204th Session Committee Summaries

The 204th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search and Alumni Liaison committees.

Later in the afternoon, councilors attended one of four campus tours: the Rauner Special Collections Library, underground steam tunnels, the Class of 1953 Commons, and the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. Immediately following, there were student-councilor dinner group discussions on the following topics: student sustainability initiatives, the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership student support programs.

The morning began with meetings of the Academic Affairs, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs committees. 

Councilors then attended classes around campus for the “Back to the Classroom”experience, followed by luncheon meetings for the Young Alumni and Honorary Degrees committees.

The afternoon plenary session, held in Cook Auditorium, opened with welcome remarks from council President Danielle Dyer ’81, ’89Tu, where she highlighted recent accomplishments of the Alumni Council, including increased interaction with the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees and a dramatic improvement in two-way communication between councilors and their constituents.

Councilors then received an update on the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee from its chair, Pete Frederick ’65. In his presentation, Pete reviewed the committee’s working agenda and timeline. Pete also presented the incoming councilors selected by constituencies, who will join the Alumni Council on July 1, 2012, to represent classes, regions, affiliated groups, associations, and faculty. As required by the council constitution, Pete asked Alumni Council members to approve the selection of the two at-large representatives, the graduate and professional school representatives, the undergraduate representatives, the district enrollment representative, and the Alumni Liaison Committee appointment. The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously. He then presented the slate of candidates for the Alumni Liaison Committee, Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, and president-elect positions. Councilors were given ballots to return by 11 am Saturday.

During the next presentation, “A Conversation with President Jim Yong Kim ’82a,” councilors had a chance to hear from President Kim for the last time as president of Dartmouth College. In his talk, President Kim discussed the unexpected opportunity to be the next president of the World Bank, and what an honor and opportunity it is to pursue his life’s goals. He said the reason he accepted the position with the World Bank is the same reason why he came to Dartmouth: to tackle the world's troubles.

President Kim also addressed the topic of student wellness. He emphasized that the health and safety of students is of paramount importance to him both as president and as a public health physician. Recent efforts include the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP), a collaborative of 32 colleges and universities focused on the challenge of binge drinking on campuses; Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS), which is showing a reduction in binge-drinking rates and will be implemented with student-athletes during sophomore summer; additional support staff on sexual assault prevention; a safe ride program; additional support for peer programs; and a bystander intervention program to encourage students to intervene when they see harmful sexual behavior occurring.

President Kim also addressed the health issue of hazing, and reinforced his opposition to the practice. Dartmouth investigates all cases of potential hazing that are brought to its attention, and organizations and individuals are sanctioned as appropriate for this behavior. To further address this issue, the College hired a director of Greek letter organizations; added an additional position to the office to oversee education and training of Greek members; created the Committee on Student Safety and Accountability; and hosted a day-long summit meeting of Greek leadership with Dean Charlotte Johnson and staff, where attendees developed practices for new members for the fall of 2012.

President Kim also touched upon the strategic planning process and the working groups that are creating an aspirational document for Dartmouth’s future. The working groups continue to gather community input, consist of faculty and staff from nearly every department on campus, and have brought in top experts and innovators through numerous conversations and meetings. Kim mentioned that the working groups are developing a plan with Alumni Relations on how to best engage and involve alumni in strategic planning throughout the summer and fall of 2012. He assured the Alumni Council that not only will strategic planning continue into the next year with Carol Folt’s interim presidency, but it will take on even greater importance in this time of transition and new leadership. Finally, he said that the inflection point Dartmouth faces today builds from major global changes it needs to address to remain a leader and attract the brightest in coming generations. This can be accomplished through the effective combination of pedagogy, scholarship, and engagement.

Following the president’s address, councilors were entertained by the Dartmouth Aires.

