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>  News Releases >   2007 >   October

Dartmouth Class of 1978 launches $43 million 30th-reunion initiative

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 10/08/07 • Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

On the heels of its record-setting 25th-reunion gift in 2003, the Class of 1978 has now set a new standard for Dartmouth class-driven philanthropy. The Class of 1978 Reunion Giving Committee, led by Bill Daniel, Elissa VonHeill Hylton, Steve Mandel, and Barbara Dau Southwell, has committed to meeting two goals by the time of their 30th reunion next June. They will raise the $40 million necessary to name the College's new life sciences building and contribute at least $3 million in unrestricted gifts supporting the student experience through the Dartmouth College Fund.

The life sciences facility is a top priority in the College's current fund-raising initiative, the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience. With a goal of $1.3 billion, it is the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in Dartmouth history.

Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center
Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center (artist rendering by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)

The Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center will be a national model of sustainable design, expected to consume one-half of the energy of the best-performing laboratories currently in use in the United States. At 174,500 square feet, the facility will have spaces devoted to undergraduate- and graduate-level teaching and research, including classrooms, teaching laboratories, and faculty laboratories, and offices for the department of biology. Among its notable features: a 6,000-square-foot greenhouse, a 200-seat auditorium, a two-story atrium for "science in sight" gallery displays, and a third-floor "sorghum and grasses green roof" to help keep the building cool, a storm water management system that will reuse one million gallons of rain water annually, and state-of-the-art energy management system. Pending approval from the Hanover Planning Board, the foundation work will begin in November. Occupancy is planned for March 2010.

"The '78s have done it again," said Dartmouth President James Wright. "Their latest plan for investing in the College raises the bar. When they meet their goals next June, they will have set a new record for a 30th-reunion gift through the Dartmouth College Fund and supported one of our top academic priorities. The life sciences are a pillar of the liberal arts. The Class of '78 is not only extraordinarily generous, but farsighted in enabling the work of students and faculty in these critical fields."

Four years ago the Class of 1978 raised a record-setting $14.4 million reunion gift. Nearly half the total was given for unrestricted current use, which is essential for the College to stay responsive to student and faculty needs during a given fiscal year. The previous fund-raising record, held by the Class of 1951 at its 50th reunion in 2001, was $6.46 million.

"The generosity and loyalty of our alumni are legendary," said Charles "Ed" Haldeman Jr., a member of the Class of 1970, president and CEO of Putnam Investments, and the chairman of Dartmouth's board of trustees. "So are the good-natured rivalries between classes. Alumni engagement enables Dartmouth to continue a mission that began in 1769: to provide one of the finest student experiences anywhere. We're grateful."

The life sciences have developed in the past decade as an umbrella for all disciplines that study life. These include the traditional and emerging fields of biology, biotechnology, ecology, environmental studies, proteomics, genetics, neuroscience, and medical imaging. Scientific advances that affect all living organisms increasingly occur at the intersection of these and more than a dozen other fields, with implications for public policy, law, ethics, and religion. Dartmouth's initiative anchors life sciences studies in the liberal arts curriculum through teaching, research, and interdisciplinary studies that emphasize a firm grounding in life sciences issues as necessary for active citizenship.

"In thirty years as a biologist I've witnessed a revolution," said Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Carol Folt. "New areas of study have transformed biology into a web of connected fields as diverse and dynamic as the most intricate biological systems on our planet. The new life sciences hold promise for unraveling pressing concerns affecting the human condition and our quality of life."

The Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center will be constructed on the site currently occupied by the Strasenburgh and Butler buildings and the Medical Modular Laboratory building, to the northeast of the Vail-Remsen complex. Its north wing will be allocated largely to classrooms and teaching labs, the east wing to faculty laboratories and administrative facilities, with faculty offices distributed between the two wings. Generous amounts of common space will facilitate interactions. The signature element of the teaching wing will be the two-story atrium featuring displays from sources such as the College libraries, Hood Museum, and the Department of Biological Sciences. Displays could include broadcasts from science museums and National Science Foundation conferences, a real-time dashboard of energy use in the building, behind-the-scenes views of lab activities, and more. Interior glass stair towers will help brighten up the building, whose exterior - brick, copper roof, granite base - will match existing Dartmouth architecture.

The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience has raised $919 million as of September 30. This is 71 percent of its $1.3 billion goal, realized over 70 percent of the campaign timeline. Through the campaign the College is seeking investment in four initiatives: to advance leading-edge teaching and scholarship, to enhance residential and campus life, to more fully endow its financial aid program, and to raise unrestricted dollars. The campaign is institution wide, embracing its undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences and its three professional schools, Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Dartmouth Medical School.

Dartmouth, a private, coeducational college, is a member of the Ivy League. Founded in 1769, it is committed to outstanding undergraduate and graduate education while fostering leading scholarship among its faculty. Its small size fosters close student-faculty interaction, and its year-round schedule allows the majority of its 4,100 undergraduates to participate in foreign study and internships. In addition to its undergraduate and professional school programs, it offers 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences.

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