The Dartmouth Alumni Council gathered for its spring meeting on May 15, the first virtual meeting in its 107-year existence. In addition to the Council members, 80 former Councilors joined the meeting, a record number.
Attendees heard substantive remarks from President Philip J. Hanlon '77, campus leaders, and five trustees on how Dartmouth has responded nimbly and in innovative ways to the coronavirus pandemic.
Career Support Challenge
Cheryl Bascomb, vice president of alumni relations, called on all alumni to help the Dartmouth '20s through a new career support challenge. The goal is to provide 50 new short- or long-term work opportunities by June 12. Alumni can also help '20s by sharing expertise in networking and skill development. Find out more about the career support challenge.
Questions can be directed to Dartmouth Alumni Relations at Dartmouth.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lifting Up the Class of 2020
President Hanlon urged alumni to lift up the Class of 2020. "They will depart the Dartmouth campus missing their senior spring and the opportunity to celebrate together at Commencement. Moreover, they are entering a world where the health of our communities is in peril and the economy is reeling.
"My ask of you is to rally the alumni community to let the Class of '20 know that Dartmouth cares and that the Dartmouth fellowship is there for them, now and forever."
The president also issued a clear call to alumni to help students through support of the Dartmouth College Fund. In face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dartmouth is strengthening its efforts through the new Presidential Commission on Financial Aid to ensure access for all students to a Dartmouth liberal arts education. One goal is to expand the family-income threshold for a full-tuition scholarship to $125,000.
"Together," said President Hanlon, "we must galvanize the Dartmouth community around this simple proposition: Dartmouth's life-changing education should be attainable for talented students regardless of their financial circumstances."
Staying True to Our Mission
The president, deans, and trustees shared examples of how Dartmouth has stayed true to its mission in research, teaching, and leadership in the world, during this pandemic.
President Hanlon noted that Dartmouth faculty are making breakthroughs in COVID-19 research on testing, contact-tracing, and therapies to battle coronavirus. Dartmouth alumni are working on the front lines, managing the pandemic from many angles. Examples include health policy expert Susan Dentzer '77, infectious disease expert Daniel Lucey '77, and Emily Wroe '03, who was recognized for her work in contact-tracing for the state of Massachusetts.
The president and deans also shared how faculty and staff have done a superb job to mount virtual learning for spring term. In total, 94 percent of scheduled spring courses have been offered as planned, a transformation that happened in just two weeks.
In the business part of the meeting, the Council recommended changes to the composition and committee structure of the Council to maximize its mission and to have access to alumni sentiment from all corners of the alumni body. The Council recommended an increase in representation for international alumni, Women of Dartmouth, and older alumni (post-55th reunion).
All recommendations were passed by the Council, 73 to 18. The Council elected Laurie Lewis Shapiro '95 to serve as president-elect. Rachel Bogardus Drew '98 will be Council president for 2020-21.
By the meeting's end, Alumni Councilors voiced strong support for President Hanlon, campus leaders, and trustees.
All Hands On Deck
"The Alumni Council understands Dartmouth's critical needs as an institution," said Council President Alec Casey '88. "They are ready to rally for Dartmouth and help students. They also want to know how the College is handling remote learning, what are the plans and ideas around reopening campus, and how we will ensure faculty and student safety. Alumni are always looking for ways that they can help with the current challenges the College is facing."
"I so appreciate the engagement of the Alumni Council," said Laurel Richie '81, chair of the Board of Trustees. "Among the many things you do to support Dartmouth is being incredible ambassadors for Dartmouth. I am finding this moment inspiring because all of us are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach during these challenging times. I am so grateful that our community is linking arms and supporting each other."