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The President's Plan

Moving Dartmouth Forward

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Winter's Challenge and Opportunity

January 5, 2015

To the Dartmouth community:

As we begin a new term, Gail and I hope your holidays were a welcome opportunity to relax with family, friends, and loved ones, and to recharge as the new year begins.

As those of us on campus settle into the rhythms of the Upper Valley in winter, it reminds us that Dartmouth truly is a place like no other at this time of year. While at some places winter is endured, at Dartmouth it is embraced with passion!

In addition to beautiful, exhilarating winters, our small community's drive for excellence has always allowed Dartmouth to stand apart. Last year you helped us envision a future in which the College distinguished itself as a magnet for talent--an academically energized place of big ideas, intellectual risk-taking, and bold efforts advancing scholarship and taking on some of the world's most pressing issues while preparing graduates for a life of ethical leadership no matter what domain they choose.

Our students' potential is widely recognized through examples of collaboration across disciplines pushing toward transformative, game-changing advances.

We can take pride in the naming of three 2015 Dartmouth Rhodes Scholars: Colin Walmsley '15 of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada; Miriam Kilimo '14 of Nairobi, Kenya; and Ridwan Hassen '15, of Marietta, Ga. They will soon join a select group of exceptional student leaders from around the world as they pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford.

At the DALI Digital Arts Lab, students and faculty have partnered with the Dickey Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Center for Prevention of Genocide and others to create the Early Warning Project--an ambitious effort that uses data modeling and expert risk analysis to predict international atrocities before conditions reach a tipping point. If the effort succeeds in even one instance, the global impact will be profound.

At the Tuck School of Business, a heightened focus on global experiential learning saw MBA student consulting projects this fall in nine countries, including creating a funding model for the Selamta orphan service in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and building a plan for the best deployment of the bus fleet in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Students and faculty at the Geisel School of Medicine's Institute of Quantitative Biomedical Sciences are becoming recognized as national leaders applying big data across the spectrum of biomedical sciences toward larger applications in health and disease.

At the Thayer School of Engineering, the minor in Human-Centered Design is bridging traditional boundaries, providing engineering students with insights from Arts & Sciences fields such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology, and allowing them to be more innovative in their designs for the diversity of human needs.

Our vision and aspirations call for much more. As I speak to thought leaders both on campus and off, one of the most common questions I hear concerns what higher education will look like in 25 or 50 years. Indeed, this is an exciting period of historic change in higher education when many great universities are making bold moves to chart the way forward. Dartmouth too has an incredible opportunity to lead.

To do so, we must build on what is uniquely Dartmouth--the strengths and opportunities that differentiate us. But we cannot fully realize Dartmouth's potential or hope to remain a leader in academia without pushing ourselves. We must elevate our capacity to impact the world's great issues, enhance the academic programs we offer our students, and find creative new ways to tap the energy and ideas of Dartmouth's passionate alumni.

As we seek to prepare graduates for lives of ethical leadership, we must begin with their experiences as students. Issues such as sexual assault, high-risk drinking, and a lack of inclusivity harm young lives on every campus in America. But for Dartmouth, the stakes are especially high--these behaviors stand in the way of all that we hope to achieve. We must find ways to end them.

This is precisely what we are working to accomplish through the efforts of the Moving Dartmouth Forward steering committee, which will present its findings later this month. I will then discuss steps going forward in an address to the community on January 29. I am heartened by the way our community has worked together to make Dartmouth stronger, and I am convinced we have more yet to offer our nation and our world.

As the beauty of winter once again settles upon the Hanover Plain, it brings with it unique opportunities. Let us add to the energy building around Dartmouth by embracing these opportunities with everything we've got!

Gail and I are happy to welcome you back to campus, and we wish you a wonderful and productive term.

Sincerely,
Phil Hanlon '77

Last Updated: 1/5/15