The 217th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with a luncheon meeting of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. The Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) met later that afternoon. First-year councilors attended an orientation session with Council leadership. All councilors were invited to participate in a welcome and constituent answer session, led by Alumni Council President Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ’82. Afterwards, affiliated group representatives met with Executive Committee members.
In the evening, alumni councilors attended their individual committee meetings in various locations around campus.
The Executive Committee met for breakfast.
Vice President for Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82 and Donald Pease, The Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, led a session titled “250! Celebrating the Past, Looking Ahead to the Future.” Dartmouth’s sestercentennial celebration will be marked by a yearlong portfolio of events, exhibits, academic initiatives, publications and commemorative items that will help the community pay tribute to its history, while affecting and inspiring the future. Various Dartmouth communities will create their own celebrations, based on the foundational pillars that make Dartmouth unique — liberal arts at the core, scholars who love to teach, a profound sense of place, base camp to the world, and an adventuresome spirit.
250th events and activities will include celebrations, learning, ideas, arts, exhibitions, service, and giving. The re-argument of the Supreme Court Case Trustees of Dartmouth v. Woodward, a pivotal moment in Dartmouth’s history, will be part of the celebration. Former U.S. Solicitors General Neal Katyal ’91 and Greg Garre ’87 will argue the case, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. Signature academic events will include the Dartmouth College Case Symposium, slated for March 2019, and a roundtable titled “Envisioning Dartmouth’s Future in the 21st Century,” in June 2019. Other special events include Homecoming, Dartmouth Football vs. Princeton at Yankee Stadium, and Charter Day.
Special course offerings include Dartmouth College Case; Dartmouth Fictions; Collective Memory of Slavery at Dartmouth; MOOC: Samson Occom and His Circle (tentative); Celebrating the Languages at Dartmouth; The Influential Works of Prof. James Winnans 1920-1942; and Is Dartmouth a Religion?
The official kickoff will take place in Hanover in January, followed by a skating party and kickoff in New York City later in the month. During a “greenlighting,” landmarks around the world, such as One World Tower, Niagara Falls, and Philadelphia’s Boat House Row, will be lit green. The 250th celebration commemorative book titled Dartmouth Undying: A Celebration of Place and Possibility, edited by David Shribman ’76 and Jim Collins ’84, will go on sale in January. Two exciting alumni travel trip themes, Ledyard Explorer Series and Peaks of the World, are planned. Service to others will be an important component of the celebration, and a goal has been set for 250,000 volunteer service hours to be completed by the worldwide Dartmouth community. Alumni leaders can encourage all to participate, support inclusive activities, and reinforce and grow international connections.
Also in 2019, the newly renovated Hood Museum of Art will re-open. The Call to Lead: A Campaign for Dartmouth will travel to cities around the world for regional celebrations.
Next on the agenda was a Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee update, provided by chair Beth Donahoe Cook ’94. She outlined the purpose and composition of the committee. The committee nominates candidates for Alumni Council positions; formally appoints councilors based on recommendations from class, affiliated groups, regions, etc.; and recommends alumni candidates for the Alumni Council to nominate to the Board of Trustees. The committee is a cross-section of the Alumni Council composed of the president, the president-elect, the past Nominating Committee chair, one appointed councilor, and six elected councilors. This year’s members include Alec Casey ’88, Maxine Mauricio ’93, Laurie Shapiro ’95, Tee Lotson ’82, David Silbersweig ’82, Eric Taylor ’84, Laura Mattson ’89, Steven Tseng ’95, Tu’01, Alyse Streicher ’95 (chair), and Beth Cook ’94.
The Alumni Council, which is representative of Dartmouth’s alumni body, is responsible for selecting alumni-nominated trustees. The Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for the financial, administrative, and academic affairs of the College. It is comprised of eight alumni-nominated trustees, 16 charter trustees, and two ex-officio members (the President of the College and Governor of New Hampshire). The Board’s responsibilities include fiduciary responsibility, appointment of faculty and officers, purchase and disposition of property, awarding of degrees, and approval of new programs and initiatives. Over the next three years, six of the eight current alumni-nominated trustees will rotate off the Board of Trustees.
Cook described how Dartmouth needs to attract the strongest trustee candidates, given the enormous complexity of the institution, financial challenges of the higher education model, increasingly global nature of the College, competitive environment for talent and resources, and the critical role of higher education today. The Nominating Committee’s objective is to conduct a process that is broad-based, open, and inclusive; thorough and rigorous; respectful and discreet; and independent.
Trustee candidates should demonstrate the following qualities: broad service/passion for Dartmouth; demonstrated ability to govern; responsible fiduciary; strategic and critical thinker; ability to work with complex concepts; demonstrated courage of conviction, respect and integrity; outstanding leader of organization/profession; constructive and collaborative participant (previous board experience is important); and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
In June, Dartmouth alumni were invited to share trustee recommendations. Later in the summer the Alumni Council voted to nominate one candidate for each of the two vacancies. All nominations were thoroughly reviewed, researched, and vetted by the Nominating Committee. Hundreds of alumni have been considered in the past years. Background checks and pre-referencing were conducted through multiple sources on multiple prospects.
