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Nelson ’75 to Lead Outdoor Programs

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Dean of the College Thomas Crady has appointed Daniel M. Nelson '75 as director of Outdoor Programs. Nelson 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.

nelsonDaniel Nelson ’75 (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
The Outdoor Programs Office, part of the Dean of the College division, plans and implements outdoor recreation programs to enhance student experiences and provides leadership and guidance to students.

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, and the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC).

Andrew Palmer '10, former president of the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), says, "Dan has the traits that both the search committee and the student DOC members have been looking for as we continue through our Centennial celebration."

Crady says, "Dan wholly embraces the principles of appreciating and partaking in all outdoor activities that our environment offers."

In 1987, Nelson returned to his alma mater to be a class dean. Since then, he has served in key roles including senior associate dean and twice as acting dean of the College. As senior assistant to the president, he serves as President Wright'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."

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 has lived in New Hampshire for more than 30 years. After working as a staff writer and editor for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine until 1981, he earned his master's degree and doctorate in religion and political philosophy from Princeton University. He has been active with the Ledyard Canoe Club and the Dartmouth Outing Club, serving on both their advisory boards, and is a member of the board of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance. 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.


A Few Words with Daniel Nelson '75

Majored in: English and religion

Learned to love the outdoors when: "I was introduced to hiking and climbing in my home state of Washington by a teacher, and then participated in an Outward Bound course."


Class of 1966 Lodge (Photo by Tilman Dette ’10)

Everyone at Dartmouth should take a walk to visit: "The top of Balch Hill and the Class of 1966 Lodge-formerly known as Harris Cabin."

Favorite Outdoor Programs memory from his undergraduate days: "My first-year trip-a traverse of the Presidential Range [in the White Mountains] in the sleet and rain. Also learning how to cross-country ski on the Moose Mountain trails."


Presidential Range (

Especially enjoys: "Nordic, alpine, and telemark skiing; road and mountain biking; canoeing and kayaking; hiking and climbing; hunting and fishing."

Why Dartmouth's Outdoor Programs are in a class of their own: "A great tradition of student initiative and leadership; substantial support from the College and alumni; and our fortunate rural location. Our tradition, level of involvement, and natural resources are unmatched."

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 4/22/09