Dartmouth Alumni Council Meeting – May 14-16, 2009
– Wayne W. LoCurto '66
Attached is a report on the meeting. Following are a few key points:
- The highlight of the meeting was President-elect, Jim Kim's address. He
is a breath of fresh air. He is an athlete and fully committed to Dartmouth
athletics. He gets it! President Kim is also committed to executing
Dartmouth's mission and strategy better than they have been recently. An audio
version of his speech is available at :
- It was Green Key weekend, and the College was hoping. The students were
out in mass and having a blast. Those who continually question the direction
of Dartmouth should spend some time talking with the students. They are
thoroughly enjoying themselves and love it as we did when we were in Hanover.
- The administration has hired a consultant, Rick Taylor, to evaluate the
football program. His final report is due shortly. He feels the program is
close to a turnaround. The problem last fall was the extensive reliance on
young offensive and defensive linemen due to injuries and attrition.
- The amendment to the Association of Alumni constitution to provide one
person one vote balloting passed 82-18%. Only 20% of alumni voted. If we want
our ideas heard, we must participate and at least vote.
- Ed Halderman, Chairman of the Board Of Trustees, handled the dismissal of
Todd Zywicki diplomatically. He asked that future nominees for the BOT
respect the College and not criticize her outside of the boardroom, have some
previous board experience and know how to behave on a board.
- The endowment is down ~ 25%. The administration is working to cut $40
million from the budget over the next two years while protecting academic
programs and financial aide. The bad news which was not discussed at the
meeting is that the College's bond rating was reduced from AAA to AA+. This is
significant and must be watched. Per the Wall St. Journal, the rating was
reduced because " a balanced budget is not expected until fiscal 2011,
significant debt issuance, a decline in expendable resources and a high pro forma
- The Administration and Board of Trustees are interested in your thoughts
and ideas. Email them to me, and I will forward them (anonymously) to the
Have a great summer!
Report from the May 14-16, 2009 Alumni Council Meeting
By Sarah Jackson-Han '88
This was the 198th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. The council was founded by Ernest Martin Hopkins in 1913 to guide and support Dartmouth Alumni Relations, and it meets twice a year.
The mission of the Alumni Council is to sustain a fully informed, representative, and engaged exchange of information and sentiment between the alumni and the College, and to enhance and inspire alumni involvement that furthers the mission of the College.
This report is meant to complement the wealth of information--about this council meeting and alumni affairs in general--available on the Office of Alumni Relations Web site at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu.
This council meeting occurred in the context of significant global and local change: A worldwide economic downtown has forced staff reductions and budget cuts at the College; President James Wright was to hand over the College presidency to Jim Yong Kim in little more than one month; and Dartmouth alumni, earlier in the month, resoundingly approved an amendment to the Association of Alumni constitution that modifies the way in which alumni nominate trustees to the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.
On Friday, Maria Laskaris '84, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, briefed councilors on the incoming freshman class of 2013. This was the most selective year ever, with an overall acceptance rate of 12.3 percent. The incoming class is phenomenally accomplished. Thus far, 91 percent rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes, and 34 percent are valedictorians (statistics on the class are available in the minutes).
The Admissions office "benefited greatly" from the addition of outside readers to assess applications, she said.
Ralph Manuel '58, '59Tu moderated the next panel on veterans studying at Dartmouth as part of a College initiative--led by President Wright--to reach out to those who have served in the military. This panel constituted a highlight of this Alumni Council, and the panelists received a lengthy standing ovation. Some 17 veterans are now in the student body, with five veterans in the incoming freshman class.
Samuel Crist '10, who was deployed to Iraq in June 2004. Crist was shot twice and spent a year at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. When President Wright visited Bethesda Naval and handed out business cards, Crist said, "I was so medicated at the time I didn't remember much, but fortunately I had that business card." After returning home to Texas in 2005, he wrote to President Wright. "I didn't expect that he would remember--I didn't expect a response," he said. "He called me back a week later and said it was too late to apply for 2010, but I should try to get into another school and see about transferring. I was there for about a year and then transferred."
Greg Agron '11 enlisted as a U.S. marine and was twice deployed to Iraq, after which he married his high school sweetheart--who, while Agron was working in construction after a third deployment, announced "it was time for me to go to college." A sister-in-law at Dartmouth encouraged him to apply early decision, and he was accepted, after which a phone call from President Wright prompted him to matriculate. "This is my seventh straight term, and it's been an absolute joy," Agron, a Russian major, said. "I never appreciated what a group of teachers or professors could do for you."
