This ten-year report provides me with the opportunity to reflect on changes and continuities, progress toward goals, and projects outstanding. As this decade marker coincides with my final year in the presidency, I am not only interested in reporting on the state of the College but also am drawn inevitably into reflecting upon nearly 40 years at Dartmouth.
The Dartmouth that I came to in 1969 was a different school in so many ways from Dartmouth today. It was a school with 3,200 undergraduates, all men of course, and probably less than 10 percent students of color and fewer than 100 international students. We were on a conventional nine-month calendar, with Saturday classes. There were only a few off-campus programs—essentially language instruction programs conducted in Western Europe. The three professional schools were still called “affiliated” schools. Most faculty lived in Hanover and largely spent their days in their offices or laboratories and were avuncular advisors to students on all matters, academic and personal.
Colleges, including Dartmouth, had recently suspended parietal rules—in loco parentis was shelved. There was little discussion about accommodating physical disabilities or mental health problems, and there was not much counseling to assist students dealing with issues of addiction, sexuality, and sexual orientation. Few institutions, including Dartmouth, had a sense of an institutional responsibility for assisting these students. Few had even thought about concerns such as learning disabilities and eating disorders.
Today Dartmouth is a far richer, less homogeneous place, one that operates around the year and around the world, and our affiliated schools have become exceptional professional schools. Dartmouth functions in an environment that is more laden with governmental regulations and demands, with a range of compliance restrictions, with governmental oversight defining some basic relationships between the College and its students. We are part of a global society and subject to the patterns of a global economy.
I am reminded that while we have experienced significant changes in the last 40 years, this is but one period of change in the College’s 240-year history—a legacy only a handful of institutions can claim. A few years ago, the consulting group Booz Allen Hamilton completed a report on the world’s “enduring” institutions. They identified ten institutions in five different categories. In education, Dartmouth was cited along with Oxford University. The Booz Allen Hamilton definition of “enduring” was about more than longevity, about more than hanging around. They focused on institutions that have managed to adapt fully to a changing world, to changing expectations, and still remain dedicated to their purpose and principles. This description certainly fits with my vision and my experience of Dartmouth.
The Dartmouth that I came to in 1969 was a place that quickly drew me in—I was struck by the sense of community, of belonging, of friendship, and of place. I was energized by an institution whose culture and values encouraged—insisted upon—a learning environment in which students and faculty collaborated and engaged with each other. These are deeply rooted Dartmouth values and they continue to define the College today, despite the changes of a world that is never still.
It is essential for Dartmouth to remain true to purpose in order to demonstrate that a real sense of community is not dependent upon a homogeneous community. Our sense of shared mission and values is enhanced by our rich diversity. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae, although different in background and experience and belief, can nonetheless share in a common sense of purpose—and sustain a place that is inclusive, welcoming, and enabling, where friendships are deep and sustaining. Dartmouth demonstrates that faculty can excel as professionals who are defining their fields and who are also committed to their roles as teachers. The world we live in will continue to shift, and Dartmouth must be prepared to respond to these changes. We will do so by assuming responsibility for what I call our “true endowment” and by holding firmly to our heritage and to our purpose.
Dartmouth is an enduring institution because of this “true endowment.” Going far beyond just the size of our financial endowment, it includes those resources that enable the College’s overall strength and our ability to provide an education that is consistently relevant. At the beginning of my presidency, with the Board of Trustees’ approval, I set forth a strategic plan for the College. While the plan included many specific objectives, the overarching priority was the protection and strengthening of this comprehensive endowment.
At the core of the true endowment is the quality of Dartmouth’s faculty. We must always work to protect Dartmouth’s ability to recruit and retain the best faculty and enable their work. Over the last ten years we have focused on providing competitive compensation, growing and diversifying the faculty to position us on the boundary of new fields of study, sharing and facilitating commitment to academic excellence, and providing students opportunities to work alongside faculty in a collaborative environment.
The quality of the student body must continue to be exceptional. We seek to attract students who are among the most academically accomplished and the most creative and interesting of their generation. To attract our first choice of students we need to provide financial aid that is competitive and enables all students to enjoy the full range of opportunities that are part of the Dartmouth educational experience. As the first member of my family to attend college, I remember well the loans I was still repaying when I came to Dartmouth as a new faculty member. From the outset, increasing our support for financial aid has been one of the highest priorities of my presidency.
The Board and I made a commitment to invest in the out-of-classroom experience for students. The opportunity to learn from and with other students is an invaluable part of a student’s Dartmouth experience. Ensuring that Dartmouth remains a residential campus, with a range of dining and housing options to suit many needs, was critically important. Simultaneously, we sought to provide a broader range of social and recreational choices, including inexpensive access to performances, free tickets to athletic events, and increased support for student organizations.
I would also note that the true endowment includes our graduates. President Ernest Martin Hopkins referred to alumni as the “living endowment” of the College. Alumni are not only the key contributors to our $1.3 billion Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, but they generously serve and advise a range of programs—on and off campus—and their pride and love for Dartmouth carries the good word of the College far beyond the Hanover plain. Over the last decade we have worked to increase communication between the College and alumni/ae and have introduced more opportunities to engage alumni/ae with students and faculty.
Our physical campus is an instrumental part of our success, and we carefully identified needs for deferred maintenance and new buildings before undertaking a significant period of construction. Dartmouth’s campus is beautiful. It is inviting and human in scale, and our facilities enable the strongest faculty and the strongest students to do their strongest work.
Finally, the true endowment includes a committed administrative team. They support the work of faculty, students, and alumni/ae; care for our physical plant; and implement our operational systems. We have a talented staff here—one that gives its best to advance our mission and to care for all members of this community. In the last ten years, we have not only invested in the resources they need to do their jobs well, but have also worked to make Dartmouth an employer of choice.
As I completed drafting this report, we were just commencing a major budget study in order to reduce expenses significantly due to the worldwide economic downturn in 2008. We will take whatever steps are necessary to protect Dartmouth, continuing to be fiscally responsible in our current operations and future planning. I have added commentary on some of these requirements in the sections that follow. As we move forward we need to remember that Dartmouth’s greatest treasures are those component parts that make up the true endowment at this historic institution.
There is an important corollary to protecting and advancing this true endowment. We must not only be sure of our priorities and our resources but also be clear about the purpose for which they exist and what values should guide us. In 2006 I initiated a series of conversations in which I spoke with faculty, students, staff, alumni/ae, trustees, and others about the core values and mission of Dartmouth. It was a productive process—one that resulted in a mission statement and description of shared values and enduring legacy that the Board approved. I turn to the statement often and urge others to treat it as a living document. It summarizes well our collective vision for this College and the priorities that have shaped my presidency. Indeed, this statement of purpose and values was previewed in my inaugural address ten years ago and in the vision and commitment of so many others over the years.
We have accomplished a great deal in the last ten years, and as a result Dartmouth is better equipped to meet the needs of the next generation of students and faculty. No single document can capture all of the initiatives we have carried out, nor all of the challenges we have faced. This report does, however, mark the remarkable progress made across the institution and underscores that the state of the College is strong.
