Founder and first President, Ernest Martin Hopkins, Class of 1901, organized the Dartmouth Alumni Council in 1913.
To sustain a fully informed, representative, and engaged exchange of information and sentiment between alumni and their College, and to enhance and inspire alumni involvement that furthers the mission of the College.
- Clearing house for alumni sentiment and interchange of ideas
- Official two-way liaison between College and her alumni
- Primary forum for discussion of issues and concerns of alumni
- Initiate and sponsor activities reasonably within province of alumni activity
- Nominate Alumni Trustees (for the eight alumni trustee seats on the Board of Trustees)
- Maintain working relationship with Board of Trustees
- Resource for alumni providing service and talents to Dartmouth
Originally 25 members, but incrementally expanded over the years. (Amendments to the Alumni Council constitution were approved in November 2007, revising representation and increasing the size to 125. Additional members were transitioned onto the Alumni Council between 2008 and 2010 resulting in the composition listed below.) The Council attempts to be representative in respect to age, geography, gender and professional backgrounds of its members, providing membership for various alumni organizations and representatives for faculty and undergraduate bodies of the College.
- Class Representatives: 58
- Affiliated Alumni Groups: 10
- Members-At-Large: 6
- Regions/Clubs: 20
- Class Officers Associations: 5
- Undergraduates (non-voting): 4
- Professional Schools (DMS, Thayer, Tuck): 6
- Arts and Sciences Graduate Program: 2
- Club Officers Association: 3
- District Enrollment Directors: 1
- Faculty Representative (non-voting): 1
- President and President-elect: 2
- Chair of Alumni Awards, ALC, Nominating, Young Alumni Awards Committees: 4
- Current and past two AoA presidents: 3
Total (maximum) 125
ELECTION TO COUNCIL
Alumni councilors are typically elected by the constituencies they represent. Candidates are sought:
a) who can represent legitimate interests of alumni and report back on their work as Councilors
b) who have demonstrated an active interest in Dartmouth
c) of outstanding achievement and/or special qualifications
d) who are available to attend meetings
Most Council work is performed by Committees:
- Alumni Liaison
- Academic Affairs
- Alumni Awards
- Alumni Service
- Enrollment & Admissions
- Honorary Degrees
- Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search
- Professional Development
- Student Affairs
- Young Alumni
- Young Alumni Awards
Many have formed the backbone of contemporary Dartmouth history and success. Outstanding results achieved in student enrollment, communications, recognition of alumni service, and selection of Alumni Trustees.
COMPOSITION OF A MEETING
a) Committee meetings
b) Presentation and conversations with Dartmouth leadership on key priorities and initiatives
c) Opportunity for Councilors to raise questions on behalf of constituents
d) Attend special events such as the Alumni Awards Gala
e) Social and recreational opportunities
THE ASSOCIATION OF ALUMNI
The Association of Alumni is Dartmouth’s alumni body. Each of Dartmouth’s 80,000 alumni is a member of the association.
THE ALUMNI COUNCIL
The Alumni Council represents Dartmouth’s alumni. It is the principal spokesperson for alumni and the primary forum for the exchange of alumni sentiment. It consists of 125 members representing classes, geographic clubs, graduate schools, affiliated groups, students, and others. The constituencies select their representatives through various methods, including election at reunions and club meetings and Internet voting. The Alumni Council’s mission is “to sustain a fully informed, representative, and engaged exchange of information and sentiment between alumni and their College, and to enhance and inspire alumni involvement that furthers the mission of the College.”
The Alumni Council also nominates candidates to run for alumni-nominated trustee seats.
The Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni
The Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni runs balloting for trustee elections and for the election of its own leadership. It consists of 11 members elected from and by the alumni body in alumni-wide balloting.
HISTORY OF THE ORGANIZATIONS
The Association of Alumni was founded in 1854 and historically met once a year in Hanover for an annual meeting that was open to all alumni. Only alumni physically present in Hanover could vote in association affairs.
By 1913 Ernest Martin Hopkins, Class of 1901, recognized that the Association of Alumni was too cumbersome to represent alumni interests effectively. Acting through the association, Hopkins created the Alumni Council “to act as the official spokesman of alumni sentiment,” to be the “clearinghouse for alumni sentiment and interchange of alumni ideas,” to “approve or disapprove of projects put forth in the alumni name, and... [to be] the seat of authority in all such matters.” The formation of the Alumni Council left the Association Executive Committee with few responsibilities. Since 1913, the Executive Committee’s sole responsibilities have been to run trustee elections (during those years when such elections have occurred) and to host an annual meeting in Hanover at which the Executive Committee is elected and/or announced. With the introduction of all-media voting, alumni are no longer required to attend the annual meeting in order to cast votes in Executive Committee elections.
