The theme of the 194th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council was “Campus Life 2007.”Councilors gathered in Hanover from May 17-19 and spent three days participating in plenary sessions, student discussion groups, and undergraduate classrooms, and dining with students in their residences.
The council weekend opened on Thursday with meetings of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee, the College Relations Group, and the Committee on Alumni Organizations.
Alumni Councilors spent the early evening participating in student-alumni discussion groups discussing “Life on Campus Today.” Topics included
Student Leadership:Experiences, Observations and Lessons Learned
Student Living:Choices and Experiences, A Day (and Night) in the Life
Membership in a Diverse Community:Experiences, Highs and Lows, Connections among Different Communities
Balance in Students' Lives:How My Time Is Spent:Challenges, Strategies, and Highlights of Today's Dartmouth Experience
Discussion groups were followed by a “dine-around” opportunity with students at Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Phi Tau coed house, Native American House, Cutter Shabazz, and the Fahey-McLane residence hall.
Coffee and dessert in the Undergraduate Commons of Kemeny Hall rounded out the evening.There was a special presentation to Karl Furstenberg '67a, dean of admissions and financial aid, for his dedication and service to Dartmouth. Dean Furstenberg is retiring from Dartmouth this summer.
The morning began with breakfast meetings of the following committees:Academic Affairs, Alumni Continuing Education, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Life. The councilors were then given the opportunity to attend classes.
At the student research poster session and luncheon, the Faculty Award for Service to Continuing Education was presented to Peter Saccio, Leon D. Black Professor of Shakespearean Studies and professor of English.
The afternoon plenary session was opened by Martha Beattie '76, president of the Alumni Council.
Alumni Council Mission Discussion
At the last meeting, the Council Mission Working Group was established to develop a mission statement.Members included Jeff Weiss '86, Andrea Lordan '86, Andy Horne '87, Rick Silverman '81, and Vice President for Alumni Relations David Spalding '76.
Jeff Weiss began the discussion by saying that their objective was to refresh, re-brand and communicate the mission of the council to all alumni.
Since communicating the mission draft to councilors, Jeff received more than 50 emails and calls with feedback, advice, and encouragement.He felt that the quality of the dialogue was impressive.
Jeff believes that we need to refresh because
Alumni rejected the proposed new alumni constitution in favor of maintaining a separate council and alumni association.
Communications and visibility begin with a clear mission statement.
We need to articulate who the Alumni Council is and its function.
We need enthusiasm and engagement.
The Executive Committee Working Group has attempted to produce a well-articulated, refreshed mission statement to the Alumni Council.
The process used by the Working Group was to
Examine historical documents
Discuss the historical documents extensively
Create and email a first draft of the mission statement to councilors for comment
Communicate a second draft of the mission statement to councilors for feedback and review
Distribute third and fourth drafts of the mission statement for feedback and review
Produce a final recommendation for the May meeting.
Jeff commented that the feedback he received was that the mission statement should
Be active, concise, and clear
Encourage and/or facilitate alumni involvement
State why the Alumni Council does what it does (mission)
Indicate the council's responsibilities
People felt the last two items were both important, but different.Councilors also commented that the council's role is not to govern or oversee the College, but to represent the sentiment of all alumni.
The proposed Alumni Council Mission Statement is as follows.
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.
In addition, the committee produced a set of “Core Responsibilities of the Alumni Council” which are as follows.
To achieve its mission, the Alumni Council must
Actively learn and know the current state of the College and its future goals, and communicate that knowledge to all alumni
Diligently learn alumni sentiment and help the College to fully understand and fully consider this sentiment
Nominate competent, qualified, independent alumni candidates to serve on Dartmouth's Board of Trustees
Recognize, encourage and facilitate alumni service
and in doing so, it must
Think and act independently of the College and its administration
Preserve the right of all Dartmouth alumni to express opinions (whether critical or supportive), ask questions of, praise, and seek change within the College
Be accountable to all alumni to be honest, open, and balanced in its deliberations and communications.
The next steps for the Working Group are to
Discuss and put the recommended mission to a vote by the Alumni Council
If the mission is approved, communicate the mission to all alumni; fulfill the mission; work closely with the newly elected Association of Alumni officers; and design a process to review the council's structure.