Dartmouth College educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge.
Our Core Values
- Dartmouth expects academic excellence and encourages independence of thought within a culture of collaboration.
- Dartmouth faculty are passionate about teaching our students and are at the forefront of their scholarly or creative work.
- Dartmouth embraces diversity with the knowledge that it significantly enhances the quality of a Dartmouth education.
- Dartmouth recruits and admits outstanding students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial means.
- Dartmouth fosters lasting bonds among faculty, staff, and students, which encourage a culture of integrity, self-reliance, and collegiality and instill a sense of responsibility for each other and for the broader world.
- Dartmouth supports the vigorous and open debate of ideas within a community marked by mutual respect.
Since its founding in 1769 to educate Native students, English youth, and others, Dartmouth has provided an intimate and inspirational setting where talented faculty, students, and staff—diverse in background but united in purpose—contribute to the strength of an exciting academic community that cuts easily across disciplines.
Dartmouth is committed to providing the best undergraduate liberal arts experience and to providing outstanding graduate programs in the Dartmouth Medical School (founded 1797), Thayer School of Engineering (1867), the Tuck School of Business (1900), and the graduate programs in the Arts and Sciences. Together they constitute an exceptional and rich learning environment. Dartmouth faculty and student research contributes substantially to the expansion of human understanding.
The College provides a comprehensive out-of-classroom experience, including service opportunities, engagement in the arts, and competitive athletic, recreational, and outdoor programs. Pioneering programs in computation and international education are hallmarks of the College. Dartmouth graduates are marked by an understanding of the importance of teamwork, a capacity for leadership, and their keen enjoyment of a vibrant community. Their loyalty to Dartmouth and to each other is legendary and is a sustaining quality of the College.
Adopted by Dartmouth College Board of Trustees, April 2007
Dartmouth for All
“Dartmouth seeks to attract a student body that reflects the richness of the world in which we live, and to offer an education that enables and empowers. To this end we must continue to enrich our financial aid and scholarship programs to ensure that we can do this. I pledge myself to this purpose.”
—James Wright, Inauguration, September 1998
Dartmouth for All
Admissions & Financial Aid
The Class of 2012 is the 40th class that I have helped welcome to Dartmouth, and for the last 11 years I have had the pleasure of greeting each member of the incoming undergraduate class in my office at matriculation. Our undergraduate and graduate students are not only academically talented but are also informed and engaged citizens of the world.
Since 1998, applications for undergraduate admission have increased by 63 percent, and our selectivity increased as the acceptance rate went from 21 percent to just over 13 percent. At the same time, we have admitted students at the very top of their graduating classes with a broad range of interests, experiences, and diverse backgrounds. Our entering classes are made up of approximately equal numbers of men and women, and we are proud that legacy students and students who are first in their families to attend college are represented at about the same rate. Students come to Dartmouth expecting to find a community of peers unlike any other. They know that to be leaders they must understand how to learn with and from those whose backgrounds and perspectives are different from their own. To provide this opportunity we must tangibly support our core value of recruiting and admitting students regardless of their financial means.
The College has long admitted students on a need-blind basis. We provide financial support to students who would otherwise not be able to afford a Dartmouth education, and we guarantee to meet 100 percent of any admitted student’s demonstrated financial need. Our excellence is inextricably linked to our financial aid program. The strongest students are attracted to an economically diverse school. Our ability to attract and retain outstanding students is closely linked to our ability to support them. The number of qualified students and their families who are unable to meet the costs of a Dartmouth education continues to grow, while the percentage of our overall scholarship expense that is funded from federal sources has declined. We must do all we can to ensure that the College does not become closed to all but a few who can afford tuition.
Over the last ten years, we have made significant improvements to the financial aid program, including eliminating loans, reducing work expectations for students, and reducing the parental contributions for those at a lower income level. Beginning fall 2008, scholarship grant recipients now receive an additional $2,950 in scholarship funds to relieve a summer earning expectation, so that they have the same option to pursue unpaid internships, volunteer community service, or research opportunities as non-financial aid students. We have more than doubled the budget for undergraduate scholarship aid from $24.5 million in 1997–98 to $65 million for the current fiscal year. In 2008 we expanded our need-blind admissions policies to include international students, who make up about seven percent of the total undergraduate student body, joining a very small group of institutions that do not consider international students’ financial need in the admissions process.
Applications to the Arts and Sciences graduate programs and the professional schools have also increased. Today’s applicants come to Dartmouth from top undergraduate programs, and many enter with several years’ experience in their chosen fields. Recently I met with the Dartmouth Medical School Class of 2012. Their biographical sketches demonstrated what an impressive and accomplished group they are—as are all of our graduate students.
Dartmouth for All
Dartmouth has a rich and evolving history as a diverse community, even as our understanding of diversity has matured. Since our earliest days, the College has understood that students learn a great deal from one another. A student body that is economically, ethnically, culturally, and intellectually diverse enables students to question their own assumptions and gain new perspectives. As a result, our community, our conversations and discussions, in and out of the classroom, are more stimulating and engaging.
Many of my predecessors made significant efforts to make Dartmouth a more heterogeneous and inclusive academic institution. President William Jewett Tucker recognized that the College needed to expand its geographical base beyond New England. When the College moved to a selective admissions process in the 1920s, President Ernest Martin Hopkins and the Board of Trustees insisted that the College give preference to men from west of the Mississippi River and from the south. Mr. Hopkins, a financial aid recipient himself, also appreciated the importance of economic diversity. The importance of diversity was a theme of President John Sloan Dickey in the 1960s and was emphasized by President John Kemeny when he opened the doors to coeducation, rededicated Dartmouth to its founding mission, and committed the College to the education of Native Americans and other students of color. Presidents David McLaughlin and James Freedman maintained this commitment. In recent years the Board has emphasized our institutional promise to diversity by expanding our statement of nondiscrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
My vision of Dartmouth is of a rich and diverse community committed to a sense of shared purpose and values. This is the heritage of American society at its best, and our students provide leadership in meeting this challenge. Diversity at Dartmouth is about more than the number of students, faculty, or staff who identify as members of a minority group. It is also about different backgrounds, experiences, and views of the world. But none of this is simply about numbers or percentages. Representation is important, but we have a responsibility to make sure that all members of our community thrive, not just survive.
Dean of the College Tom Crady and his predecessors have worked with students to broaden the out-of-classroom experience to include engagement with multiple cultures and perspectives. For example, students have established new dance and music ensembles, organized celebrations of a wide array of religious holidays, and created a variety of organizations that reflect and share cultural traditions. The Dean of the College division works with students to respond to and learn from incidents of misunderstanding or intolerance. The Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE) Holly Sateia and colleagues in her office provide support to academic and administrative departments seeking to diversify applicant pools, and provide training to almost 5,000 people annually on topics such as cross-cultural communication, equal opportunity, and preventing harassment. A partnership between IDE, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL), and the Tucker Foundation resulted in the Economic Equity Initiative to raise awareness about social and economic difference. IDE is also responsible for coordinating all-campus programs such as the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration that offers more than 20 seminars or events open to the Upper Valley and campus community.
