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Remembering David T. McLaughlin, Alumnus and Leader

A new residential complex for the north end of campus will bear the name of the late David Thomas McLaughlin '54, Tu'55, Dartmouth's 14th president (1981-87). President James Wright announced the naming of the David T. McLaughlin Cluster during his Convocation address last month. McLaughlin, who died of  natural causes on August 25 at age 72, was recognized for his contribution to the school and to society in an    on-campus memorial service and reception on October 4.

David T. McLaughlin

At Convocation, Wright said, "Former Dartmouth President John Dickey told students, 'The world's troubles are your troubles,' and David McLaughlin took this challenge as a life guide. Mr. McLaughlin did so much for Dartmouth, but the richness of his contributions to a broad range of areas-education, business, government, philanthropy, and international relations among them-is virtually unparalleled. He left this College and this world a better place."

As a Dartmouth student, McLaughlin excelled at both academic and athletic endeavors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and of both the Green Key service society and Casque and Gauntlet, president of his class as a junior, president of the Undergraduate Council, and an Air Force ROTC cadet. His class awarded him the Barrett Cup, recognizing him as "giving the greatest promise of becoming a factor in the outside world through his strength of character and qualities of leadership, record of scholarship, broad achievement, and influence among his fellows."

After graduation, McLaughlin was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but passed up the challenge of professional football to earn an MBA at the Tuck School. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet pilot for two years after graduating from Tuck, then joined Champion Paper, Inc. and, later, the Toro Company, advancing to become Toro's CEO and chairman of the board.

Throughout his life, McLaughlin served a wide range of nonprofit and corporate organizations in a governing or executive capacity and was particularly well known for his work with the American Red Cross and The Aspen Institute. He also served Dartmouth steadily in a variety of alumni volunteer capacities. In 1971, he was elected to Dartmouth's board of trustees and became its chair in 1977, continuing as chair until 1981 when he was elected to the College presidency, succeeding John Kemeny.

McLaughlin is survived by his wife Judith and four children, three of them Dartmouth graduates: William R. McLaughlin '78, Tu'81 of Minneapolis, Minn.; Wendy McLaughlin of Minneapolis, a graduate of Babson College; Susan Jangro '81 of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; and C. Jay McLaughlin '85 of Easton, Md.

[A full obituary is available]

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Last Updated: 7/24/18