Recipient of the 2017–18 Dartmouth Alumni Award

Kelton receiving award

Hailing from Peru, Vermont, you always knew you wanted to go to Dartmouth. You spent your early years in a one-room schoolhouse, and later attended Vermont Academy. There, your headmaster, a Dartmouth alumnus, enthusiastically encouraged your application to the College. A talented skier, you were excited about the opportunity to train and compete with the Dartmouth team.

Once on campus, you sampled a variety of courses. You decided to major in history, focusing on American history, and struck up a fast friendship with Professor Al Foley, chair of the history department, who was a popular figure in Hanover and famous for his after-dinner speeches. Outside of the classroom, you served as president of the Young Republicans, joined Alpha Chi Rho (now Alpha Chi Alpha) and the Dartmouth Forensic Union, and participated in the Dartmouth Outing Club. You taught a recreational instruction program in skiing, which at that time still took place on the golf course and at Oak Hill, as well as at the newly established Dartmouth Skiway.

After graduation, you spent a few years across the river in Burlington working on political campaigns and earning your masters degree in political science from the University of Vermont. Once you conquered the slopes of the Green Mountain State, you headed west, where Professor Foley joined you for the drive to Denver and introduced you to local alumni.  You worked as the head ski coach at the Whiteland School in Steamboat Springs, and later moved to Vail to serve as a ski instructor. Your path led you to a career in real estate, developing properties around Vail. You remain active with your firm, A. Kelton Jr. Real Estate Investments.

You’ve made another entire career out of volunteering for Dartmouth. Your involvement with the great Class of 1961 is incredibly deep and far-reaching, having served as class agent, head agent, gift planning chair, leadership agent for your Reunion Giving Committee, and class president. Under your leadership, in 1996 the Class of 1961 commissioned its tribute to the poet Robert Frost, who had left a lasting impression when you were students, and so made possible the installation of the beloved Robert Frost statue on campus. As an alumni interviewer, an alumni councilor, and as chair of the council’s Athletics Committee you’ve shared your talents with the broader alumni community. Your real estate experience proved a tremendous asset to the College’s real estate advisory committee, which managed the College’s non-institutional land holdings, and acted as an overseer of the Hanover Inn during its major renovation.

A beloved project was the publication of the book A Passion for Snow, on which you collaborated with your dear friend Steve Waterhouse ’65, Tu’67. The book was later made into a documentary of the same name, which premiered in 2013 during Dartmouth’s Winter Carnival. The story begins with the first Dartmouth Winter Carnival and traces 100-plus years of ski history through the present day.

As president of the Dartmouth Club of Vail, you’ve been instrumental in building a strong community of alumni in this western region. A signature of the club’s calendar is CarniVAIL, which attracts alumni skiers from across the country. For a few days in late winter, they come together to ski, enjoy educational programming, and share each other’s company. One of the benefits of your office’s location near the base of the Vail gondola is the constant stream of Dartmouth students and recent graduates who stop in to see you. You are delighted to help with a search for internships, offer advice, or just say hello.

You’re deeply involved in other philanthropic efforts in the Vail community, chairing the board of directors of the Vail Valley Medical Center. In addition, you still manage to hit the slopes often – you estimate 90 days a year!

By your side during this amazing journey has been your delightful wife Elaine; your loving daughters Courtney, Vanessa, and Ashley; and their families. Your incredible length and breadth of service to your college started in 1961 and continues to this day. You’ve seen how Dartmouth has changed over the years, and how it still creates an incredibly valuable experience for the students of today. We are indebted to you for your devotion to your alma mater, your enthusiasm, and your far-reaching vision. We are thrilled to honor you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.