In 2014, Dartmouth alumni passed an amendment to the Association of Alumni constitution which eliminates the requirement of alumni-wide balloting if there is an uncontested slate. The deadline for petition candidates is January 21, 2019. If the slate is contested, an election will be held in February and March, with the results announced at the Association of Alumni annual meeting on March 21, 2019. The Board of Trustees will then vote to seat the candidates.
Chief Operating Officer for Advancement Ann Root Keith and Vice President for Development Andrew Davidson presented “Your Impact: Alumni Council and The Call to Lead.” At their May meeting, alumni councilors suggested that The Call to Lead website adopt crowdfunding, and Dartmouth has launched the first four of many gift opportunities modeled with crowdfunding features (specific cause, showing progress and collective impact, simple giving process and social sharing). Councilors also suggested the active use of social media, using the hashtag #Dartmouthleads. Social media has been used extensively during regional campaign events, including staged selfie moments and engagement on Big Green Social. Councilors also suggested a series of webinars, and four webinars were hosted this fall in key markets. The goal of these webinars was to raise broad awareness for the vision for Dartmouth and The Call to Lead; highlight the Alumni Council and its mission to enhance and inspire alumni involvement that furthers the mission of the College; and encourage attendance of The Call to Lead regional celebrations. While it was hoped that more alumni would participate in the webinars, 30 percent opened the email invitation and had the opportunity to participate, which drives awareness.
Executive Director of Advancement Communications Jon Goldstein then spoke about the key findings of a campaign awareness study. There is solid awareness of the campaign among alumni, and the majority of the respondents first heard about the campaign through an email from Dartmouth. Importantly, those who first heard though other avenues such as volunteer leaders, alumni councilors, and Dartmouth events, more frequently report higher levels of awareness and understanding. Media reach expanded significantly following the public launch events. Council president Jack Steinberg’s message had the highest open rate for a non-presidential message at 46 percent. There were 70,037 total video views on social media–the previous all-time high for Dartmouth video online was just over 15,000. There was a 119 percent increase in Facebook weekly reach, and 86 percent increase in comments, likes, and shares.
Andrew Davidson described what gifts count in a campaign. The Call to Lead is a comprehensive campaign, with nine strategic priorities: the teacher scholar, leading through experiential learning, transformation of the West End, a vibrant arts district, big bets on discovery, strengthening of the graduate school, investment in residential life, expansion of financial aid, and energized annual giving. The campaign recognizes all gifts received from 2014-2022, whether they are for unrestricted annual support, endowment, or capital projects. Pledge payments are traditionally scheduled over no more than five years. Unrestricted annual giving provides more than five percent of Dartmouth’s annual budget, and is equal to an endowment of more than $1 billion. It is hoped that alumni will continue their annual support, along with their campaign gift, with a goal to raise $350 million in unrestricted support. All gifts matter, and 52.7 percent of all alumni have made a gift during the campaign, with 55 percent of undergraduate alumni participating. 55 percent of young alumni have made a gift. 211 women have made annual fund gifts as part of the Centennial Circle, while 65 women have made gifts of $1 million or more. 88 entrepreneurs have committed to the Dartmouth Founders project. There has been a 29 percent increase in international alumni giving over the last campaign.
Nestor Paz Galindo ’93, alumni councilor and co-chair of the EMEA Regional Campaign Committee, presented a case study about his constituency of international alumni and the campaign. He shared the numbers of undergraduate and graduate alumni by school and international region, as well as graduation decade by region. Dartmouth is far from these regions and so the campaign must go to these international alumni. This gives these alumni an opportunity to interact with faculty, students, administrators, and staff. Of particular interest is raising funds for need-blind admissions for international applicants.
Next, Laura Mattson ’89, New York Regional Campaign Committee member, talked about upcoming regional events to celebrate Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary and The Call to Lead. All are welcome and encouraged to attend these 12 events around the country.
Lunch was served in Alumni Hall as Trustee R. William Burgess ’81 provided an update from the Board of Trustees. He gave his perspective from serving as an alumni-nominated trustee for the past eight years, and as chair of the board’s finance committee.
Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lee Coffin spoke next. He feels storytelling is essential: that Dartmouth has a profound, ethereal, intellectual, confident, and playful sense of place. He and his team have reworked their approach to help applicants get excited about Dartmouth, and a new website launched in March. Profiles have been posted on the website of the winners of “Excellence in Teaching” awards. 64 percent of classes have fewer than 15 students. There is a new section on the website called “Cool Classes,” and several students who work in Admissions blog about their experience, as does Coffin. The information about affordability has been expanded. A new magazine called 3D shares more about Dartmouth’s people, programs, and place. The number of admissions officers has increased, and officers have dramatically increased visits to high schools. When students apply, their full range of qualities is reviewed–essays, interviews, and recommendations. It is a holistic review, need-blind, and 100 percent of full demonstrated need is met for accepted students. 57 nations are represented in the Class of 2022, and the yield rose dramatically last year.