While there are several offices whose work is focused on making Dartmouth a more inclusive and welcoming place, all of us share responsibility for achieving this goal. As an academic community, we must provide both the opportunity and encouragement for our members to explore complexities that are central to intellectual and community life, and develop skills necessary for societal leadership. We can all take pride in Dartmouth’s accomplishments in the area of diversity, but we must also remain focused on our aspirations.
Dartmouth for All
Timothy McManus ’11
“Without the financial aid package I received from Dartmouth, I could not afford to be here. I have made great friends in a very short period of time at Dartmouth. My friends make the college experience that much more exciting and enjoyable. I also really appreciate the fact that my professors have always been available to me when I have questions or concerns. It is encouraging to know that even though I am at one of the finest institutions in the world, the professors are still genuinely concerned with my development not only as a student, but also as a person. I have also been given the privilege to compete in football at the Division I level in the Ivy League. It is truly a blessing to play among such talented individuals and under such dedicated, caring and talented coaches.”
Timothy McManus ’11, from St. Paul, Minnesota, had his heart set on attending Dartmouth. The eldest of five children, he knew that the college he chose to attend would depend in part on what was best for his entire family—including how much financial aid he was offered. McManus was thrilled the day his parents told him they could afford to send him to Dartmouth because of the College’s generous financial aid package. McManus plays football, participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and is a member of Beta Alpha Omega fraternity.
The Academic Enterprise
“Being a faculty member at Dartmouth provides the opportunity to teach and to work closely with some of the finest undergraduate students in the country, in a residential community that encourages and supports research. …being a student at Dartmouth means being encouraged to take one’s self seriously as a young scholar… It means that here students are not merely passive recipients of information, but are active participants in their own learning process.”
—James Wright, Inauguration, September 1998
The Academic Enterprise
Dartmouth offers an unparalleled undergraduate education and exemplary graduate and professional programs. To say that we offer the finest educational experience is not merely presidential hyperbole. From our beginnings, the very core of the College’s mission has been the academic enterprise. Our success has depended on a vibrant, reciprocal relationship between faculty and students engaged in learning and in the creation of new knowledge and understanding.
Dartmouth’s faculty are distinguished scholars who stand at the forefront of their fields. In 2001, the faculty Subcommittee on Priorities said that “Dartmouth’s claim to distinction rests on the idea that it is a place where research and teaching meet in unique ways.” Faculty research and creativity enrich their teaching and the classroom experience of all our students. The Board of Trustees’ statement on academic excellence, adopted in 2007, makes this crucial aspect of the College’s commitment to the learning environment clear: “At Dartmouth, teaching and research are synergistic. Dartmouth needs both to achieve its goals.” Today we benefit fully from both.
The selective and strategic growth of our faculty has been at the top of my agenda and has been vigorously implemented in recent years through Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Carol Folt’s effective leadership. Over the past ten years, she, her predecessors, and I have worked hard to increase faculty numbers and to develop our strengths in critical areas. We have grown the Arts and Sciences faculty from 380 to 439 FTEs over the past decade and in the same period have moved the undergraduate student-faculty ratio from 10 to 1 down to 8 to 1. Over the course of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, generous donors have endowed 19 new professorships and established 66 new endowment funds in the Arts and Sciences.
Our ambitions are high, despite the financial challenges of increasing both the faculty and the resources necessary for their support. This goal becomes even more challenging in the current economic environment. Determined to enhance our competitiveness in the market for the best people, we have doubled the funding for faculty professional development in the past five years, and, over the past ten years, we have met the goals for more competitive compensation that we set in collaboration with the Committee on the Faculty for the Arts and Sciences. The establishment of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning in 2004 brought new support for pedagogical development in all fields, helping faculty incorporate digital technologies and make even greater use of “hands-on” learning in the classroom. Such support is partly why the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education recognized the College as one of the best places to work for junior faculty, giving Dartmouth an exemplary rating on six of twelve categories. Provost Barry Scherr, the deans, and the associate deans have provided outstanding academic leadership, enabling the support of the faculty and our curricular programs.
In recent years, the faculties of the professional schools and graduate programs have also grown selectively larger and most certainly stronger, as the schools have further enhanced their own commitment to Dartmouth’s distinctive ethos of close faculty-student interaction. To ensure the breadth of faculty expertise, the Tuck School of Business (Tuck) has increased its faculty lines from 37 to 55 since 1998. Thayer School of Engineering (Thayer) has also expanded its faculty during the same period, from 36 to 46, in keeping with new strategic areas of focus. Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) offers its medical students extraordinary access to faculty, through an on-site faculty-to-student ratio that approximates 2 to 1. Across campus all Dartmouth students receive their education in an environment of collaborative student-faculty learning.
The outstanding quality of our faculty has been affirmed by a striking increase in research funded by federal and private sources at Dartmouth. Despite its small size, DMS ranks in the top 15 percent of U.S. medical schools in basic science research funding per faculty member, for example. In the Arts and Sciences, DMS, and Thayer, sponsored funding has nearly doubled or more than doubled in the last ten years.
The Academic Enterprise
Our mission is to prepare students for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership. We accomplish this by inspiring and expecting academic excellence, independent thinking, and collaboration. Dartmouth’s students graduate into a world where the boundaries between cultures and economies are fluid and where the most innovative work and problem-solving are done at the intersections between disciplines. We recognize our responsibility to prepare students to function within a global context and a diverse society, to continue learning, and to traverse the boundaries of their fields.
Over the past ten years, we have significantly strengthened the undergraduate experience, decreasing class size and increasing the number and types of opportunities for students to work individually with faculty. In 2008, 64 percent of our classes have fewer than 20 students, an improvement from 57 percent in 1998. I am absolutely confident that Dartmouth offers more small classes taught by faculty, not graduate students, than any of our peer institutions. We also increased the number and type of opportunities for students to work individually with faculty. Last year, about 400 undergraduates participated in a Dartmouth academic internship, over 200 completed an honors thesis, and students earned over 1,000 credits for independent work with faculty. This intellectual engagement between students and faculty outside a formal classroom is Dartmouth at its best. Dartmouth’s graduate programs and professional schools continue to enrich the undergraduate experience, as their faculty frequently present or teach in undergraduate courses. Nearly half of undergraduates studying at Thayer participate in a research opportunity as part of their experience. More than 100 undergraduates work with faculty at the medical school annually, and this year we plan to realize a goal of providing undergraduate courses taught by Tuck faculty.
Through the newly established Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, we have expanded our writing curriculum, added faculty positions and classes in speech and rhetoric, and increased overall support for writing. We have also reorganized and strengthened pre-major faculty advising, which contributed to increased student satisfaction with academic advising in the recent senior survey. The faculty is now examining sophomore summer to see how we might further enrich the intellectual experience of that term.