The Alumni Councilor represents alumni by:
- The Alumni Councilor represents alumni by:
a) Communicating Dartmouth priorities and initiatives to alumni
b) Bringing ideas and concerns of alumni to the attention of the Council and College
c) Reporting back to alumni on these matters and any other affairs of alumni interest
d) Acting on behalf of his/her alumni constituency
- The Alumni Councilor communicates to his/her constituency multiple times annually.
- The Alumni Councilor serves usually on one Council Committee.
- An Alumni Council class or club representative typically serves as an ex-officio member on the Board of Directors of his/her assigned Alumni Club or as an ex-officio member of his/her Class Executive Committee and performs the following:
a) Participates in club board meetings, class executive committee meetings or class calls when possible;
b) Attends the annual club dinner;
c) Reports at club functions on current events at the College and Council news;
d) contributing the same to the Class Newsletter;
e) Answers questions of alumni;
f) Brings ideas, problems and comments of alumni to the Council;
- The Alumni Councilor may serve on special committees, by appointment of the Council President and Executive Committee, formed to undertake College projects (these committees may include representatives from the faculty, student body, administration, and alumni).
- The Alumni Councilor thinks independently and deeply and works with the administration, Trustees, faculty, and students in a common effort to preserve the College's strengths and build her future.
Communicate - Deliver and receive information to/ from constituencies
Attend - Contribute to all Council meetings
Prepare - Review communications delivered and prepare for Council meetings
Interact - Know and be involved in College life – students, faculty, and issues
Talk - Use the plenary sessions to convey information and opinions, make an impact in committee sessions, contribute ideas
Accept - Acknowledge differing viewpoints respectfully
Listen - Consider other peoples’ comments
The Alumni Council’s mission is to sustain a fully informed, representative and engaged exchange of information and sentiment between alumni and the College.
Alumni Councilors are encouraged to communicate with their constituents around each Alumni Council meeting, and to report back afterwards.
Before the meeting:
- The Communications Committee will provide a pre-meeting template to personalize
- Request feedback and questions from your constituents
- Share what you receive with the Alumni Liaison Committee at email@example.com
At the meeting:
- Ask questions and take notes, if you like. Official minutes of the meeting will be posted online.
After the meeting:
- Report back to your constituents what you’ve learned via individual replies and the post-meeting template.
Councilors serve as a two-way liaison between their constituents and the College. Your job is to communicate to your constituents about what’s happening at Dartmouth and bring their questions to the College. Think about your audience and what they need and want to know.
- Make it personal and write in your own voice.
- Provide a customized subject line.
- Consider topping your message with an executive summary or paragraph describing your key take aways from the meeting.
- Curate content for your audience.
- Consider adding a photo or visual element.
- Don’t forget to CC the ALC at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Contact Meg Ramsden ’87, Associate Director of Alumni Leadership, at Meaghan.Ramsden@Dartmouth.edu to process the sending of your email. Please provide your preferred email address from which you would like it to be sent along with the final draft of the email. All of the “reply to sender” emails that your constituents send will go directly to your email address that you have provided as the sender.
You may also communicate to your constituents via alternative channels such as class newsletters and class/club websites.
The Alumni Liaison Committee is meant to serve as a “communications hub” for the Alumni Council as they interface with the administration and Board of Trustees. With this committee in place, there is a process in which to channel the communications you receive from alumni where it will then be assessed, acted upon and used to produce the annual report at year’s end. Alumni may send their comments directly to ALC@dartmouth.edu. However, when an email is sent to you, the following process has been put in place:
Communications Process with the Alumni Liaison Committee:
1. After reading email from alumni, forward to ALC@Dartmouth.edu
a) Put in the topic bar the subject of the email from the following:
- General Response
- New Topics
- Student Life
2. Briefly respond to the sender:
a) Acknowledge receipt of email. If applicable, note you will try to find the answer to the question at the meeting and report back
b) Let them know it has been forwarded to the ALC
c) Thank them for their input
3. The ALC will receive the forwarded email, review and sort them as further needed. Any specific action items will be managed by working with Alumni Relations who will make the appropriate contact with college administrators. This process could take some time.
4. Over the course of the year, the ALC will prepare their annual report, providing updates at the spring and fall meetings and a final report to be presented to the Board of Trustees in the fall after the close of the academic year.
Much of the council's work is accomplished through committees. These committees are principally composed of and headed by council members. Sometimes the work of a committee may include one or more non-members of the Council from either the alumni body or some other source. For example, appropriate staff officers at the College can serve as committee secretaries to coordinate the work of groups and provide accurate information to committee members.
