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Around Campus: Look Who Slept Here

Montgomery House has stood on Rope Ferry Road for more than eighty years, not long by New England standards. But it has been home to Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates, philosophers, heads of state, jurists, journalists, scientists, and intellectuals of every stripe.

A home away from home for Montgomery Fellows, it's also a favorite for students and faculty and a place where small gatherings frequently turn into big ideas.

In the mid-1970s, Kenneth Montgomery '25 and his wife Harle were exploring possible endowment gifts with then President John Kemeny, and they wanted to do something that would reflect how the life of the mind and the experience of community come together at Dartmouth. Their novel idea was a series of distinguished visitors and a carefully chosen place for them to live.

The star-studded list of Montgomery Fellows-from President Gerald Ford and Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, to biologist Stephen Jay Gould and philosopher Michel Foucault-has made Montgomery House a kind of campus Hall of Fame. Gracious, cozy, and filled with places to talk, it is here that the Fellows and the Dartmouth community really get to know each other.

"Fellows love the house," notes Executive Director of the Montgomery Endowment Susan DeBevoise Wright. "Richard Reeves and his wife said it was like being in an English garden. Robert Dallek said, 'I was asked to be a don at Oxford, but this is better.'" Reeves, former chief political correspondent for The New York Times, and Dallek, presidential historian, were here earlier this year for a series on presidential politics. "The house is a treasure," says Dallek.

Benefits run both ways for Montgomery Fellows. "I have never enjoyed any group of students more than I enjoyed the Dartmouth students," recalled former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, a Fellow in 1987 and 1995. "They were awesomely bright, dedicated, and eager to learn."

"It is cozy yet expansive," says David Shipler '64, a former trustee, New York Times correspondent, and Pulitzer Prize winner. "It draws you into comfortable rooms, then out to landscaped grounds and the tranquility of Occom Pond. It has become Dartmouth's quiet institution."

"Visitors are so grateful for the house," says Wright. "They are inspired because they see what makes this community special."

By Peter Walsh

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Last Updated: 7/24/18