The financial health of the institution is strong. We do far more with less than comparable institutions. Our endowment per student, although it has increased slightly in recent years, is one-third the endowment per student of Princeton, an institution with which Dartmouth is often compared. Nonetheless, our endowment has grown from $1.5 billion in 1998 to $2.1 billion today. Through a combination of market performance and the generosity of our alumni, parents, and friends - for which we are truly grateful - we have been able to address a number of strategic initiatives.
The increase in the endowment allowed us to fund a number of strategic initiatives that I set out as high priorities in my inaugural address five years ago. These have included:
- Two enhancements to the financial aid program that have allowed Dartmouth to remain accessible and competitive,
- A growth of 20 faculty positions in the Arts and Sciences, half of the goal of increasing the faculty by 10 percent so as to assure small classes, one-on-one mentoring, and increased faculty-student interaction,
- Additional compensation increments for faculty and staff so as to remain competitive,
- Academic initiatives to enhance the intellectual environment (start up funds, conferences, senior faculty fellowships),
- Investments in student life, athletics, and diversity to improve the quality of the out-of-classroom experience of students,
- Increments to the academic support infrastructure including the library, the Office of Sponsored Projects, and Computing Services,
- The expansion of Development as we prepare for the upcoming campaign.
While Dartmouth's overall finances remain strong, the economic downturn in the financial markets left Dartmouth with budget deficits. We did balance the budget in 2003 and will do the same in 2004 as a result of reductions of between 2 and 5 percent in departments across the College and the elimination of fifty positions. The budget committee, chaired by Provost Barry Scherr, in consultation with the subcommittee on priorities in the Arts and Sciences, will review budgets with an eye to bringing down expenses while protecting the core academic and student life activities. As we seek to implement new initiatives, we will need to either reallocate funds or find new resources.