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Alumni trustee balloting: a closer look

This past May, Dartmouth alumni elected two new members to the Board of Trustees - Peter Robinson '79, a Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, and Todd Zywicki '88, a Professor of Law and Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University. In addition to Robinson and Zywicki, the other candidates in the six-way race were Sheila C. Cheston '80, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of BAE Systems North America; Gregg L. Engles '79, Chairman and CEO of Dean Foods Company; Richard W. Lewis '84, Chief Executive of Curzon Global Partners and Senior Managing Director of IXIS AEW Europe, Curzon's parent company; and Curtis R. Welling '71, Tu'77, President and CEO of AmeriCares, a nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization.


This graph illustrates overall alumni participation in balloting for alumni trustees since the inception of the multiple balloting system in 1991.

The bars in this graph represent voting percentages in the 2005 alumni trustee balloting process by class year, beginning with the Class of 1930 and ending with the Class of 2004.

Dartmouth's 18-member Board of Trustees is composed of eight members elected by the trustees on the basis of alumni nominating votes (alumni trustees); eight chosen through a board nominating committee process (charter trustees); the President of the College; and the Governor of New Hampshire, who serves ex officio. The Board is led by William H. Neukom '64, who was elected chair in June 2004 and again a year later.

Alumni trustee candidates are placed on the ballot in two ways: by nomination by the Alumni Council or by acquiring at least 500 alumni signatures on a petition. The Balloting Committee of the Association of Alumni, currently chaired by John Walters '62, runs the elections and makes all final decisions regarding balloting. For the 2004 and 2005 elections, the Association contracted with PCI, a Texas firm, to handle the actual voting. Alumni could vote either electronically through a website or by mail. A video conference with each candidate was available through the Dartmouth Web and each candidate had the opportunity to share two e-mail messages with the community.

This year 15,334 individuals, some 24.3 percent of Dartmouth's total alumni body, cast a total of 35,107 votes under the multiple-voting procedure of the balloting process. Robinson received 7,376 votes (21 percent of the votes cast and 48 percent of the voters), and Zywicki received 6,844 (19 percent of the votes cast and 44 percent of the voters).

Dartmouth alumni typically participate in trustee elections at higher levels than do alumni at peer institutions. In trustee elections since 1991, between 20 and 28 percent of Dartmouth alumni voted compared to between 10 and 20 percent at peer institutions. While alumni from earlier classes generally participate at a higher rate than do younger alumni, the numbers of younger alumni who vote are actually higher because of their larger class sizes.

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Last Updated: 5/30/08