Strong Reunions Attendance Propels the Dartmouth College Fund

Reunions fueled the essential work of the Dartmouth College Fund and brought classes together for fun and conversation.

Class picture outside of Anonymous Hall at Reunions 2023

Jun 22, 2023

8 minute read

Giving News Reunions

Reunions returned to full strength this year, with members of the Dartmouth community gathering in Hanover to reconnect with cherished lifetime friends, support individual class projects, and celebrate each class’s support of financial aid through the Dartmouth College Fund.

More than 4,500 attendees, from as far away as Australia, Hong Kong, and South Africa, welcomed Dartmouth’s new president to the tradition of Reunions, honored late classmates, attended presentations, toured new and renovated buildings, sang, danced, and generally enjoyed several days of spirited good fun despite the wet weather.

A person in a green hoodie speaking into a microphone at the DGALA Breakfast in 2023.

Reunions also are traditionally a time when classes pay it forward, particularly through annual fund giving. The Dartmouth College Fund provides nearly half of all undergraduate financial aid, and Reunion classes traditionally contribute half of all DCF giving each fiscal year. With Reunion gifts still coming in before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, this year’s Reunion classes have so far committed more than $20 million to the DCF. 

 

Nearly 3,300 alumni representing 12 classes attended the 2023 June Reunions over a week’s time, joined by more than 1,200 spouses, partners, family members, and friends. Attendees came from across the globe, with more than 100 attendees traveling to Hanover from outside the U.S. It was the largest Reunions turnout since before the pandemic. 

“Dartmouth has always had a special, inclusive culture. It’s not like some schools where you have to be selected for a club or everyone’s elbowing their way past one another,” says Rick Routhier, president of the Class of 1973, which celebrated its 50th Reunion.

We welcome and embrace one another at Dartmouth, and that’s an attitude that carries through our alumni years. We love getting together and catching up with our classmates. It’s just a good emotional grounding.
- Rick Routhier ’73

A week of discovery, service, and reconnections

Adventurous Reunion attendees who took part in the Baker Bell Tower tour looked out on a campus filled with alumni who weren’t about to let the rain deter their time together. Events and open houses awaited alumni, with a wide selection of things to see and do.

Classes mingled at Friday’s ice cream social and enjoyed affinity group meetups, and everyone was invited to an alumni row at the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing Boathouse. Alumni were invited to Cook Auditorium on Saturday morning to hear President Sian Leah Beilock give one of her first formal addresses as Dartmouth’s 19th president. Nike CEO John Donahoe ’82 joined her for an engaging discussion on leadership and pleased the crowd when he presented President Beilock with a green-and-white pair of Nike shoes, which she sported for the rest of the conversation.

Each class had its own schedule of bespoke events to enjoy as well. Members of Class of 1963 reached back to their youth and recreated The Original Amateur Hour, a popular radio and television program that ran for many years.

After a rousing check presentation by the Class of 1968, Peter Wonson ’68 turned up the heat with a rock and roll performance with songs from Cream, the Rolling Stones, and Wilson Pickett. Wonson appears locally in the Better Days Band. 

There was water, water, everywhere as rowers from the Class of 1982 gathered on the docks at the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing Boathouse to celebrate the life of classmate Andy Gaillard and the gift of a boat which was dedicated to him just before his passing in the fall. The afternoon felt like a regatta with alumni boats from many classes out on the water, while a few brave souls reminisced with a plunge in the chilly Connecticut. Six classmates presented TED-style Talks to an appreciative audience of more than 200 attendees.

President Beilock joined the Class of 1983 and Board of Trustees Chair Liz Cahill Lempres ’83 TH’84 on Thursday for a hike up Mount Moosilauke. A class service project for Upper Valley Haven and dancing the night away on Friday to the Marsels in the class tent added to the fun.

The Class of 1984 hosted a Friday reception that gave alumni writers and artists an opportunity to share their work with classmates. Saturday morning tennis, a run, and spin classes put an active start on the day. A symposium on Ukraine and a DIY crafts and drafts session fed the creative juices. A reception and dinner were followed by socializing to the ’84s band Esoterix at Sawtooth Pub for a festive finish on the weekend.

President Beilock and the class of ’83 outside Moosilauke Lodge

Record-breaking gifts in support of the DCF

The Class of 1973 made their 50th reunion unforgettable in multiple ways. Members of the class have given a remarkable $61 million to Dartmouth through The Call to Lead campaign, and their Reunion class gift to the DCF is an emphatic exclamation point: $3.1 million. In addition, class members made a gift to design and improve “The Rise”—a quiet, wooded spot for contemplation at the highest point on campus, just above the Bema and adjacent to the Robert Frost statue and Bartlett Tower.

Class of 1977 member holding a large check over his head

With all class members sporting matching straw hats for the occasion, the ’73s cheered on the Class of 2023 at Commencement. Routhier recalls that he and several of his classmates first met the ’23s on the day they matriculated in 2019. “A group of us greeted every incoming freshman as they left Parkhurst after shaking hands with the president,” he says. “We handed them a class pin and a Spotify playlist of music that was meaningful to our class.”

Weatherwise, Reunions was déjà vu for members of the Class of 1998, with heavy rain bringing back memories of their Commencement 25 years ago. But nothing dampened their enthusiastic support for the DCF. Reunion Giving Co-Chairs Danielle Guthrie Johnson, Chris Egan, Abby Smith, and Lani Sipe Curtis have spearheaded a record-breaking fundraising push, with the ’98s committing more than $6 million for the DCF—exceeding their original goal of $5 million. One of their biggest achievements: 14 women in the class have joined the Centennial Circle of Dartmouth Alumnae by making gifts of $100,000 or more to the DCF.

“The Centennial Circle celebrating its 10th anniversary and Dartmouth welcoming its first female president inspired many women to step up to the plate in honor of their 25th Reunion,” says Johnson.

We’re all excited about what the future means for Dartmouth. There are so many big complex questions right now with AI, machine learning, and the role of higher education, and we believe Dartmouth has an opportunity to lead.
- Danielle Guthrie Johnson ’98

The Class of 2012 set a new 10th Reunion fundraising record of more than $500,000. And the Class of 2018, the youngest cohort of this year’s attendees, established a new mark for a fifth-year Reunion class, raising nearly $156,000 and breaking the former record of $112,000.

The Class of 1982 returned to Hanover after a trifecta of giving that made possible the Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center, Dartmouth’s largest construction project ever; the ’82 Racial Justice Initiative, which supports the African and African American Studies Program; and the Class of 1982 Great Issues Scholars Endowment.

Members of the Class of 1982, and attendees from all Reunions classes, delighted in touring the new engineering and computer science building as well as the nearby Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. Other buildings open for guests during Reunions included the Graham Family Indoor Practice Facility, the renovated and expanded Hood Museum of Art, and the reborn Dartmouth Hall—each constructed or renovated through The Call to Lead campaign, which closes on June 30.