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Richard L. "Sandy" Alderson '69CEO, San Deigo Padres

Richard L. "Sandy" Alderson '69CW: Tell me about yourself as an undergraduate.
SA: I had a great time at the College. I was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) and Dragon Senior Society. On graduation I was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps and went on active duty.

CW: What's the biggest challenge facing the Board of Trustees?
SA: The biggest challenge is how Dartmouth maintains its unique position in higher education and sustains its reputation for excellence in a very competitive environment.

[There's a lot of talk about whether the College is the same as it was 30 or 40 years ago, and from my standpoint that's really not the appropriate question. The appropriate question is whether it's as competitive and recognized for excellence as it once was while, at the same time, preserving those essential qualities that are unique to Dartmouth.]

CW: What would you bring to the Board to help tackle this?
SA: One thing that I would bring is a management background. I believe that the execution of policy is as important as the establishment of the policy itself. Ultimately, it's important to know where we want to go, but what's critical is getting there.

CW: How has your relationship with Dartmouth changed since you graduated?
SA: Because of the ROTC issue, I felt disenfranchised for a period of time. I thought that by eliminating ROTC, Dartmouth pulled back from any opportunity to affect the military in a time of conflict. I'm happy ROTC is back and glad there's an opportunity for students to participate today.

I got re-engaged partly because of the baseball program, creating opportunities for the team to use our spring training facilities.

[As a consequence of eliminating ROTC, there was a cohort of students that was denied an opportunity to attend Dartmouth—students who had a particular view of service to country who were not able to come to Dartmouth on a ROTC scholarship. A definable group of potential students was denied the Dartmouth experience.]

[CW: How do you feel about the ROTC issue as it now applies to the College?
SA: I'm happy it's back in some form. ROTC was a much more prominent aspect of the College in my day, but everything evolves. I think the military benefits from officers who are educated in the liberal arts, and when colleges like Dartmouth pull back from their association with the military it ultimately has adverse consequences for the nation. So I'm happy ROTC is back on campus as an option.]

CW: What are some management lessons from running a baseball organization?
SA: I try to remind myself to focus on the process, not the result. Somebody can boot a ground ball or strain an elbow. A host of things can happen that can lead to failure, but you must control what you can to enhance your probability of success.

[So when you don't get a good result, you're not as disappointed and when you do, you recognize it wasn't just serendipity. When you fail, which in baseball you do quite often, you need to be able to tell yourself you've done everything you could to succeed. If you can walk away with that in mind, then in a way you have succeeded.]

CW: What haven't I asked that you'd like to answer?
SA: Why is it important for alumni to participate in this Trustee election? The position of a Trustee is critical and this election is an opportunity for alumni to make a statement about the College and its direction. It's important for alumni not to forego that opportunity.

[CW: What would be the most enjoyable or fulfilling thing about coming back to Dartmouth as a Trustee?
SA: It would mean a more frequent presence on the campus. I enjoy Hanover and I enjoy interacting with students and others on campus. One day in February, for example, I shot the breeze with the baseball coach and spent a long time with the football coach. I spoke with the members of a senior society and a fraternity group. These opportunities to interact with students, faculty and staff, in an environment that's familiar but at the same time still stimulating, are very enjoyable for me.]

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Last Updated: 5/30/08