Committee meetings are held between sessions of the council as may be required. An outline of the functions of each of the operating committees is included below.
Academic Affairs Committee
The Committee on Academic Affairs serves as a principal interface between the faculty and the Alumni Council of Dartmouth College such that a strong relationship is affirmed and alumni are kept informed about the curriculum and other elements of the Dartmouth academic experience.
The committee also serves as the platform for exploring intersections of the intellectual life of Dartmouth with programs or strategies that will increase engagement of alumni. The committee will work with Alumni Relations and the faculty and College representatives on the committee to identify academic opportunities to enrich the lives of our alumni as they in turn support the institution with their time and talents, with the overall goal of creating lifelong connections between faculty, students and alumni.
The committee consists of alumni councilors, the faculty representative to the Alumni Council, a representative of the Provost's office, the Dean of Graduate Studies, and a representative of the Dean of the Faculty.
Alumni Awards Committee
Each year a handful of alumni are selected to receive the prestigious Dartmouth Alumni Award, established by the Alumni Council to honor outstanding alumni. The first Alumni Award was presented in 1954 to Ernest Martin Hopkins, Class of 1901. Since then, more than 400 alumni have been honored.
The Alumni Awards Committee consists of seven former recipients of the Dartmouth Alumni Award and a staff member of the Alumni Relations Office (committee secretary). This committee seeks strong alumni candidates that meet the eligibility criteria for the Dartmouth Alumni Award and selects three to four alumni recipients each year to be honored for a combination of accomplishments in Dartmouth volunteerism, career and civic involvement.
Alumni Liaison Committee
The Alumni Liaison Committee consists of the president, the president-elect, and immediate past-president of the Council, the presidents of the Association of Alumni during their term on the Alumni Council, three current council members elected by the Alumni Council, and three members of the Association of Alumni elected by the Alumni Council. A representative of the Board of Trustees’ Advancement Committee may also serve on this committee. The committee gathers feedback from alumni on topics of interest and shares this information with the Alumni Relations office, the Board of Trustees, and the senior administration.
Alumni Service Committee
The Dartmouth Alumni Council Service Committee fosters the Dartmouth spirit by connecting alumni to one another to address needs in their local communities around the world. We encourage alumni engagement through community service. We work with the College and alumni groups to facilitate service organized by and for alumni, including the annual Dartmouth Alumni Day of Service.
The Athletics Committee promotes the interests of Dartmouth alumni in athletics at Dartmouth, including varsity athletics, club sports, intramural athletics, physical education, and recreation. Specifically, the committee gathers and assesses information regarding the administration and financial support of athletics by the College, particularly the Department of Athletics and Recreation, as well as student participation in athletics; solicits input from the alumni body regarding the interests and concerns of alumni with respect to athletics at Dartmouth; communicates these interests and concerns to the department; and communicates the results of the committee’s work to the Alumni Council, the administration, and alumni.
The Communications Committee encourages and facilitates communication between and among members of the council and their respective constituencies regarding both the council’s activities and the College as a whole. The committee also encourages and facilitates communication within the council itself, by providing tools and resources to aid constituent discourse; metrics regarding successful communication practices; training to improve the council’s overall accessibility to and from alumni at large; and a means to safeguard the council’s legacy of information. The committee regularly reviews opportunities to improve council communications broadly.
Enrollment and Admissions Committee
The Committee on Enrollment and Admissions serves as a sounding board for the admissions and financial aid offices on issues such as general admissions, accepted student yield, financial aid practices, and nationwide and international trends. The committee also supports the Office of Admissions in coordinating and assessing the alumni interviewing process throughout the United States and the world.
The Executive Committee consists of the president, the president-elect, and the chairs of the other standing committees of the Council. The committee is chaired by the president. This committee sets the agenda for the council and plans and designs Council meetings in consultation with the Alumni Relations Office. It is also empowered to act on council business in between meetings, and is the final authority on strategic matters.
Honorary Degrees Committee
The Committee on Honorary Degrees seeks strong alumni candidates for the award by canvassing the alumni body. It then forwards three to five names to the College Committee on Honorary Degrees, which makes the final decision regarding recipients.
Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee
The Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee consists of the president, the president-elect, the immediate past chair of the Nominating Committee, a Council member appointed by the committee for a term of three years, and six other council members elected for terms of three years by the council. The Nominating Committee makes two nominations for the president-elect, each vacancy for at-large representatives, and other positions specified in the Alumni Council constitution. Importantly, it also makes nominations for alumni trustee as provided in the constitution. The Nominating Committee welcomes alumni trustee candidate recommendations from alumni at any time.
