Innovation: The Result of Education and Imagination.
– Robert M. Spence '66
The theme for this year's calendar focuses on the combined results of the above, and our Dartmouth which fosters its creation. I'd like to dig a bit deeper, however, because it's my belief that Dartmouth, and how Dartmouth relates to innovation, has a deeper source in another word – that being "enable".
Tom Brady, one of our class' successful entrepreneurs, once told me that the basis for building a business is to hire smart people and get out of their way. (Had Tom hired me I don't think he would have ever been able to come to that conclusion!) Seriously, what Tom is saying is that enabling someone to use their imagination and education is the best way to produce meaningful and beneficial results.
As a former history major let me put this into larger perspective. Have you read "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn? How about "Flyboys" by James Bradley? How about Henry Kissinger's latest book on China?
The first is a book about the enabling of women in developing countries to fully realize their self respect and economic and social capabilities. It is ultimately optimistic, but take your high blood pressure pills before starting it. The author's title comes from a quote "women hold up half the sky" attributed to Mao Tsetung. China's economy, according to the authors, has boomed in large part due to the education and enabling of women to enter the economic workforce. Micro finance, education, and social change are all helping to enable women globally to enhance their lives.
Nothing is perfect, however. As Henry Kissinger states in his latest book, Mao was also willing to sacrifice thirty million lives to achieve his goals. (Question: when were women in this country encouraged to attend higher education and allowed to vote? Look at our economy over the last century.) History is littered with examples of a controlling power assuming the moral high road resulting in dire consequences.
Read "Flyboys" sometime, but be careful - you're going to grind your teeth. Enabling humanity through liberal arts education and allowing individuals to be individuals in the pursuit of their own lives helps to counter the negative aspects of control and allows for broad based innovation. Ever think just how lucky we have been?
Such is the foundation and mission, past and present, of what Dartmouth seeks to accomplish. Dartmouth doesn't control, it enables, and the Dartmouth College Fund enables Dartmouth. With your support, a Dartmouth student chooses to attend Dartmouth; chooses a major; chooses social and athletic activities: the result being that the student is enabled upon graduation to continue his or her chosen path throughout life.
By providing those Dollars Creating Futures you enable Dartmouth and the students to flourish and use education and imagination to innovate for the betterment of the world which surrounds us.
Please lend a hand and help them on their way.