A discussion followed which resulted in a motion to approve the proposed Alumni Council Mission Statement.A vote was taken and the proposed mission passed by a large majority with two dissenting votes.
John Reed '75 '79Tu, chair of the Communications Committee, made a “Communications Toolkit” presentation.The goal of the toolkit is to improve communication skills so that councilors can disseminate their message more effectively, listen to alumni sentiment, and bring that feedback to the College.
John reported that during the last two years the Alumni Council has worked to articulate its function and responsibilities to the alumni.In response, the Alumni Council College Relations Group Task Force created and recommended that councilors use the following three templates.
Councilor to Constituents (reports on the Dartmouth Alumni Council meetings, observations, links to more info)
Council to Councilors (suggests themes for upcoming council meetings, seeks feedback)
Council to Councilors (delivers materials to review, tasks to complete, other pre-meeting preparation to boost productivity)
This winter the Communications Committee and the council leadership sent multiple emails to alumni councilors introducing the templates and suggesting steps for using them.A major increase in communication ensued, and more than 40 percent of councilors are now connecting electronically with alumni constituents.Additionally, councilors are connecting with alumni constituents by mail and phone.
Two examples of councilor-to-constituents templates were demonstrated by Michelle Sweetser '99 and Liz Kadin '77.These were letters sent by email that provided updated information and/or links to appropriate information and resources.Liz noted that her first attempt at constituency communication was to mail a letter, but she received just one or two responses.She next used email for her report and received about 30 responses.From her perspective, email is a more effective communications tool than the class newsletter.
A discussion ensued about councilors' four communications needs:what information should they communicate, when and how should it be communicated, and to which alumni should council messages be sent?
John reported that he would email his Communications Toolkit PowerPoint presentation to all councilors following the meeting so that they would have detailed information about working with the Alumni Relations Office to disseminate their communications to constituents.
The launch of the new Alumni Relations Web site in June will provide an excellent resource for news, events, and other information.There are also plans to conduct an alumni survey this year.Alumni councilors need to be systematic about reaching out to constituents.
Nominating and Trustee Search Committee Report
Rick Routhier '73 '76Tu, chair of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee, made the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee report to the Alumni Council.He listed the names of the new councilors coming onto the Alumni Council effective July 1, 2007.Rick stated that councilors need to affirm and vote for the 2007-2010 councilors as well as the Hanover Inn Board of Overseers representative and the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine editorial board representative.
Rick called for a vote and the 2007-2010 councilors were unanimously approved.
Councilors will also need to elect two new members of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee from the following councilors:Susan Luria '89; Dennis Ryan '81; Harvey Weinberg '78; and Bill White '82.
In addition one new member will be elected to the College Relations Group from the following councilors: Janine Avner '80; Todd Donovan '92; and David Eichman '82.
Ballots must be completed and turned in by 8:30 am on Saturday, May 19.
Rick also submitted the nominations for president-elect J.B. Daukas '84 and president Rick Silverman '81.That vote will also be held on Saturday morning.
The Nominating and Trustee Search Committee proposed an amendment to the Alumni Council constitution to allow for a two-person slate for president-elect.Discussion followed and the sentiment was in favor.The amendment will be edited and discussed again at the next Alumni Council meeting in December.
Burr Gray '79 commented that the Class of 1979 voted electronically for their class representative to the Alumni Council this winter for the first time. There were five nominees and each nominee provided a 100-word statement.The class executive committee sent an email to class members with instructions on how to vote.The class Webmaster counted the votes.Approximately 100 members of the class voted.
Looking ahead, Rick Routhier reported that it is getting more difficult to recruit competent, qualified independent alumni candidates to run for the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.It is made more difficult due to the election rules.In addition, campaign funding is now becoming a major factor.Without significant change, it will be very difficult for the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee to fulfill their purpose.
The Alumni Council leadership will meet with the new officers of the Association of Alumni to solicit their thoughts and opinions. The Nominating and Trustee Search Committee will continue the search process for new alumni trustee candidates.
A student newspaper forum followed with a panel of editors from three different publications.The three students on the panel included:
Nicholas Desai '08, editor of the Dartmouth Review
Michael Murov '07, editor of the Dartmouth Independent
Andrew Seal '07, editor of the Dartmouth Free Press
Michael Murov mentioned that the Dartmouth Independent has been publishing since '04.Their format is Web-based, which has the benefit of being more flexible with publication time.They do have a print edition that comes out four times a year.They have writers and editors of all political persuasions on staff.They publish only 10 articles in each issue but they are long, very detailed pieces.