The Academic Enterprise
Bruce Sacerdote ’90
“For me the best learning occurs with hands-on experience. I have approximately a dozen students working with me on three to four major research projects. For example, we’re gathering and analyzing data on outcomes for public school students in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. We also have a federally funded project to attempt to increase the rate of college attendance among high school seniors in Vermont. We’re trying to change outcomes for these high school seniors, and we’re trying to figure out why talented students fail to apply to and attend college. Dartmouth students make my teaching experience exceptional.”
Bruce Sacerdote ’90, a native of Walpole, Massachusetts, earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth in economics and his Ph.D. at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, specializing in econometrics, causal inference, and applied economics. He returned to Dartmouth as an assistant professor in 1998, became tenured in 2003, and was promoted to full professor in 2005. His current research focuses on the economic impact of child and youth outcomes; how education influences income, health, and well being; and the economics behind criminal activity and the creation of laws.
The Academic Enterprise
Professional Schools & Graduate Programs
Dartmouth is one institution, enhanced by the strength of its professional and graduate programs. Collaboration among the four faculties and between undergraduate and graduate students helps to define Dartmouth’s intellectual niche. Over the course of the past decade, there has been thoughtful examination of curriculum and positioning at Tuck, Thayer, DMS and the graduate programs in the Arts and Sciences.
Dartmouth Medical School has earned acclaim for its thoughtful approach to teaching not only the required technical skills and science, but also the art of practicing medicine. The school has also emerged as a world leader in examining the delivery of health care and in related policy development. The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice links researchers across the campus and is educating a new generation of health care leaders. Offering both M.D./Ph.D. and M.D./M.B.A degrees, DMS has also become known for wide ranging, innovative interdisciplinary research, including programs in cell and molecular biology, cancer, ethics, genetics, immunology, and infectious diseases. The school’s research links extend across the entire campus and include numerous collaborations with Arts and Sciences faculty as well as with those in Thayer School. Professor Bill Green has recently assumed leadership at DMS as dean and is carefully stewarding several new initiatives, including our collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The faculty is also moving ahead with plans for improvements to the medical student curriculum, specifically by adding elective clerkship offerings for year three of medical school. In addition, DMS has expanded its required and elective clerkship opportunities in more urban health center settings by the recent affiliation with California Pacific Medical Center.
Under the leadership of Dean Paul Danos, the Tuck School has effectively capitalized on its singular focus, the M.B.A program, and has frequently appeared among the top ten or at the very top of business school/M.B.A. program rankings in our country. Beginning in 1997, Tuck established five research centers, all of which bring a cross-disciplinary focus to issues driving the economy. The centers have enhanced the curriculum, enriching the learning environment for students, and connecting the school more directly with practicing managers and corporations. Leadership development is central to Tuck’s mission, and the school has created an effective leadership forum for first-year students. With the help of generous donors, it has also established the James M. Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship and the Cohen Leadership Development Program. Strategic planning for the next phase of Tuck’s development has been completed, and the school now looks forward to the dedication of the Tuck School Living and Learning Complex this in December 2008.
Thayer School is among the smallest of the Ph.D.-granting schools of engineering, yet it appears proudly within the top tier of all schools in per capita measures of performance. Under Dean Joseph Helble, Thayer has articulated its particular focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, on energy-related issues, and on the interface between engineering and medicine. This past summer Thayer initiated an innovation track within its Ph.D. program, with an enrollment of four talented students in its first class. We believe this is the first explicit program of its kind in the country. Thayer was awarded a Luce Foundation award in support of Ph.D. fellowships for this program. Thayer’s efforts to provide undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on experience at all levels of the curriculum received a huge boost with the dedication of the MacLean Engineering Sciences Center in 2006. The school’s entrepreneurial spirit and success have become increasingly evident in the past eight years, during which time a quarter of the faculty have been involved in start-up companies, and eleven student teams in the first introductory undergraduate engineering course have filed for patent protection for their work.
Dartmouth’s 17 doctoral programs and seven masters programs in the Arts and Sciences are small and selective, benefiting from our focused efforts to attract and matriculate a diverse pool of outstanding students. Providing more flexibility than many professional Ph.D. programs and offering close apprentice/colleague relationships between students and research supervisors, the programs have effectively built their strengths on interdisciplinary/interdepartmental connections, strong research, and a commitment to mentoring and teaching. In the last decade, Ph.D. students have also benefited from an increased number of Department of Education and National Science Foundation grant-funded training programs, allowing focused interdisciplinary experiences. All of our Arts and Sciences graduate programs are recognized for excellence, and many of our graduate students move on to postdoctoral positions in the top research laboratories. Newly appointed Dean of Graduate Studies Brian Pogue is continuing our efforts to promote cross-disciplinary study and improve career preparation and quality of life for our graduate students.
The Academic Enterprise
International & Interdisciplinary Learning
Dartmouth prepares our students well for the global context in which they will live and work. We continue to require that undergraduates gain at least some fluency in a language other than English and begin to develop the cultural competencies necessary for their work in any field. More than 50 percent of all undergraduate courses provide a comparative or cross-cultural perspective
Students as well as faculty engage regularly in interdisciplinary research, as our size and culture encourage work across academic disciplines and between the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Since 1998, we have nearly doubled the number of cross-listed courses we offer, reflecting a 53 percent increase of faculty lines in interdisciplinary programs. In 2000, we announced a generous gift that enabled us to establish the Leslie Center for the Humanities, housed in the new Haldeman Academic Center with the Ethics Institute and the Dickey Center. These centers join the Rockefeller Center—and others throughout the College—to galvanize and energize creative scholarship across campus. The Neukom Institute for Computational Sciences also serves to catalyze multidisciplinary collaboration.
We continue to explore groundbreaking fields such as the digital humanities, where this fall we appointed one of two Sherman Fairchild Professorships in Emerging Fields. The new professorship will lead Dartmouth’s efforts to integrate digital culture and innovation with the humanities across disciplinary and departmental lines. The second Sherman Fairchild professorship is in the sustainable sciences, which will provide leadership for one of the country’s oldest interdisciplinary environmental studies programs. This was one of the first interdisciplinary programs in the country, and today the program offers students hands-on experience investigating ecological and social systems.
The Academic Enterprise
Latif Nasser ’08
“The most formative aspect of going to school at Dartmouth for me was the opportunity I was given for extracurricular, or rather, ‘supercurricular’ study. The College offers so many resources for independent research: the library, the faculty, financial support. Undergraduate research at Dartmouth allows students to be as ambitious as they can because research projects can defy departmental boundaries. A student is allowed to get carried away by material he or she is passionate about, in whatever direction.”
Latif Nasser ’08 grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, and graduated from Lester B. Pearson United World College, Victoria, British Columbia. While an undergraduate at Dartmouth he served as a tutor for the Student Center for Research, Writing, and Information Technology (RWiT), was president of the Displaced Theater Company, and was chosen by the Class of 2008 to be their Class Day Orator. As a Presidential Scholar, Nasser worked with the College’s collection of historic scientific instruments and presented his findings at several academic conferences. Nasser is a first-year Ph.D. student in the history of science at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and continues to write and rewrite plays as a way to think through the topics he studies.
