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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
James Wright named “President Emeritus”; two charter Trustees appointed; Board invites nominees for two open Board seats; operating and capital budgets approved for fiscal year 2010
The Dartmouth Board of Trustees concluded its Spring meeting on Friday, June 12, as James Wright prepared to preside over his 11th and final Commencement as President at 10 a.m. this Sunday, June 14, 2009.
During the course of their Friday session the Trustees took action in the following areas:
Board members remaining in Hanover will participate in an array of Commencement activities this weekend.
Largest gift in Dartmouth history
President Wright personally thanked the “Anonymous” family for the record $50 million gift commitment that will enable the College to build a Visual Arts Center.
In an announcement issued Friday, Wright said, “This is a spectacular gift from a family that has given long service to Dartmouth. During these tough economic times, this family’s willingness to make such a gift is truly inspiring. In the early years of my presidency, my colleagues and I set forth a plan to improve specific areas of the physical campus. The Board of Trustees approved this plan, and many contributors have helped to advance it. Our goal was to give students and faculty well-designed and environmentally advanced facilities in which to carry out their work, including this new visual arts center. Arts are at the heart of a liberal arts education, and have always been vital to the Dartmouth experience, empowering students to think creatively, challenge assumptions, and wrestle with demanding and often unfamiliar media. We are honored by this act of generosity which is a formidable endorsement of Dartmouth’s purpose, capacity for excellence, and future promise.”
The family’s commitment is part of the College’s Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, the most ambitious fundraising initiative in Dartmouth’s history. To date, the campaign has achieved a total of $1.217 billion in gifts and commitments.
The largest previous gift to Dartmouth was $25 million donated by John W. Berry ’44 in 1992. It was part of a $30 million combined gift from Berry, his son George Berry ’66, the Loren M. Berry Foundation and George F. Baker III, great-grandson of the donor who made possible the construction of Baker Library in 1926. The combined gift, which was enhanced by further gifts from the same sources that ultimately totaled $35 million, was used to construct Berry Library, which was completed in 2001 and is connected to Baker Library.
Honoring President James Wright for 40 years of service, and Susan DeBevoise Wright for 30 years of service to Dartmouth
The Board named James Wright as President Emeritus and appointed him to the new Eleazar Wheelock Chair for former Dartmouth presidents who return to the faculty. In making the latter appointment, the Board noted that Wright joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1969 and soon emerged as a leading authority on both the American West and on American political history. Wright has served Dartmouth in a range of administrative capacities as Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, Dean of the Faculty, Acting President, Provost, and President.
The Board also named Susan DeBevoise Wright to Emerita status as she steps down from her position as Executive Director of the Montgomery Foundation. Mrs. Wright arrived in 1978 and has worked in student affairs as counselor and class dean as well as International Student Advisor. As leader of the Montgomery Endowment since 2003, the Board said, “… she ensured the achievement of Kenneth and Harle Montgomery’s vision” by “bringing distinguished individuals to Dartmouth and fully integrating them into the life of the campus.”
The Board also approved the James Wright Professorship, which will be funded by a $3 million grant by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. The endowed professorship will be held by a member of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, without restriction to academic discipline.
Trustees expressed gratitude to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.
New charter Trustees
Two new charter Trustees, Denise M. Dupre ’80 and William W. Helman IV ’80, will provide additional expertise to help to meet the needs of the College. Dupre and Helman will replace outgoing Board members Russell Carson ’65 and Karen Francis ’84 effective immediately.
Board Chairman Ed Haldeman said, “Denise Dupre and Bill Helman will each bring welcome additional expertise and leadership skills to our mission of keeping Dartmouth a leader in higher education. Both have strong backgrounds in leadership of non-profit organizations as well as in private business that will complement and enhance our existing strengths, and we are extremely pleased to have them joining us.”
Dupre said, “As a student, the first day of freshman trips began a great journey for me. This small College has made a big difference in my life, and I consider service on Dartmouth's Board to be both an honor and a privilege. I am delighted to accept this wonderful opportunity from Dartmouth, for Dartmouth.”
Helman said, “To have the opportunity to serve Dartmouth at this incredibly exciting and important time, helping build on the many accomplishments of Jim Wright and working closely with Jim Kim as he begins his presidency with passion and vision for taking Dartmouth forward is one of the greatest honors I have ever experienced. I am tremendously excited about joining the Board and working to advance Dartmouth.”
Biographical information on new Trustees:
Two open Alumni-nominated seats
The two open Alumni-nominated seats are being vacated by Michael Chu ’68 and Todd Zywicki ’88, whose terms conclude following Commencement. The Board anticipates that the Alumni Council will conduct nomination elections in the Spring of 2010 and nominate candidates for election by the Board at the conclusion of those elections.
Voting will take place in Spring 2010 under a revised nomination process contained in amendments to the Association of Alumni Constitution approved by alumni in May 2009.
Approval of operating and capital budgets, endowment distributions
For the 2010 fiscal year (July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010), the Board approved an operating budget of $452.3 million for the College, exclusive of the professional schools; operating budgets of $225.5 million, $31.3 million and $62.6 million respectively for Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business; and $92.8 million for new capital projects across the institution.
The Board also approved the estimated distribution from the endowment for FY 2010. The estimated distribution of $187.8 million for operating and non-operating activities is approximately 18 percent lower than the current estimate for FY 2009 ($229 million), as a result of the decline in endowment market value over the past four quarters.
2009 Commencement, keynoted by Native American novelist Louise Erdrich ‘76
Over the next two days, trustees will participate in an array of annual activities surrounding graduation, culminating in Commencement ceremonies on Sunday morning, June 14 on the Dartmouth Green. Novelist Louise Erdrich ’76, a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel “The Plague of Doves”, will be the keynote speaker for the event.
Commencement generally draws as many 13,000 guests to the Dartmouth Green. The College expects to award approximately 1,000 bachelor's degrees and approximately 700 master's and doctoral degrees in the Arts and Sciences and from the College's three professional schools: Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business.
Dartmouth will also present honorary degrees to a distinguished group of seven recipients:
Other pre-Commencement activities include Class Day exercises for undergraduates, Class Day and Investiture ceremonies for Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business, separate luncheons honoring retiring Trustees and members of the 50-Year Reunion Class, the annual Phi Beta Kappa meeting, commissioning of ROTC graduates the annual Baccalaureate service for all graduates, a reception honoring students involved in public service or religious life and various other events.
Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.