Nicholas Desai mentioned that Dartmouth has the reputation of being more conservative than the other Ivies.The Dartmouth Review has been published since 1980.It is published 15 times a year (five per term).Contributors are alumni and students.It is not affiliated with the College.
Andrew Seal commented that the Free Press was founded in August 2001 and has improved over the past two years.Articles are on campus issues, alumni politics, and campus events. It serves as an alternative to The Dartmouth.
The Honorary Degrees Committee held an afternoon committee meeting.
The evening's garden reception was moved to the Top of the Hop due to poor weather. A dinner in Alumni Hall followed.
Martha Beattie welcomed everyone and gave a summary of the day's events.She also asked Patsy Fisher '81, director of alumni leadership, to join her on stage to thank her for her 19 years of service.She read a citation and presented her with a Dartmouth print signed by President James Wright and a gift from the past presidents of the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni.Patsy will become the director of class activities this summer.
Martha also presented a surprise birthday cake to Hal Ripley '29 who turned 100 on May 15.
Martha presented two Dartmouth Alumni Awards to trustees emeriti Bill King '63 and Barry MacLean '60, '61Th.Bill and Barry made their acceptance remarks together.
The evening program concluded with an address from President Wright.
The Young Alumni Committee met following the dinner program.
The College Relations Group held an early breakfast meeting.
Alumni Council President-Elect Rick Silverman '81 opened the morning plenary session by thanking the Alumni Relations support staff and officers.
He then announced the new committee chairs:
Athletics: Burr Gray '79
Student Life:David Eichman '82
Committee on Alumni Organizations: David Eichman '82
Young Alumni Distinguished Service Awards: Tracy Salmon-Smith '87
Honorary Degrees:Liz Kadin '77
Nominating and Trustee Search Committee: Jeff Weiss '86
Academic Affairs:J.B. Daukas '84
Communications: Andrew Koh '96
Enrollment and Admissions: Cindy Shannon '76
Alumni Awards: Ralph Manuel '58
College Relations Group: Martha Beattie '76
Young Alumni: Libby Hadzima '06 and Matt Bailey '96
With the mission statement approved, Rick reported that Martha Beattie would chair the committee to discuss the council's structure. Martha asked for volunteers for a small working group.A suggestion was made to include at least one member from the Association of Alumni Executive Committee. The timeline is important. The Alumni Council would like to move forward in December and begin instituting any approved changes in May.
Rick Routhier, chair of the College Relations Group, gave a brief report from that committee.This weekend the College Relations Group met with three trustees:Bill Neukom '64, Jose Fernandez '77, and Al Mulley '70.They had a thoughtful discussion.The work of the Alumni Council is very important to the board.
Rick Routhier also chairs the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee and asked for a motion to elect J.B. Daukas as president-elect.A motion was made and seconded.J.B. was unanimously approved.
Rick Routhier reported that the new Nominating and Trustee Search Committee members are Dennis Ryan '81 and Susan Luria '89. The College Relations Group member is Janine Avner '80.
Rev. Stuart Lord, dean of the Tucker Foundation, and three students involved in various Hurricane Katrina relief efforts through the Tucker Foundation made a presentation to the Alumni Council. Dean Lord introduced John Merten '09, Madhaw Menon '09, and Amma Bofa '09, who gave their impressions of their work visits to the Gulf Coast.Dartmouth College is one of the few colleges that have made a three-year commitment, three times a year, to work in the Gulf region.
Rick Silverman introduced Trustees of the College Bill Neukom '64 (chair), Jose Fernandez '77 and Al Mulley '70 for the trustee report to the Alumni Council.
Bill Neukom applauded the Alumni Council on its mission statement. The panel of trustees noted that
The board continues to support interdisciplinary learning.
Facilities are being transformed, and there is still work to do.
The College must be forward-thinking regarding the growth of facilities and the endowment, not just a year from now but 20 to 150 years in the future.
The trustees will continue to work closely with the senior staff, which is first-rate.
They have been dealing with the housing shortage and now have approximately 500 new beds.
