The 215th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with a luncheon meeting of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. The Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) met later that afternoon. First-year councilors attended an orientation session with Council leadership. All councilors were invited to participate in a “meet and greet” reception with students, sponsored by the Professional Development Committee.
In the evening, alumni councilors attended their individual committee meetings in various locations around campus.
After an early breakfast, alumni councilors traveled via bus to the newly opened Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in Warren, NH. Here, the plenary session commenced with a welcome from Alumni Council President Jacques (Jack) Steinberg ’88. Director of Outdoor Programs Dan Nelson ’75 provided a brief history of the Lodge, and students who serve as Lodge crew members led tours of the facility. The next item on the agenda was a student panel discussion focused on “sense of place,” featuring Jessica Jones ’18, Rachel Muir ’20, and Doug Phipps ’17. The Council then discussed this topic further in breakout groups. Lunch, prepared and served by the Lodge crew, featured a surprise reading of Dr. Seuss’ (Theodor Seuss Geisel ’25) Green Eggs and Ham by Professor Don Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities.
Upon returning to campus, alumni councilors attended “Pathways to Leadership: A Strategic Vision for Dartmouth.” In this keynote session, council members were invited to discuss the emerging academic vision for Dartmouth and the critical forces that are inspiring the institution to chart a course of distinction and differentiation. The program featured a panel discussion on the strategic vision and brand work of the past year, plans for a campaign to resource that vision, and aspirational outcomes for Dartmouth’s future positioning. Participants included President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith, Vice President for Communications Justin Anderson, Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88, Trustee and Campaign Co-chair Ellie Loughlin ’89, Scott Stuart ’81, Anne Kubik ’87, and Aly Jeddy ’93.
Lasher opened the session with a greeting and shared a video highlighting the key pillars of President Hanlon’s vision. Dartmouth represents the fusion of a renowned liberal arts college and a robust research university where students and faculty partner to take on the world’s great challenges. Liberal arts are at the core, and scholars who love to teach are leaders in their field, devoted teachers and mentors. Dartmouth, with its profound sense of place and adventuresome spirit, provides a base camp to the world.
President Hanlon then addressed the group, noting that the College’s rankings are rising, and that the recently matriculated Class of 2021 is the most academically qualified in the history of the College. He underscored the imperative that a Dartmouth education be available to students of all backgrounds.
The Call to Lead campaign is a comprehensive campaign involving all schools, all programs, and all types of gifts. The priorities of the campaign include: supporting the teacher-scholar model; expansion of the West End; betting on discovery; transforming the residential experience; leadership development through experiential learning; and financial aid.
Dean Smith talked about Dartmouth’s devotion to the teacher-scholar model. She described members of the faculty as pioneers and explorers, and highlighted the outstanding contributions of professors such as Mary Flanagan and Mary Lou Guerinot. Recruitment of outstanding faculty is a resource-intensive proposition.
Anderson led the alumni councilors through a strategic framework that he had originally shared with them last spring. It is meant to articulate Dartmouth’s authentic, distinctive character and is meant to be embraced across the institution. Community members can use it to talk about Dartmouth in a consistent way. In closing, councilors were invited to share observations and ask the panel questions about the campaign and other campus topics.
The Alumni Awards, Honorary Degrees, and Young Alumni Committees all met later that afternoon.
In the evening, councilors attended the Alumni Awards Gala. The festive dinner program opened with a welcome from Jack Steinberg and President Hanlon. Two alumni received the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Kevin Hudak ’07 and Heiyab Tessema ’04, Th’05, Th’06. Two alumni were honored with the Dartmouth Alumni Award: Sherri C. Oberg ’82, Tu’86 and Arthur M. Kelton ‘61.
The ALC met for breakfast with Trustee Emily Bakemeier ’82.
Alumni Council President-Elect Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ‘82 opened the Saturday plenary session. Bakemeier provided an update from the Board of Trustees. While on campus, she had attended the Alumni Awards Gala and commented on how inspiring she found the recipients. She serves as the Board of Trustee’s liaison to the Hood Museum of Art, and had just taken a hard-hat tour of the new building site.
