The 218th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee. The rest of the Alumni Council enjoyed a Master Planning Campus Walking Tour. The outgoing and incoming Executive Committee and affiliated group representatives met to discuss best practices. Alumni councilors attended a welcome and briefing session led by Alumni Council President Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ’82 and Vice President for Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82.
Afterwards, councilors attended a reception and dinner in Alumni Hall. Notable speaker Chris Demos-Brown ’86 spoke about his Broadway play American Son. Council President Lotson thanked retiring alumni councilors for their service, and the evening concluded with the singing of the alma mater.
The morning began with meetings of the Academic Affairs, Alumni and Student Engagement, Alumni Service, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Professional Development committees.
The Council came together for the first plenary session, “The Call to Serve and Alumni Day of Service,” presented by Bascomb and Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98, chair of the Alumni Service Committee. The Call to Serve is an opportunity to celebrate Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary with 250,000 hours of service. Dartmouth has a strong legacy of service throughout its history, and alumni volunteer in a myriad of ways. An advisory committee has provided perspective in creating this initiative. Dartmouth students volunteer though a variety of channels, the Center for Social Impact, through house communities, and athletic teams. All community members (including student, faculty/staff, and alumni) can log volunteer hours through an online portal on The Call to Serve’s website.
The Alumni Day of Service is an annual event developed by the Alumni Council’s Service Committee to engage alumni through volunteerism. The initiative has grown over time, and in this fifth year, 54 service projects were organized, with 2,672 hours of service recorded in one day. The Day of Service created an opportunity to promote The Call to Serve, as the committee achieved broad outreach to clubs and groups. Local alumni groups will continue to promote The Call to Serve throughout the rest of 2019. A Call to Serve project will take place in Mexico City this fall. Other notable upcoming service opportunities include projects offered at Reunions in June and before the Dartmouth football game at Yankee Stadium on November 9.
At the conclusion of the session, the councilors participated in a letter writing service project benefitting two nonprofit organizations. The Honorary Degrees Committee and the Young Alumni Committee also met during this time.
A luncheon program was held in Alumni Hall. Laurel Richie ’81, chair of the Board of Trustees, provided an update from the Board. Richie thanked the Council for supporting the vision for Dartmouth and for communicating Dartmouth’s direction and priorities to alumni. In January, Dartmouth launched a yearlong celebration of its 250th anniversary with a re-argument of the Dartmouth College Case at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.; the event was repeated in Hanover on March 1. There was a “greenlighting” of landmarks around the world, and there have been regional celebrations throughout the U.S. At the same time The Call to Lead campaign has been embraced by the Dartmouth community, and recently passed the $2B mark.
In January, Dartmouth launched the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I). Its third pillar is a comprehensive set of initiatives to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for Dartmouth students, faculty and staff. It follows the recommendations made in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report.
Richie invited questions and comments from the Council. Many of these focused on the lawsuit brought by seven former and current students who are challenging how Dartmouth handled the response to the students’ complaints of sexual misconduct involving three former faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Richie thanked the councilors for sharing the sentiments of their constituents.
The session concluded with the presentation of the Professor John Rassias Faculty Award. Academic Affairs Committee chair Brandi Johnson ’01 recognized this year’s recipient, Professor of Mathematics Dorothy Wallace, for her outstanding service to alumni, through her extensive contributions to alumni travel trips and Dartmouth on Location events.
Next on the agenda was a tour of the newly renovated Hood Museum of Art. Alumni councilors were greeted by John Stomberg, the Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director of the Hood Museum of Art, and Juliette Bianco ’94, deputy director. Curators were on hand to guide councilors through the galleries.
The second plenary session opened with an overview of the Dartmouth Strategic Master Plan. Director of Campus Planning Joanna Whitcomb explained the scope and the goals of the plan. A 30-person advisory group has requested input in thinking about the future of the campus. The master planning team includes Beyer Blinder Belle, an architecture and planning firm, and considerations of landscape architecture, sustainability planning, and parking and transportation. Priorities include academics and research, residential life and the house system, campus life and wellness, athletics, administration, access and inclusion, and community. Spatial themes to consider are buildings, landscapes, mobility and parking, accessibility, information technology, stormwater, sustainability, and wayfinding and signage. The data being gathered in this kickoff phase will inform preliminary concepts—including outreach, visioning, principles, site studies, and synthesis—before a draft and subsequent final master plan is created.
The master plan team includes the executive committee and the advisory committee, with input from the College community as well as the town and region. The deans of all five schools have been interviewed, along with faculty, senior leadership, and Student Affairs staff. The community engagement phase took place in April and May, and included meetings with students as well as the Hanover, Lebanon, and Norwich planning offices; a public open house; a faculty, staff, and student survey; an alumni and community website survey; and a workshop with the Hanover Town staff. A working group reviewed the master plan’s scope and has hosted several workshops this spring. Whitcomb polled the Council on various questions, such as locations they had visited on campus. Next steps in the planning process include continuing to solicit input; completing data collection; conducting site, property, and building analyses; and developing draft principles.