Tom Richardson '11 grew up in North Carolina. "My parents were extremely keen on my joining the Marine Corps," he said, "I was stationed three hours east of where I grew up. Three weeks before training ended ... they told us we weren't going to Hawaii but we were going to Iraq instead." After his discharge from the military, Richardson put himself through two years of community college, then transferred to Dartmouth.
Dean Kent Yrchik-Shoemaker, who helps with ROTC on campus, described the veterans as "an incredible addition" to campus. "Their academic background isn't what it is with the other students, but they have actively caught up and excelled." Their presence has apparently redounded to the benefit of the fraternity system as well, several councilors noted, citing the pristine condition of the houses to which the veterans belong.
Alumni Council President J.B. Daukas '84 then noted that College alumni have now voted to accept a proposed change to the Association of Alumni constitution by a vote of 10,375 "yes" (81.9 percent) to 2,293 "no" (18.1 percent). There were 12,668 votes cast on the proposed amendment. The amendment required a two-thirds supermajority of voting alumni to pass. The amendment modifies the way in which alumni make nominations to the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.
Incoming 2009 Alumni Councilors were then presented to the Alumni Council by Martha Hartfiel '83, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.
Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt '78 then spoke on the topic "Igniting the Creative Learner in Every Student." Over the last year, she said, the global economy has forced budget cuts and staff reductions, but financial aid has remained intact and the Dartmouth curriculum has grown. She also identified five critical areas of learning: individual attention to students; interdisciplinary thinking; international study; innovation, modernization, and a strong core curriculum; and an inclusive learning environment. She noted further that the faculty has grown by about 20 percent over last 10 years and annual research grants have also more than doubled over the same period, from $79 million to $163 million.
"It's often said that the best leaders are people who are able to retrieve information from lots of different areas of an organization," Dean Folt said. "The need for a liberal arts education is greater now than it's ever been."
Among recent developments, she cited: Tuck faculty teaching undergraduates; a new international studies minor; new off-campus programs launched, with some under consideration; new writing and rhetoric courses; the new Leslie Center for digital humanities; the Neukom Institute for Computational Sciences
Another highlight of the Council meeting was a brief address by incoming president Jim Yong Kim, who cited the emotional attachment of Dartmouth alumni to the College as a critical factor in his decision to leave Harvard and accept the position of College president. "I chose to come to Dartmouth because of the impact it had on all of you. You are all stakeholders in a very different way compared with other institutions" and their alumni, he said. "Harvard students cry when they're going to Harvard," he said. "You guys cry when you're looking back on Dartmouth."
Kim, 49, trained as both a physician and an anthropologist, receiving his MD and PhD from Harvard University. He received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant in 2003 and most recently served as director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is renowned for his groundbreaking work as co-founder of Partners in Health, and then at the World Health Organization, bringing effective medical treatment for H.I.V. and AIDS and for drug-resistant tuberculosis to the poor.
Kim cited the natural environment in Hanover, the social interaction among students, and undergraduate access to tenured professors as unique assets of the College. "The chance to impact thousands of young people ... is going to be much more impactful than what I can do as an individual," Kim said. Alumni councilors gave Kim a lengthy standing ovation.
Dartmouth Graduate Programs: A Changing Environment
A subsequent panel on Dartmouth's graduate programs included Tuck School dean Paul Danos, Dartmouth Medical School dean William Green, Thayer School dean Joseph Helble, and Dean of Graduate Studies Brian Pogue--all of whom emphasized the growing involvement of their programs in teaching undergraduates as well as graduates.
"We want to be the best leadership experience you can have in management education," Dean Danos said. About one-third of students and faculty at Tuck are international, he said, and most students have at least one language other than English. Tuck has notably developed the Bridge Program, in which 250 undergraduates come for a month-long business boot-camp course, of whom 10-20 percent are Dartmouth students. The Paganucci Fellowship program brings undergraduates to Tuck to research areas of social impact.
Dean Green noted that medical school faculty continue to teach and mentor undergraduate biology students, and that the medical school is working hard to preserve financial aid so that medical graduates won't choose their practice areas based on the need to repay their accumulated debt. The joint medical program with Brown University is being phased out, he said, while a new partnership with California Pacific Medical Center is starting up. The Dartmouth Institute, which is part of DMS, now awards some 60 to 70 MPH degrees every year.