Outside the Classroom
“…the out-of-classroom experience complements and supports the central mission of the College. Whether it is in athletic competition or recreational sports or artistic pursuits, or in conversations at the residence halls or dining tables, we recognize that learning here has never been—nor should it be—limited to the classroom.”
— James Wright, Inauguration, September 1998
Outside the Classroom
The Dartmouth Experience
Dartmouth’s character as a residential learning community is as important to the College mission as our commitment to the liberal arts. The faculty’s dedication to teaching and the creation of new knowledge creates a rich intellectual environment that prepares and inspires students for a lifetime of learning and leadership. Our academic strength is complemented and enriched by the opportunities for learning outside the classroom, laboratories, studios, and libraries. Indeed, the relationship between academic and out-of-class learning, and its impact on intellectual and personal development, is what many of us have in mind when we talk about the distinctive “Dartmouth experience.”
Much of that learning is indeed the fortunate consequence of enrolling the most promising students of each generation: Living together in residence halls, sharing meals at Thayer Dining Hall or Collis Center, participating in organizations and teams, students inevitably learn from one another—especially from differences in one another’s background and perspective. For many, Dartmouth is the most richly diverse and stimulating community they have ever experienced. These and other opportunities for extracurricular learning are a significant part of the Dartmouth experience. Community at Dartmouth can’t be taken for granted, either: The annual cycle of admission and graduation as well as the enrollment flexibility created by the “D-Plan” makes the undergraduate community highly transient. Extracurricular learning and fostering an inclusive environment where students can thrive requires planning, facilities, resources, and a committed professional staff. It also needs an appropriate safety net, so that students—young adults—can learn from mistakes and receive support in times of personal need. In other words, while Dartmouth is characterized by a strong and spirited tradition of student independence and innovation outside the classroom, we also are necessarily intentional in how we support student life.
The positive results of this combination—the students we enroll and the resources, programs, facilities, and people allocated strategically to advance our purposes and priorities —are evident in the high satisfaction graduating seniors report with their out-of-class experience.
Outside the Classroom
Investing in Student Life
Launched in February of 1999, the Student Life Initiative (SLI) aimed to improve the entirety of student life, and in that endeavor we succeeded, although there always is more to do because student interests and needs are not static. The Board of Trustees and I challenged the Dartmouth community to enter into a conversation about how social and residential life at Dartmouth could best complement the academic experience.
Frankly, we stumbled coming out of the box: Our progress was initially hampered by a misperception—which our planning and communications should have anticipated—that we were primarily focused on the Greek system. We certainly wanted to bring the Coed, Fraternity, and Sorority (CFS) organizations into the totality of the student experience, but we also wanted to enhance a sense of community and continuity more broadly, to address some gender inequities, to increase social options and social space, to provide student support where it was needed most, to increase and improve residential buildings, and to expand and update athletic facilities. Indeed, at the beginning of my term as president, the Student Assembly presented me with a notebook full of suggestions and requests collected from students, many of them calling for more opportunities and resources for social and cultural expression beyond the Greek system. In short, we committed to making a significant investment in student spaces and programs to improve the quality of the experience for today’s students.
The Greek system was indeed a significant area of concern and attention, and many of the system’s strongest supporters also perceived a pressing need for fundamental improvements. I have worked closely with many CFS leaders over the years, and what I asked of them in 1999 was to live up to their own values, to work hard to become part of the broader community rather than exist apart from it. I told them that if they did this work, I would support them. They have followed through, and so have I.
The CFS organizations have moved from “Minimum Standards” and adopted more rigorous and meaningful “Standards of Excellence.” Students are now eligible to rush in the fall of their sophomore year, and more students than ever before are members. In fact, there are now more women in sororities than men in fraternities, and we plan to renovate two houses on East Wheelock Street for use by sororities. The College sponsored a facilities audit and makes low-interest loans available for house improvements. We value having now the most collaborative and collegial relationship with the organizations that we have seen in decades.
Today, we can point with pride to the number and variety of student organizations (nearly 300 across campus) providing opportunities for recreation, friendship, initiative, and engagement; to a wide array of cultural options including but certainly not limited to the resources of the Hood Museum of Art and the Hopkins Center for the Arts (where we now make tickets available at deeply reduced student prices); to an Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL) that not only supports diversity at Dartmouth but also fosters connection and community; and to opportunities for developing leadership skills (including OPAL’s Leadership Discovery Program, the Undergraduate Advisor Program, the thriving Dartmouth Outing Club, Greek letter organizations, Tucker Foundation service projects, and the Rocky Leadership Fellows). We can also point to nine new residence halls; plans for the Class of 1953 Commons, which would expand dining, social, and cultural options; late-night hours at Collis Center; and free student admission at all athletic events. Almost every athletic facility has been either replaced or extensively renovated during the past decade, and we have provided more budgetary and facility support for club sports.
Last year, we hired a new dean of the College, Tom Crady, who is building on the good work of his predecessors and is implementing improvements to our disciplinary system and alcohol policies. We should also recognize, with thanks, our very hardworking, committed, and effective staff. They also serve as teachers, advisors, and mentors to students and provide much of the continuity and personal attention characteristic of Dartmouth at its best.
Outside the Classroom
Koren Schram ’09 & Chris Wielgus
“Athletics are essential in my academic experience. My rigorous schedule as a varsity athlete has allowed me to develop critical time-management skills that are useful in balancing academics with athletics. My team, coaching staff, and multiple resources in the athletic department have become a network of support for any issue, especially academics. My academic experience has been elevated due to this network. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by how many opportunities student-athletes have to participate in various organizations on campus while still being varsity athletes and students.”
Koren Schram ’09 has led the Big Green to multiple victories on the basketball court, making her one of the Ivy League’s top defensive players. Originally from Batesville, Arkansas, Schram is now majoring in psychology and neuroscience and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Drawn to Dartmouth because of the opportunities available to student-athletes, she fell in love with the basketball program, players, and staff when she visited campus. Last season she led Dartmouth in scoring and helped the team win a share of the Ivy League title and a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. She earned All-Ivy recognition and was awarded the Class of 1976 Award for the best female athlete.
“In a school that prides itself on academics, SATs, GPA s, and IQ s are important everywhere but in a gym. The gym catapults our students outside their comfort zone. I enjoy watching the learning process unfold right in front of me. My players and I have been on an unbelievable journey. We have sweated, cried, laughed, and spent endless hours traveling. But the one thing I love the most is that my interaction with the students does not end with graduation. Our memories and friendships last a lifetime! It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Chris Wielgus has led the Big Green to unprecedented heights. With 11 Ivy League championships, Dartmouth’s head women’s basketball coach is one of the nation’s elite coaches. Wielgus began at Dartmouth 24 years ago during the women’s basketball program’s fifth year of existence. Since then, she has seen her teams reach the NCAA Tournament six times. She doesn’t hesitate to share that one of Dartmouth’s greatest strengths are its people, and she gives credit for her love of work to the students and staff she works with daily.