The College is working toward creation of a new Life Sciences Building.
The board wants to maintain the intimacy of Dartmouth.
A question and answer session followed.
In response to a question, Bill Neukom said that part of the Governance Committee's ongoing responsibility is to assess the board's size and composition to be sure that the board has access to the necessary skills, backgrounds, and interests to guide the College.He said the board is committed to the design of a board that is in the best interests of Dartmouth College.
Trustees conduct a self-evaluation and a peer evaluation during the last year of a sitting trustee's term. The same type of evaluation is used for the president of the College on an annual basis.
A presentation by Philip Salinger '08, editor of The Dartmouth, followed. Phil reported that roughly 200 students participate as writers and editors of The Dartmouth. They have a new Web site which gets about 700 hits per story. They are open to all points of view and would like to do more investigative reporting. Dartmouth College does not fund The Dartmouth.
Andrew Harvard '71, director of outdoor programs, and four students (Phillip J. Bracikowski '08, Joshua Hurd '08, Whitney MacFadyen '07, and B. Linden Mallory '07) gave a presentation on first-year trips and other Dartmouth Outing Club programs.There are many programs available to students, and these vary from year to year depending on student interests.
Rick Silverman covered old/new business items.
Patsy Fisher thanked everyone for the surprise presentation made to her the night before.She read the following two resolutions, which were both approved unanimously by the Alumni Council.
That the Alumni Council expresses its deep appreciation to Rick Routhier '73,'76Tu for his leadership as chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.
Rick, you guided the committee through the important and arduous process (five meetings between August and November!) of producing a slate of three candidates for alumni trustee from a long list of qualified nominees.Testimony of your success and leadership was the outstanding slate of candidates presented by your committee.We greatly appreciate the passion and vision with which you led the Nominating Committee in its work, and we acknowledge the integrity of the overall process, which you have championed.
We understand the great sacrifice of time and energy that your job as chair required, and we appreciate not only the sacrifice, but the enthusiasm, intelligence, and constant good humor you brought to this monumental task.
That the Alumni Council extends its immense gratitude to Martha Johnson Beattie '76 for her outstanding service to Dartmouth College through her role as president of the Alumni Council.
Your volunteer service to Dartmouth began just following graduation when you joined your class executive committee. You continued working for your class as a stalwart member of the reunion giving committee (four times!) and mini-reunion chair, and it was through that role that you ultimately joined the Alumni Council in 2002, representing the Mini-Reunion Chairs Association.
As president of this body, your unstinting commitment to Dartmouth has been epic, involving untold hours traveling from Baltimore to Hanover, with your dog in tow,
and communicating with a multitude of volunteers via telephone and email. Your initiation as president-elect came during an intense period of discussion on the future of alumni governance and the Alumni Council's own role, leading into an important alumni-wide vote on a new constitution.You were a strong proponent of the constitution, and although the effort did not succeed, your eloquence and passion encouraged alumni participation in the vote, which reached an all-time high. As president, you have focused on having councilors understand all of the issues, challenges, and joys that are taking place at Dartmouth, and on making sure that councilors fulfill their responsibility of communicating effectively with constituents. You have worked hard to establish a positive working relationship with the board of trustees, and we know that this good work will continue as you chair the College Relations Group next year.
Your legacy to the council is leading by example the practice and ideal of volunteer participation and service to Dartmouth.
You have dedicated yourself to maintaining good relations with alumni, students, College administrators and trustees.Your hard work between council meetings has included monthly teleconferences of the Executive Committee, meetings with the Nominating Committee, sessions with the College Relations Group and the board of trustees, presentations of the Alumni Award and a key role at Homecoming Weekend. You have encouraged an air of openness, tolerance, and respect. You have done all this with enthusiasm, pleasure, and aplomb, even as you managed two households, one in Quechee and one in Baltimore, and continued your work as a volunteer crew coach. Now it is time to focus on relaxing with Jim, Sam, Nell and Sarah—maybe even all together in the same place and time—and getting out on the Connecticut River to do some rowing yourself!
As you hand over the gavel, may our memories of your leadership continue to inspire Councilors and all alumni for years to come.
Rick Silverman presented the retiring alumni councilors with gifts (college prints) to thank them for their service on the Alumni Council.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:35 pm.