"I used to call my parents from the pay phone in my dorm every Sunday," said Jennifer Archibald Williams '85. "Do you even have pay phones in the dorms anymore?" Six seniors at a Daniel Webster Dinner, held April 24, weren't really sure. But they did know a lot about instant messaging, e-mail, and cell phones. "I'm always walking to or from class when I call home," said one, magnifying the differences between communication now and 20 years ago.
"I learned a lot," Williams said good naturedly afterwards. She and dozens of other alumni attended the dinners sponsored by the Offices of Alumni Relations and Development. One of six held this year, the April 24 event provided an opportunity for seniors to talk with alumni about what's different at Dartmouth (such as cell phones) and what's the same. It was also a chance for them to network about careers, graduate schools, traveling, apartments, or the best cities in which to live. Dartmouth President William Jewett Tucker, Class of 1861, began the tradition in 1903, and it continued intermittently over the years. It was revived as an annual event in 2005.
"We hope that the dinners will make graduating seniors feel as welcome to enter the ranks of alumni as they were when they entered Dartmouth as first-year students," said David Spalding '76, vice president for alumni relations. Spalding urged seniors to take advantage of Dartmouth alumni clubs across the world, and to stay connected with the College through reunions, participation in class notes, and volunteering. "We depend on you," he said.
President James Wright stressed that the Class of 2007 would forever be an integral component of Dartmouth. "Your Commencement represents just a step on your journey—neither the beginning nor assuredly the conclusion of your relationship with the College," he said. "The bond you share is timeless and intense because you know this place. All that you have done and all that you represent give us confidence that the legacy you inherited is in good hands."
By STEVEN J. SMITH
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Last Updated: 5/30/08