Introduction

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving ... we must sometimes sail with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must sail and not drift or lie at anchor.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Professor of Anatomy
Dartmouth Medical School 1838-1841
Photo of President Wright greeting students

It has become the custom at Dartmouth for the President to issue a five-year report. I welcome this opportunity to reflect on what has happened and to set out my priorities for the next five years. If it is an occasion especially inviting to a historian, I will nonetheless resist a temptation for lengthy descriptions. Instead, I will look ahead and will also share and reaffirm my ambitions for Dartmouth. When I became president in 1998, I had already spent thirty years here as a faculty member and administrator. I was grounded in and committed to some fundamental principles that I believed marked Dartmouth. I treasured teaching and learning with students, the collegiality and collaboration with colleagues, and the special sense of community that exists here.

In my inaugural address I stressed three priorities for my administration: to protect and advance the strength of the faculty and the education provided, to nurture Dartmouth's historic commitment to the out-of-classroom experience for our students, and to uphold and expand the special sense of community and accessibility that defines Dartmouth College. We have made progress in each of these areas. At times, progress meant providing additional support for what we already had; at others, it meant building new facilities or adding new programs. Always we have aimed at ensuring that Dartmouth provides the best education in the country to its students.

The past five years have had their challenges: the tragic loss of Susanne and Half Zantop; the unexpected deaths of other colleagues, students, and friends; and the attacks of September 11 and their implications for Dartmouth, including the death of eleven alumni. These events have served to pull us together as a community, but the cost has been far too high.

Posted 8 December 2003
Photos by Joseph Mehling '69
Copyright © 2003 Trustees of Dartmouth College