The next presentation focused on the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I). Provost Joe Helble and Theodosia Cook, the initiative’s director, provided background. C3I is the third pillar (along with Moving Dartmouth Forward and Inclusive Excellence) in a comprehensive set of initiatives designed to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environment for all Dartmouth students, faculty and staff. It was developed by President Hanlon and the administrative and academic leadership teams. The plan draws on the work of the Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct, chaired by Professor Leslie Henderson. In October 2018 a unified sexual misconduct policy was announced. C3I was launched in January 2019 and expanded upon the recommendations from the groundbreaking June 2018 report from NASEM.
Regarding campus climate, department climate reviews are ongoing. Thus far 94% of Dartmouth faculty and staff have undergone mandatory Title IX training. Forensic experiential trauma interview training is ongoing in coordination with the Department of Safety and Security and the Hanover Police Department, and unified sexual misconduct policies are being implemented. A policy in action working group has been formed. All Dartmouth students must participate in a sexual violence prevention project (SVPP). SVPP aims to reduce sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and harassment on Dartmouth's campus through a four-year prevention and education experience.
In terms of academic and professional development, faculty leadership training is ongoing, and research advisory committees have been formed. Funding has been increased to recruit underrepresented minorities and women. Resources have been expanded, including the Title IX office and the number of mental health professionals on staff. An external advisory committee will measure the work of C3I and provide an annual progress report.
The final afternoon agenda item was a report from the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Chair Beth Donohoe Cook ’94 thanked the alumni councilors who ran for leadership positions. She outlined the purpose of the committee: to identify, recruit, and attract the best alumni to serve on the Board of Trustees, in Alumni Council leadership positions, and in other critical alumni leadership roles. The composition of the Nominating Committee is purposefully representative of the alumni body, composed of the president, the president-elect, the past Nominating Committee chair, one appointed councilor, and six elected councilors.
In the fall of 2019, the Nominating Committee will consider recommendations for the three upcoming alumni-nominated trustee seats. The committee has met several times this year, and its working agenda also includes consideration of Alumni Council leadership roles, the Nominating Committee slate, the Alumni Liaison Committee slate, and the president-elect slate; the Alumni Council at-large appointments; affirmation of class, club, and affiliated group councilor appointments; and affirmation of appointments specified in the Alumni Council constitution. Cook called for a vote to approve the Alumni Liaison Committee at-large member and the Alumni Council at-large representatives. The Council acknowledged the appointments of the undergraduate representatives, graduate program representatives, and affiliated group representatives. Cook then presented the nominated slates for the president-elect, Alumni Liaison Committee, and the Nominating Committee. An electronic voting process enabled those not in attendance to vote, and councilors were reminded to cast their votes, with the election results to be announced later in the plenary.
That evening the councilors attended The Call to Lead Campaign Celebration and Dartmouth Turns 250! Party.
The Alumni Liaison Committee met for breakfast with chair of the Board of Trustees Richie and Ellie Mahoney Loughlin ’89, trustee and campaign co-chair.
Alumni Council president-elect Alec Casey ’88 opened the Saturday plenary session.
First on the schedule was a session titled “Round the Girdled Earth: Global Summits and International Alumni Engagement”. Nestor Paz-Galindo ’93, the international rep for the Alumni Council and co-chair for the Latin America Regional Committee for The Call to Lead, presented with Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88. Lasher described the barriers to participation for international alumni and efforts underway to keep them connected to Dartmouth. When designing The Call to Lead campaign, planners wanted to make it as inclusive as possible, so everyone could participate at any level. Of recent event attendees, 27% had not been to a Dartmouth event in the past three years. Other outreach efforts have focused on entrepreneurs, women’s philanthropy, and young alumni.
Paz-Galindo explained how efforts are being made to build Dartmouth’s reputation as a global institution. There can be great distance from Dartmouth in miles and experience. The Admissions Ambassador Program is an important way to increase awareness with international applicants. Only five colleges offer 100% need-blind admissions for international applicants, and Dartmouth would like to join those ranks. It is important to help international applicants understand the teacher-scholar model. The international Call to Lead campaign committees have been instrumental in connecting with alumni who have not previously been involved. Our international communities also include parents. Most alumni who are living outside the U.S. graduated in recent decades. As part of the 250th anniversary and The Call to Lead campaign, Dartmouth is planning a series of global summits in London, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Lima.
Chairs of the standing Alumni Council committees reported on the meetings held the day prior.
The open forum commenced. Casey announced the Alumni Council leadership election results. Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98 was elected president-elect of the Alumni Council. Jo Golub ‘98 and Karyn Calcano ’97 Tu’91 were elected to the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Whitney Flynn ’07 Tu’16 was elected to the Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC), and Julie Park Hubble ’87 was appointed to the ALC from the alumni body. An open discussion period for councilors followed, along with an open microphone for alumni.
The meeting was adjourned.