When Harold “Rip” Ripley arrived at Dartmouth as a freshman in 1925, Theodor Seuss Geisel had just graduated, John Sloan Dickey was a classmate, and Ernest Martin Hopkins was president of the College. When Rip died on September 24 at the age of 104, he followed them into Dartmouth history.
Rip was a generous advisor to College presidents and administrators, a Dartmouth encyclopedia, and a dapper presence in his trademark bowtie at alumni events throughout the decades. Even if they hadn't met Rip, many alumni were entertained by his regular poems in the class notes section of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine—he called them “four-ounce jingles”—for more than 30 years.
His dedication to his alma mater seemed unstoppable. Rip served as an alumni councilor and as class newsletter editor, head agent, gift planning chair, reunion volunteer, and secretary. In 1986 the Alumni Council honored his service with the Dartmouth Alumni Award. Remarkably, he donated to the College annually for 82 years. The Harold C. Ripley ’29 Society was established in 2009 to recognize other alumni who have given to Dartmouth every year since graduation through the Dartmouth College Fund.
“I asked myself which organization I could give to for the rest of my life that would still be here 100 years from now,” he once said. “What do you know that’s more dependable, that’s going to last, and can continue to go on, than our own Dartmouth College? And I was right. And I endured for 100 years, too.”
A memorial service will be held for Rip on Saturday, October 29, at 2 pm at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College.