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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Dean of the College Tom Crady has appointed Daniel M. Nelson as Director of Outdoor Programs at Dartmouth. Nelson, a member of the Dartmouth Class of 1975, is currently the Senior Assistant to President James Wright, and he will transition to his new role this summer. Earl Jette will continue to serve as interim director through Nelson’s transition.
The Outdoor Programs Office supports the academic mission of the College by planning and implementing a diverse array of outdoor recreation programs to enhance student learning and experiences and to provide leadership and guidance to students. As part of the senior management team in the Dean of the College division, Nelson will be responsible for Dartmouth’s NCAA Division I ski teams and cross country ski center, the Dartmouth Skiway, the College’s Organic Farm, an extensive network of lodges, cabins, hiking and ski trails, and the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), which is celebrating its centennial this year.
“Dan wholly embraces the principles of appreciating and partaking in all outdoor activities that our environment offers,” says Crady. “Dartmouth’s Outdoor Programs Office has many rich traditions that reach far beyond the Dartmouth campus. Dan’s enthusiasm will certainly rub off on the students and on all the members of our community who participate in the offerings of the Outdoor Programs Office.”
In 1987, Nelson returned to the College to be a class dean. In his 22 years at Dartmouth, he has served the college in a variety of key roles, including Senior Associate Dean and twice as Acting Dean of the College. He currently works as Senior Assistant to the President, where he serves as the president’s chief of staff.
“I am deeply honored and tremendously excited to serve as the Director of Outdoor Programs,” says Nelson. “My own life and Dartmouth education have been enriched by opportunities for learning, friendship and adventure in the outdoors. I am looking forward to working with students, the office staff, other Dartmouth colleagues, and with alumni and friends of the College to help Outdoor Programs and the Dartmouth Outing Club achieve their highest potential in the years ahead.”
As director of Outdoor Programs, Nelson will also be responsible for Dartmouth’s Mount Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, the Second College Grant, 19 cabins throughout New Hampshire, Oak Hill cross-country ski trails, the Ledyard Canoe Club, and additional recreational facilities in the Upper Valley. Nelson will supervise a staff comprised of full-time, student, and seasonal employees.
Andrew Palmer ’10, former president of the Dartmouth Outing Club, says, “I am very happy that Dan has been chosen to serve as the Outdoor Programs Office’s next director. From my interactions with him, he has the traits that both the search committee and the student DOC members have been looking for and greatly need as we continue through our Centennial celebration. I look forward to working with Dan once he starts, and am very excited to see the OPO and the DOC flourish under his leadership.”
Associate Professor of Chemistry Jon Kull ’88 was the chair of the search committee. “Dan brings to the position not only a lifelong passion for the outdoors, but also an understanding of the Outdoor Programs Office and a deep appreciation for the model of student leadership exemplified by the Dartmouth Outing Club,” says Kull. “The selection of Dan sends a clear message confirming the College’s deep commitment to and support of Dartmouth Outdoor Programs and the Dartmouth Outing Club.”
Nelson has lived in New Hampshire for more than 30 years. After graduating from Dartmouth and working as a staff writer and editor for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine until 1981, Dan earned his master’s degree and his doctorate in religion and political philosophy from Princeton University, where he also worked in the residential college system and the Dean of the Chapel’s Office. Originally from Washington State, Dan has always had a love of the outdoors. He has been active with the Ledyard Canoe Club and the Dartmouth Outing Club, serving on both their advisory boards. He also serves on a management team that oversees sustainable timber harvesting and guides conservation and multiple-use policies at the Second College Grant, a 27,000-acre piece of land in northern New Hampshire. He is also a member of the board of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance.
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