“News You Need: Updates on Timely Topics” was broken into three sections. First, Kristi Clemens spoke about her role as Dartmouth's Title IX Coordinator and Clery Act Compliance Officer. Several reasons will bring a student to her office: 1) to share an incident without requesting further action 2) to share an incident and ask for support, accommodations, etc. 3) or a formal investigation of an incident. This year she will visit all 40 academic departments at Dartmouth for formal training on how to respond to sexual misconduct. The Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct met and reported to President Hanlon on its work. In October, President Hanlon announced that Dartmouth will strive to adopt a unified policy on sexual misconduct applicable to all members of the community—faculty, staff, and students. There was discussion about the lawsuit that had recently been filed against Dartmouth by former and current students following the departures of three faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
Next, Interim Vice President of Campus Services Steven Moore, spoke about the campus master plan, which includes long-range strategies for the campus. Physical planning interrelates buildings, infrastructure, landscape, parking and transportation, site ecology, and storm-water management. Moore showed slides of how the campus has existed over the years. In 1922, the college commissioned its first master plan from John Russell Pope. Pope was the architect for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, and he drew up the master plans for both Yale and Dartmouth. Some of the guiding principles for Pope’s plan are very instructive for the issues the College faces today and that will be part of a new master planning exercise: how we use the land; the college’s relationship to the town and region; meeting program needs and strategic initiatives; how we think about facilities renewal and adaptation; and how we think about infrastructure. In 1957, there was a deliberate decision made for the area and buildings surrounding the green to be undergraduate, with the professional schools moving out to the West End of the Campus. The college has continued to spread out through the town, with the only non-college portion being in the southwest area.
The project goals for the campus master plan include providing a framework to make short-term decisions with a long-term perspective; supporting the academic mission; identifying ways to sustain the campus and its systems; integrating existing planning work into a unified campus master plan; and providing a basis for planning and communication with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the broader community. Requests for proposals were received in late October, interviews occurred in November, and a governance structure is being developed to oversee the project.
Executive Vice President Rick Mills spoke about the recent shooting incident near campus. The College’s emergency preparedness response and notification system, DartAlert worked as planned and drilled. Students, faculty, and staff must opt into the DartAlert system, which sends warnings and other information through text and email. The College and the Town of Hanover are working on how to coordinate emergency notification efforts. Lessons were learned during the incident that could be applied to future situations.
This was followed by a session titled “Basecamp to the World: A Launchpad for Global Citizens.” The Class of 2022 hails from 57 countries. Associate Dean of Student Affairs Katherine Burke highlighted opportunities for international students, such as the King Scholar Leadership Program. The program seeks low-income students from developing nations who are interested in alleviating poverty in their home countries. The scholars receive four-year scholarships and extensive mentoring and leadership training. Upon graduation, they return home to tackle poverty issues, supported by Dartmouth’s alumni network. Melody Brown Burkins Gr'95 Gr'98, associate director for programs and research in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, showed a student-made film about international programs and talked about leadership opportunities such as the Great Issues Scholars and War & Peace Fellows. Senior Program Director Amy Newcomb described how the concept of “base camp to the world” has created many ways for students to engage, whether on campus, on leave terms, or as post-graduate fellows, though visitors and foreign affairs publications. International student recruitment has increased, thus expanding networks in other countries. Sarah Atac ’18 Th’19 explained how she built her own internship with a small NGO and the U.S. Department of State, working in Tbilisi, Georgia. She served as a War & Peace Fellow and is now a student advisor.
The Alumni Awards, Honorary Degrees, and Young Alumni Committees all met later that afternoon.
In the evening, councilors attended the Alumni Awards Gala. The festive dinner program opened with a welcome from Council President Tee Lotson ’82. Two alumni received the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Melanie Pastuck ’11 and John Valdez ’07 (who was unfortunately unable to attend due to an early winter snowstorm). Three outstanding alumni were honored with the Dartmouth Alumni Award: Edward Heald ’68, Harris McKee ’61 Th’63, and Lynne Hamel Gaudet ’81.
The ALC met for breakfast with Trustee S. Caroline Kerr ’05.
Alumni Council President-Elect Alec Casey ’88 opened the Saturday plenary session. Council President Lotson paid a brief tribute to former alumni councilor Beth Krakower ’93, who passed away earlier in the fall.
Beth Cook presented the alumni nominated trustee candidates. The Alumni Council voted unanimously to approve both candidates, Hilary Tompkins ’90 and Dan Black ’82. The approved slate would be announced to all alumni on November 19 via email and postcard.
The chairs and vice chairs of the Council committees reported on their meetings.
Next, the councilors participated in breakout sessions, during which they had the opportunity to visit two committees other than their own. The intention was to highlight and share the work of Alumni Council committees, tap into the expertise of councilors not on a particular committee to help with problem solving, and identify areas for collaboration.
The open forum commenced, with an open discussion period for councilors and open microphone for alumni.
The meeting was adjourned.
A debrief will be scheduled for the Executive Committee.