222nd Council Session Message | May 13-14, 2021

Rachel Bogardus Drew '98
Rachel Bogardus Drew '98
President, 2020-21

The Dartmouth Alumni Council met last week for its 222nd meeting—the third virtual meeting in the Council’s 108-year history. This meeting came just weeks after a special Council session held in April, during which we discussed changes to off-campus programs, received an update on the athletics department, and learned about efforts to return to full, in-person learning on campus this fall. For our traditional meeting, we again shared your questions, ideas, and feedback with President Hanlon, members of the Board of Trustees, and other campus leaders, and heard their updates. We also discussed progress on the three Council priorities for the year: increasing diversity and inclusion in our alumni communities, supporting alumni with career development, and stepping up for our students through expanded financial aid. Below are just a few of the headlines from our jam-packed meeting.

Dartmouth is taking concrete steps to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus.

In a wide-ranging session that tackled topics from faculty diversity to iconography, it was clear that diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities as Dartmouth seeks to advance racial equity and educate and cultivate the next generation of leaders. President Hanlon shared a commitment to create a community in which difference is valued, where each individual’s identity and contributions are treated with respect, and where diversity leads to a strengthened identity for all. He also introduced us to incoming Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Shontay Delalue, who joins the administration this summer but is already hard at work thinking about opportunities to advance equity and belonging on campus. 

Special Advisor to the President Matt Delmont announced new initiatives to the Council to further this work, including recruitment of early career faculty to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion; development of a pipeline of future BIPOC leaders in STEM fields; an accelerator fund for diversity, equity, and inclusion; fostering an intellectual hub for Black scholars; the launch of a tribal services and solutions project; and increasing faculty teaching and research on racial injustice. The Council was also the first to hear of an impactful gift from Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe ’81 and John Donahoe ’82 to enhance the representation, success, and leadership of historically underrepresented groups in STEM nationally in honor of E.E. Just, the African American scientific trailblazer and valedictorian of the Class of 1907, which will be an integral part of the new DEI initiatives. Read more about these initiatives and the Donahoes' generous gift via Dartmouth News

The Alumni Council is committed to supporting these efforts and keeping you informed of progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We welcome your questions and thoughts and invite you to join us in creating a more diverse Dartmouth.

Students and faculty are working together on world-changing research.

The Council was also treated to presentations from some exciting faculty-student research collaborations. We heard from Professor of Economics Bruce Sacerdote ’90 and Ranjan Sehgal ’22 about their study of negative media coverage during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was recently featured on the front page of The New York Times and has helped both journalists and consumers of news contextualize information about the pandemic. Government Professor Brendan Nyhan and his students Margaret Doyle '22, Nicolas Berlinski '21, and Gabrielle Levy '22 also shared findings from their research on social media exposure and perceptions of election fraud. Finally, Professor Emerita of Pharmacology and Toxicology Ruth Craig and Princilla Minkah ’21 discussed new information they recently gleaned from the 1918 pandemic and the lessons we are still learning about the effects of virulent outbreaks. It was inspirational to see the partnerships and the quality of the work being done!

A virtual year and more connections for Dartmouth alumni.

Vice President of Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82 updated the Council on learnings from a virtual year and highlighted unique programs that have been developed for the global Dartmouth alumni community, including the Dartmouth NEXT virtual forum of big ideas. I encourage you to join your fellow alumni for these online events, which really highlight the breadth and depth of expertise and innovation within the Dartmouth Community. Cheryl also shared that Alumni Relations will be working over the next few months to develop a mix of both in-person and virtual events to continue bringing the alumni community closer together.

On the topic of connections, the Council is also committed to stepping up for the newest Dartmouth alumni. The job market for new graduates is still one of the toughest in our lifetimes, and the Council’s Professional Development Committee is partnering with the College to find alumni-sourced jobs and internship opportunities for the ’20s and ’21s. If you have or know of an opportunity for a new alum, please share your job or internship posting via Dartmouth Connect, LinkedIn, or through the Center for Professional Development.

In an effort to promote service but recognizing there still are limitations, the month of May has been dedicated as a “Season of Service.” Everyone is encouraged to serve their community in a way that is comfortable and follows local community guidelines. I hope you’ll participate and post a photo on social media using the hashtag #DartmouthServes.

Finally, if you would like more information about the Alumni Council meeting, please read the meeting minutes and share comments and questions with your Council rep or the Council’s Alumni Liaison Committee.

It has been my pleasure to serve Dartmouth and its alumni as Alumni Council president, and I'm honored to pass the gavel to Laurie Lewis Shapiro ’95, who will serve in this role in 2021–2022. 

For Dartmouth,

Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98
Alumni Council President