Next on the agenda was Michael Mastunduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, who provided remarks focusing on Dartmouth faculty. In his talk, Dean Mastunduno mentioned that there is an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and that there are approximately 25 to 30 new faculty hires each year. When it comes to faculty recruitment, the challenge is to hire those who are excellent at both teaching and research and who complement Dartmouth’s unique “scholar-teacher model.” With respect to faculty retention, the main challenge is the ease of mobility of today’s top faculty, and the high demand for talented faculty, especially faculty of color, by many other colleges and universities. The ideal situation is to have faculty that choose to be at Dartmouth, even though they are strongly recruited elsewhere. Dean Mastanduno would like to see an increase of the faculty by an additional 20 percent, or approximately 80 faculty members.

Following the plenary session, councilors were invited to attend the naming of the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine ceremony and celebration at the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center.

Following a reception at the Top of the Hop, the evening dinner program in Alumni Hall commenced with comments by Danielle Dyer and the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award presentation to Amy Henry ’97. Following dinner, John Mathias ’69 was presented the Alumni Award. To conclude the evening, councilors heard remarks by special guest speaker Michael Arad ’91, designer of the World Trade Center Memorial. In his talk, he explained how his idea for the memorial was conceptualized, developed, and finally realized.

The Alumni Liaison Committee held a breakfast meeting with President Kim and trustees Steve Mandel ’78, Bill Helman ’80, and Mort Kondracke ’60.

The Saturday plenary session, held in the Oopik Auditorim of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, started off with a viewing of a short video highlighting the many features of the center, thanks to the generosity of the Class of 1978. (The link to the video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIHOTJA1ih4.) Councilors also heard from Elizabeth Smith, professor of biological sciences, who attested to the many benefits the modern facility brings to student, faculty, and community interaction, and how it serves as a critical component in faculty and student recruitment.

President-elect Marty Lempres ’84 introduced trustees Steve Mandel, Bill Helman, and Mort Kondracke, who provided a trustee update. Steve began by emphasizing the board’s commitment to increased visibility and two-way communication with alumni. He then reviewed three priorities of the board for the upcoming year.

Engage broadly during the presidential search process.

Complete the strategic planning process, resulting in action with the goal to raise academic distinction and further capitalize on strengths and synergies in an interdisciplinary fashion (“One Dartmouth”).

Determine how to best tackle student health, binge drinking, and hazing issues, and how to move the needle when it comes to “social norms” of students.

As cochair of the presidential search committee, Bill provided further details on this effort. The search committee will focus on obtaining the best person for the job, reaching out to alumni and other experts in the process. He also reminded councilors about the online input form that can be found here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/presidentsearch/aboutsearch/input.html. The plan is to have a candidate selected by the end of the calendar year, with the new president's term starting on July 1, 2013.

Mort then provided an update as a representative from the Advancement Committee on the board. A major priority is to ensure trustee interaction with alumni, and Mort shared that, so far in FY12, trustees have participated in 83 Advancement events, with 158 trustee appearances. Comparatively, in FY11, trustees attended 66 events with 108 trustee appearances. Mort also shared that the committee greatly values the work of and interaction with the Alumni Liaison Committee. He shared the board’s support for the decision to end funding of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine through class dues.

Next on the agenda was a presentation on Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE) by Theodore Somers ’12, ’13Th, Zach Losordo ’10, ’11Th, and Alison Polton-Simon ’14. Entirely student run, DHE manages a wide range of technical projects in developing nations such as rural Rwanda and Tanzania. Examples of projects include the creation of small-scale hydropower systems, more efficient cookstoves, and an initiative aimed at improving access to clean water. Members strive to encourage development, improve health, and reduce environmental impact through sustainable, affordable, socially conscious solutions for communities in need. DHE partners with local non-governmental organizations and technical schools to design appropriate technologies using available resources and emphasizing community involvement and collaboration to foster local investment in its projects.