The Orientation Committee plans and oversees the orientation of first-year alumni councilors. Responsibilities include establishing direct mentor roles for new councilors, updating orientation materials and methods, and monitoring the effectiveness of current orientation programs. The committee is chaired by the Alumni Council president-elect.
Professional Development Committee
The Professional Development Committee works with the Center for Professional Development and the Office of Alumni Relations to help to generate program ideas designed to leverage alumni expertise in service to other alumni and students at Dartmouth. The committee identifies and solicits appropriate alumni to participate in professional development programs; shares information about professional opportunities serving students and alumni with constituents and current councilors; promotes college programs designed to encourage alumni to hire and mentor Dartmouth students; and plans and carries out on-campus career programming for students in conjunction with Alumni Council meetings in Hanover.
Student Affairs Committee
The Committee on Student Affairs has traditionally monitored and reported on all aspects of student life to both the Alumni Council and, through the councilors, to the alumni body. Please note that this committee is in transition with regard to the scope of its work. Future work of the committee will likely center around support of Alumni Relations’ communities, with a focus on developing constructs to engage with students and connect them to these communities from the date they step onto campus.
Young Alumni Committee
The Young Alumni Committee engages Dartmouth's young alumni through collaborative efforts with the College, student organizations, Alumni Relations, and other Alumni Council committees to:
- Effectively address the needs of young alumni around the globe
- Provide students with support as they transition to alumni of the College
- Inspire young alumni to build a lifelong commitment to the College
Young Alumni Awards Committee
The Young Alumni Awards Committee consists of five to seven former recipients of the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award and a staff member of the Alumni Relations Office (committee secretary). This committee seeks strong alumni candidates that meet the eligibility criteria for the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award and place strong emphasis on Dartmouth volunteerism when selecting typically 2 recipients each year.
Last month I returned to Hanover for the 216th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. The program focused on the vision and priorities of The Call to Lead campaign. The plan is designed to be far-reaching and seeks to drive distinction and differentiation for Dartmouth through three overarching priorities. I encourage you to read more about what the campaign seeks to accomplish and follow the conversation on social media using #DartmouthLeads. Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88 shared with us that the campaign has already raised $1.6 billion of its $3 billion goal.
Thanks to all who shared their thoughts about the campaign prior to the Council meeting. I’ve conveyed them to College leadership.
Other highlights of the meeting included:
- We had dinner at one of the two House Centers, popularly known as “The Onion” and “The Cube” to learn about the House Communities which opened in 2016. The goal of the communities is to provide more residential continuity for undergraduates as well as additional social opportunities beyond the classroom.
- Support for students is central to The Call to Lead campaign. Dartmouth is focusing on a major expansion of financial aid by eliminating loans from financial aid packages, extending need-blind admissions to international students, and providing full financial aid for foreign study. This will particularly benefit undergraduates from middle-income families.
- We heard that the College remains committed to bring the best and brightest talent to Hanover from Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith and a panel of faculty. The Call to Lead seeks to advance our distinctive educational model which gives Dartmouth students an incomparable experience with outstanding teacher-scholars working with them inside and outside the classroom.
- Dartmouth plans to address a focused set of the great global challenges. We discussed several “big bets” that students and faculty are working on to improve the human condition. We heard from faculty working in the fields of computer science, cancer research and the Arctic. These discoveries help students become creative, curious, and compassionate citizens of the world.
- Two faculty who embody the teacher-scholar model were awarded the Professor John Rassias Faculty Award. Susan Ackerman ’80, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion; and Vicki May, professor of engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering received standing ovations for their exceptional commitment to maintaining strong ties with Dartmouth alumni. I hope you can join them for a future Dartmouth Alumni Travel trip or a Dartmouth on Location near you.
- One Dartmouth was a theme of the weekend, illustrating how each of the five schools of Dartmouth are working to pull together the full intellectual assets of the community for the benefit of all students. And, while graduate programs at Dartmouth are not new, there is a new name joining Thayer, Geisel, and Tuck: Guarini. In case you missed it, Frank J. Guarini ’46, a former congressman, delegate to NATO, and U.S. Representative to the United Nations, who has made a historic gift in support of the College’s school of graduate and advanced studies.
Finally, I want to note that this year, the Alumni Council will nominate candidates for the Dartmouth Board of Trustees to replace Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82 and R. William Burgess, Jr. ’81. We invite and encourage your recommendations.
Thanks for reading, and as always, please be in touch with any questions or thoughts.