“Our goal, then, remains the pursuit of our own historic mission. Our commitment is to learning and scholarship, within a talented and diverse community. We seek nothing less than to meet our own aspirations and purposes. And we will settle for nothing less. This requires that Dartmouth continue to evolve and to change, just as our society evolves and changes. Today, I say to you that Dartmouth, while proud of its heritage, must be forever new.”
— James Wright, Inauguration, September 1998
The loyalty of Dartmouth alumni/ae to their alma mater is legendary. With 69,000 living alumni/ae (including the graduate programs and professional schools), we have one of the smallest alumni/ae bodies in the Ivy League and yet, I am sure, none is more passionate than ours. Every year 5,000 alumni/ae interview prospective undergraduate students; 2,000 alumni/ae volunteer as class, club, or affiliated group leaders; and more than 22,000 have volunteered to serve as career advisors. Many more offer gifts of time, thought, and financial support to help us to meet our objectives.
During my visits with alumni/ae as a faculty member, dean, provost, and president, I have always appreciated the chance to exchange information, to hear new ideas, and to receive feedback. This give and take is immensely enjoyable and helpful. Although there may be disagreements among us, the affection alumni/ae feel for Dartmouth is reinforced time and time again. I regret that during the last several years this natural form of alumni/ae engagement has been marked by a polarization among some alumni/ae around perceptions of College policy and, more immediately, governance.
After careful study of the institution’s needs, the Board decided in 2007 to expand its membership by eight. Five new Charter Trustees were elected to the Board this fall, adding new skills and talents in health care, finance and business, and technology, among other areas of expertise. In 2007, the Board also adopted precepts designed to improve the Alumni Trustee nomination election process. They charged the Association of Alumni and the Alumni Council to develop and implement a process for selecting Alumni Trustee nominees that preserves elections, maintains petition access to the ballot, and adopts a one-vote, majority-rule election process.
I recognize that not all alumni/ae agree with these decisions, but the Trustees judged they were necessary to ensure that Dartmouth’s Board has the ability to respond effectively to a changing world and make certain the College continues to be one of the world’s finest academic institutions. I agree with their actions. Our focus now must be on working together to make sure alumni/ae are informed about the College’s priorities and the challenges we face. This must be a two-way conversation, and it will be a work in progress. Vice President for Alumni Relations David Spalding ’76 has already initiated this process with alumni/ae leaders and his Alumni Relations colleagues. Alumni/ae are a vital part of Dartmouth’s past, present, and future, and we must continue to work together to meet our mission and sustain our shared values.
The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience
The College announced the largest fund-raising effort in its history in November 2004. The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience’s goal of $1.3 billion was aggressive given the size of our alumni/ae body and the state of the economy at the time we began fund-raising, but the Board and I felt confident that the priorities identified for the Campaign were imperative to increase faculty resources, expand financial aid, and enrich residential and campus life. Given the state of the economy now, the goal is even more ambitious—and our success to date even more essential to our mission.
Alumni/ae, parents, and friends have been extraordinarily generous. The College has received several record-breaking gifts from individuals, and many reunion classes have set new records for both dollars raised and participation. In 2007–08, we set a new record for cash gifts, raising $168 million.
I am also grateful for our many unsung philanthropic heroes. The number of alumni/ae and others who have not only sustained their giving but also have stretched to increase their gifts impresses me. Although their names are not etched on any buildings, they serve as the pillars of this institution, and we could not meet our goals without their help. Gifts to the Dartmouth College Fund have increased, and our participation rate now stands among the highest in our peer group. An impressive 67 percent of all alumni/ae have made gifts to the current Campaign. It is also encouraging to see how our youngest alumni/ae and seniors have embraced philanthropy to the College: 92.5 percent of the Class of 2008 contributed to the Senior Class Gift.
Carrie Pelzel, vice president of Development, and the Campaign Executive Committee have done an excellent job of leading our campaign efforts. As of November 2008, the Campaign has reached $1.12 billion. The gifts received to date have had a tremendous impact on the work of faculty and students. As I write, with each day’s headlines announcing somber economic news, it is impossible to predict how our goal might be affected. But the gifts thus far have secured Dartmouth’s educational excellence for this and future generations.
Since before the birth of the American republic, Dartmouth has stood as an institution characterized by innovation, strong leadership, an ability to adapt, and a resolute sense of purpose. Over the last 240 years we have gracefully balanced the best of our traditions and values with a need to remain relevant in a changing world. Careful planning and management of our resources is essential to our ability to be responsive.
Dartmouth has benefited tremendously from its strong financial base in the last decade. The endowment has grown from $1.5 billion in 1998 to $3.66 billion as of September 2008. In the same time period, gifts to the Dartmouth College Fund, which supports the annual operating costs of almost every area of the College, have gone from $16 million to $42 million. Drawing on increased endowment returns and gifts to the Campaign, we have addressed long deferred needs and invested in new programs and initiatives.
As I write now, it is clear we are experiencing a significant international economic downturn, most likely an extended one. In November 2008, I met with the Board of Trustees and shared the sobering picture that revenue is down considerably because of declining endowment performance. In order to bring the College-only budget into balance, we will need to adjust projected expenses by up to ten percent, or approximately $40 million, over the next two fiscal years.
This challenge also presents an opportunity to clarify our priorities in concert with our values. The Board agrees that we need to protect financial aid, our academic strengths—of which the core is the tenure-track faculty and our overall educational environment—and we need to do all we can to support Dartmouth’s employees. We will look to identify adjustments that are sustainable rather than temporary, and we anticipate making specific reductions that reflect our institutional priorities. I am working closely with Provost Barry Scherr and Executive Vice President Adam Keller, co-chairs of the Budget Committee; with student and faculty committees; and with other members of the faculty and administration to identify ways to reduce expenses while maintaining our focus on the work of faculty and students.
While I did not set out a decade ago with major facilities goals, it was apparent throughout the strategic planning process that improvements to the physical campus would be essential to our programmatic success. With the growth of the faculty and the expanded student involvement in projects over the last decade came the need to provide additional office spaces and an increased demand for classroom, laboratory, and studio spaces.
To meet the broad array of classroom needs we created both traditional lecture and seminar style rooms; auditoriums to accommodate larger groups, including visiting speakers; and smart classrooms that incorporate the newest technologies. We also worked to provide spaces where students, staff, and faculty could gather informally or work collaboratively on projects. We needed to build more residence halls, so that every student who desired to live on campus could do so, and we wanted to provide more living options to accommodate the diverse needs of students, particularly upperclass students. We built new graduate student housing on Park Street. We also recognized it was time for many buildings to be renovated, both for compliance with building codes and to meet the current needs of students and faculty. And much of our infrastructure for athletics needed attention as our athletic facilities were in use nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with individual students or organizations still asking for more time and spaces to meet their particular needs.