After a short coffee break, councilors heard from Maria Laskaris ’84, dean of admissions and financial aid, who presented “Meet the Class of 2016: An Admissions Update.” Maria said the applicant pool has increased 95 percent during the last 10 years, and the admissions rate was 9.5 percent this year, the most competitive rate of admission the College has ever seen. Approximately 49 percent of all admitted students are expected to matriculate, falling within the typical yield rate of 49 to 51 percent. To ensure individual attention to each applicant, the Admissions Office has invested in 15 additional readers to assist with the process, all with relevant admissions experience. Dartmouth’s fully need-blind admissions process continues to be a source of pride, and it was announced that next year the College will provide free tuition and eliminate loans from financial aid packages for students with family incomes of $100,000 a year or less, up from $75,000 in 2011-12. Providing some demographics, Maria shared that in the Class of 2016, 14 percent are legacy students, 10 percent are first-generation college students, 35 percent are students of color, 10 percent are international, and eight will be veterans. Maria also mentioned the importance of alumni interviews, and thanked all councilors who participate in the process.

Maria is also cochair of the Students of the Future working group as part of the strategic planning process, which is tasked with focusing on the needs of Dartmouth’s future students. This group is examining the trends, future needs, and opportunities critical to the successful recruitment, retention, and support of the students of tomorrow.

Vice President for Alumni Relations Martha Beattie ’76 then provided an update on Alumni Relations. On the topic of reunions, this year there will be opportunities for all classes in Hanover to congregate on the Green to see a performance by Stomp, and later in the evening a performance by the Aires and Rockapellas and the singing of the alma mater. Martha also mentioned that, due to feedback from alumni, the clustering of classes during reunions will be reinstated in 2013. Recent “Dartmouth on Locations” such as The Lorax screenings and the recent event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are examples of successful ways the office has brought together alumni while highlighting Dartmouth's world-class faculty. The Dartmouth for Life position is expected to be filled by the end of the summer, and there have been many impressive applicants. This position will focus on various forms of career support for alumni and life-stage planning. Martha also talked about the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine no longer being funded through class dues. As a result, classes can use their dues funding in ways that work best for them. Lastly, Martha provided an update on the progress of the Hanover Inn renovations, with most rooms scheduled to be complete by June 2012; the junior ballroom and meeting rooms scheduled to be complete by August 2012; and the grand ballroom, signature restaurant, and fitness center scheduled to be complete by November 2012.

Marty announced the open forum, which began with the Alumni Council election results. He announced that Joe Santos ’95, ’00Tu and Maia Josebachvili ’05 will join the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee; Cuong Do ’88, ’89Tu will join the Alumni Liaison Committee; and Mark Davis ’81, ’84Tu will be the new president-elect of the Alumni Council.

This was followed by committee reports of the Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Enrollment and Admissions, Athletics, Communications, Young Alumni and Student Affairs committees. The summaries of these committee meetings will be posted online.

Marty announced the “open microphone” session. There was a question about the possibility of having NROTC on campus, and David Spalding ’76, chief of staff, was able to address the question, stating that such a program is difficult because it would require students to travel an hour to Norwich University in Vermont for training.  An Army ROTC program currently does exist on campus.

There was no old business. For new business, Danielle Dyer, on behalf of absent councilor Mike McClintock ’80, put forward a resolution:


That the Alumni Council appoint an ad hoc committee to create a strategic plan for the Alumni Council. This committee will report back to the Alumni Council in one year.

After some discussion, it was decided that committee chairs, rather than an ad hoc committee, should be charged with thinking strategically about their committees, and to continuously think of ways they can best serve the College. The council voted on the resolution, which did not pass.

Next, Marisol Negron ’93 and Lisa Cloitre ’94, ’02Tu put forward the following resolution:


The formation of an ad-hoc committee focused on issues of diversity and inclusion, with a particular emphasis on the recruitment and retention of faculty of color and the high turnover of staff at the Office of Pluralism and Leadership.

The council voted on the resolution, which passed.