Dean Helble told councilors that engineering is now the seventh-largest undergraduate major and second-largest undergraduate science major--and that about half of all undergraduates now take at least one engineering class at Thayer. One of the most popular classes is known as Engines 21--introduction to engineering--which covers innovation and creativity. Thayer now offers an exchange program with a university in Thailand as well as a number of joint programs with other departments, including studio art and public policy. Thayer now also offers an "innovation track" within the PhD program, in which top students are offered special classes, including some at Tuck, that aim to equip them to become successful entrepreneurs.
President Jim Wright gave his final address to the council at dinner on Friday night. He described his accomplishments, and what he will most miss about his presidency: interacting with students. Jim described the many changes he has seen in his 40 years of teaching at Dartmouth, observing that "Dartmouth is a dream as old as Wheelock and as young as a member of the Class of 2013." The council presented him with a citation in appreciation of his service to the College and he received a standing ovation.
On Saturday, Alumni Council President J.B. Daukas '84 presented a report by the Committee to Support Greek Letter Organizations. The committee's purpose is to support and enhance Greek letter organizations on campus and hopes to conclude its work in six months, he said. At the moment, Dartmouth comprises 29 such houses--22 Greek letter organizations have houses (15 are privately owned and 7 are College-owned)--and about 65 percent of the campus belongs to Greek letter organizations. Daukus reported that the College has made $8 million dollars available in low-interest loans for improvements to these houses and acquired two more buildings that will become sorority houses. Alumni expressed interest in a revised alcohol policy that would lift restrictions on beer kegs (thereby reducing the amount of trash in houses) and in continuing efforts to educate students on alcohol and sexual assault.
Rick Silverman '81, chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee, then presented a report from the Alumni Liaison Committee, whose purpose is to gather feedback from alumni, share it with the Alumni Relations office, Board of Trustees, and senior College administrators.
Silverman urged all councilors to send all feedback to ALC@dartmouth.org with relevant categories in the subject line (governance, athletics, academic affairs, admissions, presidential search, composite, other, etc.) and to clearly indicate whether a message is an action item, to be handled promptly. He urged councilors to reply to every single alumni e-mail, even if only to acknowledge receipt. Silverman also presented an alumni flow chart which will be posted online at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu/council.
Board of Trustees chair Ed Haldeman '70 and trustee Jose Fernandez '77 then took the stage and were applauded at length for having named Jim Yong Kim as incoming College president. Haldeman noted that the search was accomplished with the aid of six faculty members and the Isaacson Miller search firm; he also noted "dramatically improved communication between alumni and the board." Haldeman welcomed passage by an 82 percent majority of the new Association of Alumni constitutional amendment and reported that all but one trustee have been re-elected to the board for a second term. In response to the financial crisis, Haldeman reported a number of strategic staff cuts, salary freezes, and scaled-back plans, although the board has insisted on maintaining financial aid and academic programs at their current levels.
Fernandez, who chairs the board's facilities committee, reported that Dartmouth is nearing the end of a $1 billion expenditure cycle that has seen completion of the new baseball field, Tuck residential renovations, and New Hampshire Hall; the new life sciences center is underway. One faculty house is being converted into a sorority house, which will house 23 students. A final major project, funding for which remains uncertain, is a new visual arts center. The current economic climate has required postponement of a renovation to Thayer dining hall and refurbishment rather than replacement of the West Stands of Memorial Field.
Asked what councilors might tell constituents about the often contentious alumni trustee situation, Haldeman and Fernandez described the recent decision to remove one board member as difficult and troubling. Haldeman suggested that trustees have a special responsibility, while free to express any opinion among themselves, to speak well of the College in public. Asked what additional skill sets the board might require in future trustees, Fernandez suggested that more geographic diversity might be desirable, along with public service experience.
Martha Hartfiel '83, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, provided the election results for the positions of Alumni Council president-elect, the council-elected position on the Alumni Liaison Committee, and membership on the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. They are:
Alumni Council President-Elect: Tom Peisch '70
Alumni Council Liaison Committee: Susan Hess '81
Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee: Danielle Dyer '81, '89Tu and Jon Murchinson '91
At the open forum, the election results, criteria for Young Alumni Distinguished Service Awards and Alumni Award , and criteria for honorary degrees were presented. J.B. Daukas announced the Open Microphone session. No alumni asked questions or made comments during this session and Daukas opened new business. David Bradley expressed concern that post- 55-year reunion classes only have two Alumni Councilors representing the constituency. Daukas said this will be increased to three under the transition plan because of the new constitution, and that the Executive Committee will examine the population of these classes and look into the matter further.