We have also invested in some key real estate improvements in Hanover and surrounding areas. The College has developed five mixed-use buildings on two blocks near the intersection of South Main and South Streets in Hanover. The new buildings provide space for local merchants, including restaurants, and residential space for faculty, guest lecturers, and others. Faculty housing was also built on Park and Wheelock Streets. We have done a major renovation of Sachem Village, and we have begun planning a comprehensive redesign of Rivercrest to provide more housing options for graduate students, faculty, and staff.
Obviously some of these projects were initiated during the administration of President James Freedman—indeed, some were set as objectives in the Kemeny and McLaughlin years. Gifts to the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience along with investments from our real estate office played a major role in our ability to proceed with many of these plans, and we have invested over $1.1 billion in new facilities, including over $80 million for athletic facilities and fields.
Looking ahead, there are several projects either under way or in the planning stages. We recognize that the current economic climate will affect our ability to advance some of these capital improvements. Consistent with our past policies, we will not authorize projects that do not have a full funding plan established. In these economic conditions, putting these funding plans in place will simply be more challenging.
In November 2008, the Board affirmed our plan to complete the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, which is already under construction. They decided to review plans for the Visual Arts Center—the new home of studio art, film, and media studies—and the renovation of Buchanan Hall in order to assess the feasibility of moving forward with them. Planning will continue for the Class of 1953 Commons, which would offer increased social space and dining options on the north end of campus and the C. Everett Koop Medical Science Complex, housing the Peter and Susan Williamson Translational Research building and space for the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, but additional financial resources are needed before proceeding to the next phase. Projects where sufficient funding is not in place, including a replacement for Thayer Dining Hall, renovation of the West Stands at Memorial Field and the parking lot on Route 120, will be deferred.
New or Significantly Renovated Facilities
|Administrative and other facilities|
In September 2008, I was pleased to underline Dartmouth’s environmental commitment by announcing that the College will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent by the year 2030. The Board has approved a $12.5 million investment to upgrade existing facilities’ energy efficiency, decreasing our energy consumption. In keeping with our master plan, new facilities have been constructed to allow as much green space as possible, and we have continued to construct new buildings according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. These more recent buildings have consistently achieved LEED silver or gold ratings.
Institutionally the College has committed to helping staff and faculty live “green” by supporting regional and local transportation, providing shower facilities for those who bike to work, and helping employees begin car- and vanpools. Since 1904, Dartmouth has co-generated its own electricity, and currently the College produces more than 40 percent of its own power. By investing in triple-pane windows and efficient heating systems, we have also substantially decreased our energy consumption. Our sustainable woodlands management at the Second College Grant is an increasingly important model for how to balance habitat protection, recreation, education, and forestry.
The Dartmouth community has also embraced sustainability in a variety of ways: students practice sustainable agriculture at the Organic Farm, and we provide local and organic foods in dining halls. Since 2005, students have taken cross-country trips in a retrofitted school bus, called “The Big Green Bus,” that uses waste vegetable oil—conducting educational programs and raising awareness of climate change along the way. In fall 2008 we opened a Sustainable Living Center in a residence hall. Students residing in the center not only practice “green” living but also help educate the campus community about sustainable living. Of course the Dartmouth Outing Club, which will celebrate its centennial in 2009, fosters a deep sense of appreciation of and responsibility for the natural world, beginning with First Year Trips. Our history of academic exploration in environmental science and our commitment to policies and practices that support sustainability have established the College as a leader in this increasingly important area.
Dartmouth students and faculty are supported in their work and in their learning by a talented group of administrators and staff. They are an essential part of the institution, and we are fortunate to be able to recruit and retain a highly qualified, diverse, and dedicated community of employees.
Over the last several years, we have worked to provide more effective support to our learning and teaching environment. In fall 2005, I invited McKinsey & Company, the management-consulting group, to visit campus to explore how we might improve. Their assessment found that a strong administrative team and structure exists here, but there were also opportunities for enhancement. Following their report, I established three working groups to develop specific recommendations around communications and culture, recruitment and retention, and the planning and budgeting process.
- We have made a number of improvements, including:
- Creating a new mission statement
- Strengthening the performance evaluation process
- Reviewing management procedures and seeking greater collaboration across all areas of the College
- Expanding and enhancing new employee orientation efforts
- Enhancing professional development offerings, including a comprehensive management training program
- Launching a formal Dartmouth spouse/partner network
- Streamlining the hiring process
- Establishing an Ombudsman office and revising grievance policies
- Sharing information, priorities, and decisions more effectively
Although we are, in fact, thinly staffed for our commitment to quality of service and the systems management, compliance, and monitoring demands that mark Dartmouth today, in light of the current economic situation we will need to cut back our compensation expenses. Attrition will be the preferred approach to this, but it is not likely to be sufficient to meet our objectives. As of late November 2008, we have frozen external hiring except under extraordinary circumstances, and we will look for ways to handle any necessary reductions in staffing in as supportive a manner as is possible.
In the coming months, as we make changes to the budget, we will need to continue to improve communications within and between departments and divisions, help supervisors find ways to recognize good work, and clarify pathways and opportunities for those staff interested in advancement at the College.
Peggy Epstein Tanner ’79
“…From the moment Eric was accepted, I have cherished sharing the Dartmouth experience. I think Dartmouth today is an even stronger and better college with greater diversity and more social and academic opportunities than I had, but the core of what makes Dartmouth so unique is still very much intact. He is having his own Dartmouth experience, but in so many ways my father, my sister, and I can relate. The other day Eric called from Holt’s Ledge at the Dartmouth Skiway. It was a beautiful fall day, and during his free afternoon he decided to take a hike. Aside from being jealous, I thought, there is nothing better than being a Dartmouth student.”
Peggy Epstein Tanner ’79 is her class head agent and is co-chairing her 30th class reunion fund-raising efforts. She is a Dartmouth daughter (Alan R. Epstein ’47), a Dartmouth sibling (Elizabeth Epstein Kadin ’77), and a Dartmouth mother (Eric Tanner ’11). Formerly with Morgan Stanley and Chemical Bank, Tanner is engaged in many Dartmouth activities as a volunteer, including serving as chair of the Tucker Foundation Board of Visitors, a member of the President’s Leadership Council, past alumni councilor, and a former Dartmouth College Fund Committee member. She was one of the first recipients of the Young Alumni Award and recently received the Dartmouth Alumni Award.
Dartmouth in the World
“…the purpose of a Dartmouth education is not merely the enhancement of the self… At Dartmouth and elsewhere education needs to engage and sustain a life of broader responsibility.”
— James Wright, Inauguration, September 1998
Dartmouth in the World
The World’s Troubles Are Ours
At this year’s Convocation I shared some of my thoughts with the Class of 2012 about leadership for the twenty-first century. I reminded them that leaders are distinguished by an understanding of the richness of the human condition and a sense of responsibility—responsibility for self, for family and friends, and ultimately for others. As President John Sloan Dickey said, “There is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” At Dartmouth, students, faculty, and staff work together to prepare leaders who will assume responsibility for making the world we live in a better and more humane place. This long-standing commitment is woven into the Dartmouth experience both in and out of the classroom.
