Otho Kerr '79: Dartmouth Alumni Award Recipient, 2006-07


Otho Kerr '79, recipient of the Dartmouth Alumni Award, and Martha Beattie '76, Alumni Council president

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "To leave the world a better place - whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or an improved social condition - that is to have succeeded. That only one life breathed easier because you lived - that is success." This could be the guiding philosophy by which you, Otho, have lived your life.

Coming to Hanover from Waltham, Massachusetts, you proved yourself to be a true leader on campus. You majored in government and received a citation for excellence in English from Professor Bill Cook. Fondly recalling his class you have commented that "Going to Professor Cook's class was like going to the theatre." Your hours were filled with a multitude of extracurricular activities including service on the freshman, sophomore and junior class councils followed by election as senior class president. You also were a member of the glee club; the student advisory committee; Phi Delta Alpha fraternity; Fire and Skoal senior society; Green Key Society; and the Dartmouth Chamber Singers. In addition, you spent many hours enjoying the New Hampshire countryside running along the Connecticut River and up to Lyme as a member of the Varsity Track and Cross Country teams.As a senior, Dartmouth honored you with the Barrett All-Around Achievement Cup.

You proceeded to receive a law degree from Harvard University before joining the firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett in New York City. Shifting gears to the financial world your impressive career has included positions at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Morgan Greenfell and Bernstein Investment Research & Management. Currently you are an executive director at Oppenheimer & Company.

The demands of your career would seem overwhelming for us mere mortals, but somehow you have made time to expend an extraordinary amount of effort on behalf of your alma mater.Volunteer roles have included your reunion and reunion giving committees; class agent; participation chairman; regional agent; special gifts agent; leadership agent and the Dartmouth College Fund Committee, where you currently serve as chairman of the Participation Task Group.In addition, you have been a member of the Dartmouth Alumni Council, serving as president and chairman of the College Relations Group as well as a member of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.One of the volunteer roles near and dear to your heart was membership on the Tucker Foundation Board of Visitors, which you also chaired.

No less time has been spent in community affairs, where much of your work has emphasized educating children about diversity and inclusiveness.You co-founded and directed the One to One Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in Harlem; served as a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership program; sponsored the New York City Student Sponsorship Program; and served on the boards of directors of the EOS Orchestra, Volunteers of America and the Empire State Pride Agenda.In addition, you are a trustee of PAX (a movement to end gun violence) and you teach Sunday school at the Trinity Church.However, the program that gives you most pride is Tabasamu (Searching for Smiles), founded by your partner, Dr. Trey Wilson, in 2004. The two of you have worked together tirelessly to provide free dental care and education to underserved communities in Kitale, Kenya, where one dentist serves the 300,000 residents of that area.Your Tabasamu team, composed of dental professionals and non-professionals, recently returned from a 10-day mission providing these desperately needed services.

Where did this sense of justice and compassion come from? You credit your family--your twin brother, parents, and sister. They have served as a source of inspiration to you throughout your life and you happily proclaim that you are virtually inseparable.

Otho, in recognition of the commitment you have made to your alma mater, your profession, your family and society, we are immensely proud and honored to present you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.

Martha Beattie '76
Dartmouth Alumni Council