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>  News Releases >   2004 >   June

Dartmouth Trustees elect William H. Neukom Chair, set budgets, review priorities and Student Life Initiative

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 06/15/04 • Contact Roland Adams or Laurel Stavis (603) 646-3661

William H. Neukom
William H. Neukom

At its meetings June 10-13 in Hanover, the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees elected a new chair, approved operating and capital budgets for the 2005 fiscal year, reviewed progress on student life and plans for various facilities projects, and participated in the college's commencement activities.

William H. Neukom, a Dartmouth trustee since 1996 and chair of the Seattle law firm Preston Gates & Ellis, was elected chair of the board, succeeding Susan Dentzer, health correspondent and head of the Health Policy Unit of the PBS program "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer," who stepped down this month after three years as chair.

"I am honored that my colleagues on the board have asked me to serve as chair and to succeed Susan Dentzer, who has been an inspiring leader and devoted alumna," Neukom said. "Assuming this important responsibility is indeed a privilege, and I look forward to working with President Wright, members of the board, and the entire Dartmouth community as we continue to enhance the excellent academic programs that we offer to our students."

Priorities for the coming year, budgets, endowment-spending formula

President James Wright discussed with the trustees his priorities for the coming year, including enhancing support for faculty and ensuring competitive compensation. The board confirmed a number of faculty personnel actions, including appointments to named chairs, reappointments, promotions to full professor and promotions with tenure.

The board approved a fiscal 2005 college operating budget of $331.2 million, including more than $42 million for financial aid to support Dartmouth's need-blind admissions policy, which meets 100 percent of each student's demonstrated need for all four years of undergraduate study. The operating budget for the entire institution, including the professional schools, will be $595.3 million.

The trustees also implemented a new formula for the distribution of earnings from endowment investments, a change designed to smooth the distribution of income and protect the long-term equity of the endowment. Adopted last fall to go into effect with the start of the 2005 fiscal year, the formula blends two distribution methods: adjusting the endowment distribution annually by an indexed percentage, and spending a fixed percentage of the previous year's average endowment value. Dartmouth's total endowment currently stands at $2.4 billion.

A multi-year institution-wide capital budget totaling $263.2 million also was approved. The administration anticipates spending about $84 million of that total during the 2005 fiscal year, according to Provost Barry Scherr, with construction expected to begin on the Maynard Street residence halls late this calendar year. The budget also includes funding for construction of the Kemeny Hall/Haldeman Center academic facility and an expansion of the Alumni Gymnasium fitness center next year, and planning funds for a dining/social commons, the Tuck Mall residence hall, new life sciences facilities and expansion and renovation of the Hopkins center.

Review of Student Life Initiative

The trustees reviewed a four-year progress report by James A. Larimore, dean of the college, on the Student Life Initiative. Larimore described programs designed to ensure that "the social and residential experience would more closely mirror the excellence found within its classrooms, libraries, and laboratories." Areas covered in the report included year-round operation; graduate and undergraduate student life; coed organizations, fraternities, and sororities (CFS); non-CFS organizations; social life, dining, and athletics and recreation; alcohol policy, education, and prevention; adjudication and hazing; and diversity.

Larimore reported that the CFS system "has undergone significant and positive changes" during the past four years. "Raising expectations from the most basic level to standards of excellence that recognize the unique nature and promise of each organization has helped organizations better realize their potential for scholarship, leadership and community service," he said.

During the past year, Larimore added, leaders of CFS organizations outlined their concerns about winter-term recruitment ("rush"), advocated for rush to be returned to the fall term, and worked with the dean's office to identify a fall rush schedule that meets the needs of the students and the organizations.

Dentzer noted the importance of progress in student life areas since the board outlined its priorities four years ago. "We identified an ambitious set of goals for student life, and it is clear that the college has made significant progress on fulfilling those goals," she said.

The board also recognized its retiring trustees. Dentzer, who joined the board 11 years ago, and Peter M. Fahey, who has completed 10 years of service, received Trustee Emeritus status.

Following the meeting, the trustees participated in various commencement activities, including Class Day exercises, the baccalaureate service, various professional school ceremonies, and the main commencement ceremony.

Neukom, the new chair, is a member of the Dartmouth Class of 1964. The former executive vice president of law and corporate affairs at Microsoft Corp., he was named to head Preston Gates & Ellis in January, having rejoined the firm as a partner in 2002 following 24 years as the lead lawyer for Microsoft. For 17 of those years he was Microsoft's general counsel and chief legal officer, managing the company's legal, government affairs and philanthropic activities.

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