Bakemeier praised the new chair of the Board of Trustees, Laurel Richie ’81, for her leadership and emphasis on transparency. The board is excited to support the vision of President Hanlon. Academic excellence is a priority, and is exemplified by the cluster initiative, which extends Dartmouth's impact on the world through interdisciplinary faculty teams who collaborate at the leading edge of discovery; and by the Society of Fellows, an interdisciplinary community that supports the integration of research and teaching excellence.
Diversity and inclusion are of paramount importance for Dartmouth, and the entire Board of Trustees just underwent training in this realm. Recruitment and retention of excellent faculty is crucial. There are several construction projects going on all over campus. The upcoming capital campaign will focus on fiscal priorities. The session finished with a question and answer period.
Next on the agenda was a Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee update, provided by chair Alyse Streicher ‘95. She outlined the purpose and composition of the committee. The committee nominates candidates for Alumni Council positions; formally appoints councilors based on recommendations from class, affiliated groups, regions, etc.; and recommends alumni candidates for the Alumni Council to nominate to the Board of Trustees. The committee is a cross-section of the Alumni Council composed of the president, the president-elect, the past Nominating Committee chair, one appointed councilor, and six elected councilors. Members include Adrienne “Tee” Lotson ‘82, David Silbersweig ‘82, Eric Taylor ‘84, Jack Steinberg ‘88, Laura Mattson ‘89, Monica Higgins ’86, Tu’90, John Banks ‘90, Steven Tseng ’95, Tu’01, Alyse Streicher ‘95 (chair), and Elizabeth Cook ’94.
The Alumni Council, which is representative of Dartmouth’s alumni body, is responsible for selecting alumni nominated trustees. The Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for the financial, administrative, and academic affairs of the College. It is comprised of eight alumni-nominated trustees, 16 charter trustees, and two ex-officio members (the President of the College and Governor of New Hampshire). The Board’s responsibilities include fiduciary responsibility, appointment of faculty and officers, purchase and disposition of property, awarding of degrees, and approval of new programs and initiatives. Over the next four years, all eight of the current alumni-nominated trustees will rotate off the Board of Trustees.
Streicher described how Dartmouth needs to attract the strongest trustee candidates, given the enormous complexity of the institution, financial challenges of the higher education model, increasingly global nature of the College, competitive environment for talent and resources, and the critical role of higher education today. The Nominating Committee’s objective is to conduct a process that is broad-based, open and inclusive; thorough and rigorous; respectful and discreet; and independent.
Trustee candidates should demonstrate the following qualities: broad service/passion for Dartmouth; demonstrated ability to govern; responsible fiduciary; strategic and critical thinker; ability to work with complex concepts; demonstrated courage of conviction, respect and integrity; outstanding leader of organization/profession; constructive and collaborative participant (previous board experience is important); and able to bring an accretive perspective to the Board.
In June, Dartmouth alumni were invited to share trustee recommendations. Later in the summer the Alumni Council voted to nominate one candidate for each of the two vacancies. All nominations were thoroughly reviewed, researched, and vetted by the Nominating Committee. Hundreds of alumni have been considered since the last trustee election in 2013. Background checks and pre-referencing were conducted through multiple sources on multiple prospects. The Alumni Council voted unanimously to approve both candidates, Jeffrey M. Crowe ’78 and Elizabeth Cahill Lempres ’83, Th’84. The approved slate will be announced to all alumni on October 30 via email and hard copy postcard.
In 2014, Dartmouth alumni passed an amendment to the Association of Alumni constitution which eliminates the requirement of alumni-wide balloting if there is an uncontested slate. The 2018 vacancies will be the first since the amendment was approved by 89 percent of voting alumni. The deadline for petition candidates is January 4, 2018. If the slate is contested, an election will be held in February and March, with the results announced at the Association of Alumni annual meeting on March 14, 2018. The Board of Trustees will then vote to seat the candidates.
The open forum commenced, with an open discussion period for councilors and open microphone for alumni.
The meeting was adjourned.
An Executive Committee debrief was scheduled for early November.