A resolution unanimously passed to commend President Wright for his efforts on behalf of veterans of the U.S. armed services and encourage the College to continue to build on his legacy. The resolution follows:
"Over the past three years, President James Wright has worked tirelessly to bring veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Dartmouth College as undergraduates. Through his efforts, President Wright has renewed Dartmouth's strong historical connection to our military services, he has dynamically added to the experience of numerous Dartmouth undergraduates, and he has done his part to fulfill the debt that our college owes to this country's veterans. Most importantly, though, President Wright recognized that the work is not done, and that as a leader in the educational community Dartmouth has a continuing obligation to its country and to its students to help provide veterans with the opportunity to become a part of our college. In a February 2009 address to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, President Wright said:
'As I have learned over the last several years, it is not enough to sit back passively and expect veterans to come to us. It is my observation after several years of talking to veterans--largely wounded veterans, to be sure, but I think they are pretty representative in this regard--that the financial barrier is only part of what is keeping them from thinking about higher education. They have in some cases never been encouraged to think about this and they have often come to believe they would not be welcome. We need to step up to remedy this. This requires us to remember that these are not conventional students being encouraged and supported by high school guidance counselors, teachers, and parents. They need encouragement. They need information. They need help in applying. And they need us to be flexible.'
This statement should serve as a model for Dartmouth's continued support of the veterans of our nation's wars.
Be it resolved, the Alumni Council of Dartmouth College commends President Wright for his efforts on behalf of veterans of the United States armed services and encourages the College to continue to build on his legacy."
A discussion of the current ROTC program on campus and whether it might be possible to launch additional ROTC programs at Dartmouth followed. Vice President for Alumni Relations David Spalding '76 provided the current status of Army ROTC at Dartmouth and confirmed that the program is on campus where the training takes place as well. Discussion ensued. It was decided that more information is needed by the Alumni Council Executive Committee to continue the conversation regarding ROTC on campus.
Lynne Gaudet '81, director of Alumni Leadership, read the following two resolutions thanking Martha Hartfiel '83, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, and John "J.B" Daukas '84, Alumni Council President, for their service. Both resolutions were unanimously approved by the Alumni Council.
Resolution thanking Martha Hartfiel:
"Be it resolved that the Dartmouth Alumni Council extends its deep appreciation to Martha Hartfiel '83 for her thoughtful and energetic leadership as the 2008-2009 chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Although there were no trustee elections this year, Martha did not rest for a moment. Instead, she guided the committee through a year of research and thought, actively soliciting nominations for the Alumni Liaison Committee, at-large Alumni Council members, and future trustee candidates. With her keen intelligence and engaging personality, she encouraged creative thinking, as the committee worked to identify and recruit alumni volunteer leaders. Martha's great sense of humor and wit caused many people to wonder why so much laughter could be heard behind those Nominating Committee doors. We understand the great sacrifice of time and energy that your job as chair required, and we appreciate not only the sacrifice, but the enthusiasm, willingness, and constant good humor with which you made it."
Resolution thanking John "J.B." Daukas '84:
"Be it resolved that the Dartmouth Alumni Council extends its sincere appreciation to John "J.B." Daukas '84 for his extraordinary leadership as president of the Alumni Council. J.B. would be the first to say that he is not an "insider," and yet through his activism and love for Dartmouth, he rose to the highest levels of volunteer service on behalf of the College. He ran as a petition candidate for the Association of Alumni, and although he was not elected, he got involved in the long effort to reform alumni governance. As a member of the Alumni Governance Task Force, J.B. worked tirelessly with alumni of many different viewpoints to propose a new Association of Alumni constitution. Although the constitution fell short of approval, it was back to the drawing board for J.B. as he joined the Alumni Council; worked with fellow councilors to propose a revised Alumni Council constitution improving representation and establishing the Alumni Liaison Committee; drafted an amicus brief on behalf of the Alumni Council in response to the lawsuit filed by members of the Association of Alumni Executive Committee against the Board of Trustees; and worked diligently to improve communications between alumni, the College and the Board of Trustees. All that hard work finally paid off, as alumni just voted overwhelmingly to amend the Association constitution and adopt important election reforms! J.B. might deserve some rest and relaxation now, but knowing him as we do, we are not quite ready to let him go. Fortunately for us, he will assume the responsibility of chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee next year, and we look forward to his wisdom and counsel in that important role.
J.B., as you hand over the gavel, may our memories of your leadership continue to inspire Councilors and all alumni for years to come.
We thank you for your unsparing and energetic dedication to the work of President of the Alumni Council."
