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Adopting a Classmate

Classmate adoption is a way to honor individuals who have served the class or Dartmouth with distinction.

Honor through Adoption

Classes may choose to recognize key members of their class communities through the formal adoption process. Careful thought and deliberation should be given when considering whether to extend an invitation for adoption. 

This honor should be reserved for very special or unique circumstances, by which the adoptee is made an official member of the class and an alum of the College. Adoption is reserved for those individuals who have made a significant impact on the class (and, by extension, on Dartmouth) and who are deserving of conferred alumni status as a member of the class community. Fewer than 350 individuals have received this honor in Dartmouth’s history.


An individual can hold a single affiliation to an undergraduate class at Dartmouth. An alum of one class may not be adopted by another class and no individual may be adopted by multiple classes. An alum of one of Dartmouth’s graduate schools may be adopted by an undergraduate class.

View of Baker Tower at sunset

Rights and Privileges

Adoption Process

Classes should follow these steps to adopt an individual as a member.

Step 1

Once a class identifies an adoption candidate, the class president notifies Volunteer Engagement to verify the candidate is not already a member of another class. If the candidate is already affiliated with an undergraduate class, either as an alum or by previous adoption, the candidate is not eligible for adoption.

Step 2

The class executive committee discusses the candidate and votes on whether an invitation to join the class should be extended to the individual. This conversation and the outcome of the vote is documented (e.g., in the form of minutes) by the class secretary.

Step 3

The class president extends the invitation to the potential adoptee.

Step 4

Upon acceptance by the candidate, the class president provides to Volunteer Engagement the documentation of the circumstances of adoption as well as full contact information for the adoptee, including:

  • Full name
  • Preferred mailing address
  • Email address
  • Phone number(s)

Step 5

Upon receipt from the class of the notice of adoption, Volunteer Engagement will initiate the adoption process including:

  • Filing the request for adoption with the Alumni Records Office
  • Preparation and mailing of a welcome letter from the vice president for alumni relations
  • Notice to adoptee of NetID assignment and claiming process, including instructions for accessing the Alumni Directory
  • Confirmation to class president of adoption completion

Step 6

The adoption is complete when Alumni Relations has mailed a welcome letter to the new classmate with a copy emailed to the class president.

Frequently Asked Questions