The following resolution, thanking Carrie Pelzel ’54a for her service as senior vice president of Advancement, was unanimously approved by the Alumni Council:


The Alumni Council extends our sincere gratitude to Carrie Pelzel ’54a, Senior Vice President for Advancement, for her extraordinary dedication and leadership on behalf of Dartmouth College during her fifteen year tenure.  Carrie oversaw the $1.3 billion Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, which was bookended between two significant recessions, and was successfully completed in January 2010.  Not taking one moment to catch her breath, that spring she agreed to assume the title of Senior Vice President for Advancement and launched the integration of a combined Advancement Division providing for collaboration between the development, alumni relations and public affairs offices.  New initiatives resulted including the “Dartmouth for Life” program and a project asking staff and alumni to “Reimagine Reunions”.  These are only two of the many creative initiatives under way which will have visible impact on alumni including a return to class clustering for reunions.  This year, before Carrie leaves, she can join us during reunion week to enjoy the fruits of her labor as the renowned performance group, STOMP, entertains our alumni and community members on the Green.  We all stomp, applaud, and extend our good wishes on Carrie’s behalf as she will now be able to spend more time with her husband, Bruce, and her family, who have very patiently shared her with us for more than a decade.

The following resolution, thanking Jim Yong Kim ’82a for his service as president of Dartmouth College, was unanimously approved by the Alumni Council:


The Alumni Council extends our appreciation for the extraordinary opportunity we have been granted to benefit from the leadership of President Jim Yong Kim ’82a over the last three years.   We were one of the first alumni groups provided with the opportunity to meet Jim Kim as he joined us on May 15, 2009 at our 198th Alumni Council meeting while he was visiting Hanover soon after his selection as the 17th president in the Wheelock Succession had been announced.    As a physician, anthropologist, and global leader, President Kim has inspired us, often referencing the words of John Sloan Dickey, to make the world’s troubles our own as we strive to improve the lives of those less fortunate than us.  His many initiatives have included the organization of the National College Health Improvement Project with other colleges and universities to focus on ways to reduce high-risk drinking; the creation of the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science which addresses the challenges of national and global health care systems; and the recent formation of Dartmouth’s Peak Performance to help our students achieve the highest levels of physical, intellectual, and personal growth.  In his spare time, Jim Kim worked with his senior leadership to resolve a $100 million budget deficit crisis.  It is our opinion that we could probably have easily solved that crisis if we could discover a way to bottle President Kim’s energy and sell it on the global market!  At last, it should not have come as a surprise that President Obama would invite Jim Kim to assume a leadership role for the world, as he did this spring with regards to serving as president of the World Bank.  It was proof that President Kim does not just "talk the talk", but he "walks the walk", as he will have the opportunity to impact many of the world’s most impoverished nations in this role.  President Kim is our number one Big Green fan and we wish him goodwill and extend our immense gratitude as he takes on  "the troubles of the world".

The following resolution, thanking Danielle Dyer ’81, ’89Tu for her service as president of the Alumni Council, was unanimously approved by the Alumni Council:


That the Alumni Council extends its immense gratitude to Danielle Dyer ‘81 ’89Tu for her exemplary service and leadership as president of the Dartmouth Alumni Council.  Your commitment to our alma mater runs deep as indicated by the depth and breadth of the multitude of volunteer roles you have undertaken.  These positions include serving as mini-reunion chair, class agent, president and member of both the reunion and the reunion giving committees for the great Class of 1981.  Granting equal time to the Tuck School, you agreed to represent them on the Alumni Council.  Finally, you also find many hours to support your true passion via the Dartmouth Crew Team.  As president of the Council, you have encouraged an atmosphere of openness and transparency producing a healthy dialogue between alumni, trustees, students, faculty and the College's leadership.  Your laugh is contagious and we have all enjoyed the joy you bring to plenary sessions and the many meetings you attend with the Nominating, Alumni Liaison and the Executive Committees.  Elected to a wide variety of roles within the council structure including chair of the Enrollment and Admissions Committee, council president-elect, and Nominating Committee member, it is obvious that you have the ultimate respect of your council colleagues.  The Dyer-Kloman marriage has no shortage of Dartmouth degrees which include two undergraduate, one medical and one business school diploma.  We are very grateful that you married a Dartmouth alumnus who has patiently shared you with us for many years.  However, we are not quite ready to release you as next year we are so very fortunate that you will chair the Alumni Liaison Committee.  As you pass over the gavel, we look forward to your continued good humor, wide counsel and guidance in this crucial role.

The meeting was adjourned.

An Executive Committee debriefing took place on Friday, May 25, 2012, via teleconference.