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Chalking the Talk

Donald Pease
Professor Donald Pease discussed Dr. Seuss's experience as a Dartmouth student.

Before every home football game this past fall, the alumni continuing education and travel office, which is part of alumni relations, offered the Faculty Chalk Talk seminar series. The theme wasn't football strategy, however. The Saturday morning one-hour program, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., offered alumni and other members of the Dartmouth community a chance to learn from, and interact with, faculty. The 2004 season marked the second successful year of this program, which will be held again during the 2005 football season.

"So far, the alumni have raved about the program," says Christopher Coleman, assistant director of alumni continuing education and travel. "One of the more popular comments was that the series added to the activities available."

Coleman says the informal, casual environment is one of the key elements of each chalk talk. "The seminars were free, and so were the refreshments. No reservations were required, and we promised not to quiz or test anyone who attended. We preferred blue jeans over business attire. I think that added to their popularity."

Faculty participation was varied. Thayer School Professor of Engineering Lee Lynd talked about his work with biomass to create a sustainable source of energy on September 25 (Dartmouth vs. UNH). Kenneth Yalowitz, the Norman E. McCullough Jr. Director of the Dickey Center, spoke about his experience as ambassador to the Republic of Belarus and to the Republic of Georgia in the October 9 chalk talk  (Dartmouth vs. Yale). Current U.S.-Cuba relations were the focus of the October 16 (Dartmouth vs. Holy Cross) chalk talk by Marysa Navarro, the Charles Collis Professor of History and chair of Latin American studies.  Donald Pease, professor of English and the Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities, recalled the experience of Theodor S. Geisel '25, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, as a Dartmouth student in his Homecoming lecture on October 30 (Dartmouth vs. Harvard). And James C. Leiter, professor of physiology and medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, spoke on the debate about the causes of Sudden Infant Death syndrome on November 13 (Dartmouth vs. Brown).

While Coleman admits he can't predict next season's football results, he did offer a helpful hint for alumni who hope to attend next year's chalk talk seminars. "Arrive early to get a seat."

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Last Updated: 5/30/08