 Recognition of Overall Strength of Mini-Reunion Program
Class of 1989 Recognition of Improvements to Mini-Reunion Program
Class of 1999 Recognition of Special Mini-Reunion Event
Class of 1966 Honorable Mention Award
Class of 1953
Class of 1999
Class Webmasters previewed new developments for Dartmouth class, club, and group volunteers who maintain or want to to start a site for their organization. The AR Information Resources unit has put together a site-in-a-bag that includes an easy-to-use template for a home page and interior pages and a content management system, called CMS Made Simple, that makes it easy to build basic Web pages with text and photos. This is in the finishing stages, said Jan Bent '82MALS, IR director, who is the contact for the new tool.
With his spiffy redesign of the Dartmouth Class Webmasters Association Web site, Peter Elias '69 has added to the resources DCWA offers to group, club, and class site Webmasters, including a new wiki, issues forum, and gallery of campus photos—a good close-up of the Robert Frost statue made an impression—that Peter took and has made free for the downloading. And Jared Alessandroni '03 and Sam Reisner '02 have taken the Dartmouth Alumni Toolkit, already a savvy resource, to a whole new level, offering proficient alumni Webmasters what they call a "welcome basket" of code that will help them set up user authentication, spam-proofing for email traffic on their site, easy viewing of their site use statistics, and more.
Turning from the medium to the message, officers who attended a session titled "Successful Class Activities amid Alumni Dissension" debated the role that classes should take when it comes to political issues such as the expansion of the board of trustees and the alumni association lawsuit. "I think we can summarize this discussion by saying that classes are treading lightly to maintain unity, that class officers are avoiding taking sides [on political issues], and that the class structure is not the appropriate venue for this," said Victor Rich '61, '62Tu, president of the Class Secretaries Association, who co-moderated the forum with Mary Conway '82, president of the Class Officers Association. "The Alumni Council is better suited to gathering and disseminating alumni opinion."
The board's restructuring was addressed by trustee Al Mulley, MD, '70, at lunch on Saturday. Mulley, who is chief of the General Medicine Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, stood in West Gym before more than 200 other intensely dedicated alumni class leaders.
“This isn't the easiest time to be a class officer,” Mulley said, “but it's one of the most consequential times in the history of the College, and one of the most important times to be in class leadership.” He was referring to debate in the alumni community regarding the trustees' decision, announced in September, to add eight charter seats to the board. One thing alumni volunteer leaders can do is encourage mutual respect, Mulley said. In the heat of debate, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that all of her alumni have a strong desire to see Dartmouth thrive, he said. Dartmouth is peerless in the dedication of its alumni, he noted, and a look around the gym was proof of that.