The 216th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee. Alumni councilors attended a welcome and constituent question and answer session led by Alumni Council President Jacques “Jack” Steinberg ’88 and Vice President for Alumni Relations Martha J. Beattie ’76.
Afterwards, councilors attended dinner discussion groups focused on living and learning in the house communities in “The Onion” (House Center A) and “The Cube” (House Center B).
The morning began with meetings of the Academic Affairs; Alumni Service; Athletics; Communications, Enrollment and Admissions; Professional Development; and Student Affairs Committees. This was followed by a “back-to-the-classroom” experience, providing councilors with the opportunity to attend undergraduate classes located at various locations around campus. The Honorary Degrees Committee and the Young Alumni Committee also met at this time.
The lunch program commenced with the presentation of the Professor John Rassias Faculty Award. Academic Affairs Committee Chair David Silbersweig ’82 recognized this year’s recipients, Susan Ackerman ’80, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion; and Vicki May, professor of engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Council honored both professors with standing ovations. The Council then heard remarks from Hilary Tompkins ’90, former solicitor for the Department of the Interior.
The first plenary session opened with “Supporting Our Students,” with Rebecca Biron, dean of the College and professor of Spanish and comparative literature; and Dino Koff, director of financial aid. Dean Biron reviewed the Student Affairs campaign priorities. The renewal principles for the residential facilities will focus on strengthening Dartmouth’s residential campus and concentrating housing around an academic core; promoting intellectual engagement, community, and continuity; enabling renewal of existing housing stock; and building sustainable, high-quality buildings.
First generation/low income student support will focus on the First Year Student Experience Program endowment; barrier removal endowment to provide resources for low-income students to participate fully in Dartmouth life; and peer academic coaching endowment. Mental health engagement and suicide prevention efforts include clinical support and outreach programs. The leadership project will be a new, comprehensive four-year co-curriculum in leadership for all Dartmouth undergraduates in partnership with Student Affairs, the Rockefeller Center, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, the Tuck School of Business, and other campus partners. Program elements will include targeted workshops, experiential learning programs, for-credit courses, internships, and offices held in student organizations. Experiential learning and internships will be hosted in the Center for Social Impact, the Tucker Center for Spiritual and Ethical Life, and the DCAL Social Impact Practica and Student Experiential Learning Fund. Bridges to Impact will support new and aspiring social impact professionals through the creation of alumni mentoring/networking communities in select cities. The Center for Professional Development’s First Year and Sophomore Program Endowment will focus on skill and interest assessment, career exploration, resume development, and expanded employer recruitment initiatives.
Koff explained how The Call to Lead Campaign will support financial aid. Dartmouth has committed to eliminating loans from financial aid packages, extending need-blind admissions to international students, providing full financial aid for foreign study and other off-campus learning programs, and securing more endowed funds for scholarships. The sustainability of these efforts depends on philanthropy.
A discussion on financial aid and house communities ensued, facilitated by Ellie Mahoney Loughlin ’89, trustee and campaign co-chair. Councilors voiced their support for the financial aid efforts and house communities, and vowed to continue to educate their constituents about these initiatives.
Sherri Oberg ’82 Tu’86, trustee emerita, moderated a panel titled “Big Bets on Discovery,” featuring David Kotz ’86, interim provost and Champion International Professor in the department of Computer Science; Steven Leach, director, Norris Cotton Cancer Center; and Ross Virginia, Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science and director, Institute of Arctic Studies.
Oberg described how Dartmouth is looking ahead at big global challenges and potential solutions. By optimizing Dartmouth’s unique scale and composition, these solutions can raise the College’s global profile and attract the brightest students. Fueled by early gifts to the campaign, the College has created 10 interdisciplinary academic clusters, each targeting a major global concern. Kotz talked about the global problem of energy and how the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is connecting with faculty and students to consider a new foreign study program.
Leach explained how the Norris Cotton Cancer Center is only one of 49 comprehensive centers nationwide. Cancer touches everyone, and this center is able to help a largely underserved rural population. Faculty members hail from the Thayer School of Engineering, Geisel School of Medicine, and the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. This “One Dartmouth” approach is creating a global impact. For example, Geisel faculty are examining healthcare costs/outcomes across the United States through the Dartmouth Atlas Project.
Virginia described how Dartmouth’s long history in the Arctic started with the explorations of John Ledyard. Dartmouth’s Institute of Arctic Studies examines Arctic policy and pressing global environmental issues. Students will accompany Virginia on an upcoming Dartmouth alumni travel trip to collaborate on research.
The Council attended breakout sessions on this topic, facilitated by Laurel J. Richie ’81, chair, Board of Trustees and campaign co-chair; and Campaign Executive Committee members Charles E. Haldeman Jr. ’70, Caroline Hribar ’00, and Anne Kubik ’87.
A panel titled “Dartmouth: The Preeminent Institution for the Teacher-Scholar” was moderated by Elizabeth F. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and featured panelists William Cheng, associate professor of music; Katie Hornstein, associate professor of art history; and Robyn Millan, the Margaret Anne and Edward Leede ’49 Distinguished Professor. Dartmouth’s teacher-scholar model features and supports professors who lead challenging classes, are available to their students outside the classroom, and bring new research-based knowledge back to the classroom.
Cheng described his research on music and the human body and underscored the powerful impact of having students of different viewpoints study together. Part of Millan’s research involved launching balloons in Antarctica, and she reiterated how working with students in the field allowed them to build skills and interpersonal relationships. Hornstein specializes in 19th century French art and visual culture, and she described how much she enjoys the teaching process. All three professors frequently teach classes with fewer than 20 students.
The Council attended breakout sessions on the teacher-scholar topic, facilitated by Campaign Executive Committee members.
Following a reception in the Hayward Ballroom of the Hanover Inn, the evening dinner program opened with greetings from Alumni Council President Jack Steinberg, who thanked retiring alumni councilors for their three-year term of service. After dinner, “Dartmouth’s Deans: Visions for Distinction and Differentiation” featured Duane A. Compton, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine; Joseph J. Helble, dean of the Thayer School of Engineering (who had been named provost of the College earlier that day); Praveen Kopalle, associate dean, Tuck School of Business; F. Jon Kull ’88, dean of the Frank J. Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies; and Elizabeth Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The evening concluded with a toast to Beattie, in recognition of her extraordinary relationship with the Council as vice president for alumni relations, and the singing of the alma mater.
The Alumni Liaison Committee met for breakfast with chair of the Board of Trustees Laurel Richie and trustee Ellie Loughlin.
Alumni Council President-Elect Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ’82 opened the Saturday plenary session. First on the agenda was a report from the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Chair Alyse Streicher ‘95 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 2018 the Nominating Committee will consider recommendations for the alumni-nominated trustee seat. 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; affirmation of appointments specified in the Alumni Council constitution; and some specified positions on the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine editorial board. Streicher called for a vote to approve the appointments of the undergraduate representatives, graduate program representatives, Alumni Liaison Committee at-large members, Alumni Council at-large representatives, and affiliated group representatives (as required by the Alumni Council constitution).