In 1951, President John Sloan Dickey and the Board of Trustees established the Tucker Foundation in honor of Dartmouth’s ninth president, William Jewett Tucker. The Foundation supports community service opportunities, off-campus fellowships, and leadership programs. Working with the Tucker Foundation, students embrace the opportunity to help and learn from others. Over 1,000 students volunteer annually, providing about 40,000 hours of service. They volunteer in schools, help to feed the hungry, and work with the Special Olympics—to name just a few of their activities. We have one of the few collegiate chapters of Habitat for Humanity, where students have assumed leadership for both fund-raising and building houses locally. Thayer students formed Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP) Worldwide. HELP identifies a need in the developing world (power, clean water, etc.), creates an engineering design to address that need, raises funds, and builds the necessary infrastructure working with a local village. In summer and fall 2008, they worked on a microhydro installation in Rwanda and, prior to this, completed a project in Kenya.
Many students initiate and pursue fellowships and internships worldwide. Students have helped restore Jewish cemeteries in Belarus, the Ukraine, and Lithuania through a program started and overseen by Rabbi Edward Boraz; staffed refugee centers; and explored songs of peace and reconciliation in Rwanda. One benefit of the D-Plan is that students have several opportunities throughout the year to undertake full-time volunteer work or internships—many of these in the areas of medicine, education, and social services. We expect that even greater numbers of students will explore these types of experiences now that we have relieved one summer’s earning expectation for financial aid students. Interest in service extends beyond a student’s four years at Dartmouth. Over the last several years about ten percent of the graduating class has applied to participate in Teach for America, and over 500 graduates have served in the Peace Corps since the program’s inception. Dartmouth has been named as one of the top 25 Peace Corps producers among small schools. We have had a number of recent graduates who have gone on to serve in the military, and I am very proud of their contributions. No matter what careers they choose, Dartmouth alumni/ae invest time and resources in local, national, and international causes, creating new businesses or technologies in developing countries, providing resources to underserved populations, or serving their local communities in innumerable capacities. Dartmouth aims to foster and continue to nurture that ethos of service. This is our legacy and a defining value.
As president I have tried to have an impact on the higher education experience for students across the country. Working with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over the last several years, I helped to develop a new set of graduation requirements to hold schools accountable for the academic progress of athletes. We also developed a clearer set of academic values and standards needed in all athletic divisions. I am serving on the Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education, a special group established by the College Board. Our report will be released in December of 2008. As a member of the Council on Competitiveness, I have joined with other university, business, and labor leaders to enhance the United States’ competitiveness in the global economy, and I am serving on a task force on initiatives in energy innovation and sustainability.
After visiting our wounded service men and women at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, I became interested in doing more to help our severely wounded veterans pursue higher education. Working with the American Council on Education (ACE), I helped to establish a program to provide educational counseling to veterans in our national military hospitals. Over the last year I also worked to support the passage of a new G.I. Bill that would more fully meet the financial needs of veterans returning to college. I have been pleased to welcome veterans to Dartmouth. They have added significantly to the richness and diversity of the community.
All of us at Dartmouth are incredibly fortunate to be part of a transformative learning experience. It has always been a part of the Dartmouth compact to extend this gift to others, and it is gratifying to be a part of a community that embraces this responsibility.
Dartmouth in the World
The Ochieng’ Brothers
“There is a set of wonderful mentors who students can interact with closely. I only took one class with Professor Andrew Friedland, and yet he learned of my vision and helped direct me to the right people. I met Dr. William Young during the Nicaragua community service trip, and he’s been a guide, mentor, and friend in helping me pursue my dreams. People at the Dickey Center, Tucker Foundation, and elsewhere all helped me amass the knowledge and build my confidence to realize that with determination and faith, anything is possible.”
—Milton Ochieng’ ’04
“At Dartmouth students are eager to do something to make things better for people who are disadvantaged. There are several opportunities for plain heart-to-heart sharing with students with diverse backgrounds who have witnessed inequalities and are willing to challenge themselves and cause change. It’s a very supportive community with people who are willing to listen, offer ideas, and help move things forward. It’s inspiring to see that people believe in and embrace what you are trying to do.”
—Fred Ochieng’ ’05
The Ochieng’ brothers grew up in Lwala, a small village in rural Kenya, Africa. After graduating from Dartmouth, the two overcame daunting obstacles to successfully build a medical clinic in their hometown.
At Dartmouth, Milton and Fred played varsity soccer and were members of the Navigators Christian Fellowship at Dartmouth. Both also were active in Tucker Foundation activities and programs. Milton participated in a community service trip to Nicaragua that was the inspiration to build the Lwala medical clinic, which opened in April 2007. Milton now is a resident at the Washington University School of Medicine; Fred will graduate from Vanderbilt University Medical School in June 2009.
Due to printing schedules, I need to sign off on this report at Thanksgiving. While this seems premature given the dynamics of this year, I also acknowledge that it is an appropriate time for closure: All of us at Dartmouth have much for which we are thankful. This is also an ironic time—I must submit a report summarizing the work of the last decade at the very moment we are undertaking a major expense reduction in response to the economic downturn. Over the next six months I will need to preside over a dramatic postscript to this report.
The further irony is that, superficially at least, so many of the economic forces and institutional challenges of the current time mirror those that confronted Dartmouth when I came here 40 years ago. At that time the budget was significantly in the red because President John Dickey and the Board had made a major commitment to enhance financial aid and to strengthen the faculty. A sharp decline of the stock market in the late 1960s significantly reduced endowment support for these initiatives.
My reflection on that experience is not aimed at mitigating this situation. I don’t think of my professional field of history as being a palliative one, where we seek to ease our own pain and discomfort by finding past examples of equal or greater pain and discomfort. History provides an opportunity to place our own lives in context and to understand better the growth of institutions and of human society. My understanding is that Dartmouth’s historic strength is not the result of ever having surplus financial resources, but instead is the result of having remarkable human wealth in students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, parents, and friends—what I have described as the true endowment of Dartmouth. This wealth will sustain Dartmouth through yet another economic downturn.
Just this past week I had several meetings regarding the budget and the steps we will need to undertake in order to reduce expenses. We will be consulting widely and seeking input on this. It is depressing but necessary work. It is also the case that in recent days I have met with students to talk about a service project, was delighted to see a number of faculty recognized for their research, including seven Fulbright scholarships, congratulated a senior for her Rhodes scholarship, wrote several graduates to salute their accomplishments, met with alumni/ae and parents, watched the men’s soccer team win an NCAA playoff game, and met with Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris ’84 and learned of the increase in the number and the strength of the pool of applicants for the Class of 2013. Dartmouth is well—and will continue to be. The 17th president of Dartmouth will be a lucky person—as I have been.
There is no way I can identify all of those individuals I would like to thank. I would simply say that both Susan and I have been privileged to have colleagues and friends who have made a difference for Dartmouth—and for us. But now this sounds more like goodbye than is warranted. We have a full agenda in front of us. So instead of farewell let me sound the call that I have used at Convocation for the last decade: We have work to do, you and I. Let us begin.
I welcome your good company in this good effort.
November 27, 2008