The retiring Class of 2009 Alumni Councilors was thanked.
The meeting was adjourned.
An Executive Committee debriefing took place on Tuesday, May 19, via teleconference.
Dartmouth Alumni Council Meeting – December 4-6, 2008
– Wayne W. LoCurto '66
A complete summary of the meeting is included for your review. However, I would like to highlight a few points.
- This spring all alumni will be asked to vote on an amendment to the Association of Alumni [AOA] constitution.
The AOA conducts the elections for alumni nominated trustees. The change will provide for up to two Alumni Council
nominees for each open seat. It also preserves the petition candidate process. The winner will be the candidate
who gets the majority of the votes of all voting alumni. This amendment makes sense, and I encourage you to vote
in favor of it. The Board of Trustees [BOT] has never failed to accept the winner of the AOA elections.
- Another lawsuit has been filed against the College to try to force parity on the Board of Trustees between charter
trustees and alumni nominted trustees. The BOT feels this suit will fail, but it may cost the College $1-2 M to fight.
After discussions with the President of the AOA and Ed Halderman, Chairman of the BOT, I think we have a better
chance of gaining, or at least approaching, parity through meaningful discussions between the BOT and the AOA.
Lawsuits are not the answer. They are costly and embarrassing to the College and her Alumni.
- It apprears that Buddy Teavens will be the football coach next fall. Despite the 0-10 record, the coaching staff
and the athletic director feel the team is making progress. They believe that restoring the team's winning ways is
tougher than they thought, and it will require more time. Next year will be Buddy's fifth year as Head Coach since
returning to Dartmouth in 2004.
- The DAC has formed an Alumni Liason Committee to meet with the BOT and discuss alumni concerns/issues.
Please email me any comments or concerns which you would like me to forward to the committee.
The endowment is down about 13.5 percent (not including private equities). Harvard's is down 22 percent. As a practical matter, Dartmouth is looking at a possible $40 million shortfall, and so the school is taking steps to cut up to $40 million out of the operating budget over the next two years. It has already been determined that this won't affect the tenured faculty or financial aid.
Keller says he will have a plan in place by February that will be open and transparent. "There are efficiencies to be gained," he said, "but there is not much fat in the budget."
In the area of capital projects, trustee Jose Fernandez '77 told the council that the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Building is far enough along that it will go forward. The replacement of Thayer Hall and the new Visual Arts building will be put on hold, as will the full renovation of the West Stands of Memorial Field.
The Elevator Talk
Alumni Council meetings provide council members with lots of information.
Here is a 20-second summary (see below for details on each item):
- The economic downturn means Dartmouth will have to cut up to $40 million in operating expenses over the next two years. The endowment is down 13.5 percent. (Harvard's is down 22 percent.)
- Dean Tom Crady has practical, effective, data-based insights into forming a sound alcohol policy.
- International student applications are on the rise.
- Alums will soon vote on a referendum on the nominating process for alumni-nominated trustees.
- Watch the "Wearers of the Green" video at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu/wearers. You can also register there for the induction dinner in Boston May 16
- The new Biondi baseball complex and Floren Varsity House are amazing.
- Visit the Dartmouth YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/Dartmouth.
The mission of the Alumni Council is to sustain a fully informed, representative, and engaged exchange of information and sentiment between the alumni and the College, and to enhance and inspire alumni involvement that furthers the mission of the College.
This report is meant to complement the wealth of information – about this council meeting and alumni affairs in general – available on the Office of Alumni Relations Web site at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu.
If you haven't already, it's a good idea to save this address among your "favorites."
The Financial Situation
Adam Keller, vice president for finance and administration, was kind enough to brief the council on the impact of the economic downturn on the College.
The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience is still on track for meeting its goals of increasing the size of the faculty, enhancing financial aid, and completing various projects to enhance the facilities.
Of course, a lot has changed in the past couple of months.
Dean Tom Crady: The Practical Approach to Alcohol on Campus
Tom Crady has been dean of the College close to a year. He talked with the Alumni Council about "Alcohol at Dartmouth: Context, trends, and considerations in developing a workable policy."
Crady, who wrote his PhD dissertation at Iowa State on alcohol and fraternities, has a refreshingly practical approach to the difficult subject of alcohol on college campuses. Many aspects of effective alcohol policy are counterintuitive. Dry campuses, for example, have higher binge drinking rates (56 percent vs. 42 percent) than non-dry ones. The higher drinking age has led binge drinking to go up. Banning kegs often leads to greater use of hard liquor. Students like substance-free dorms so they can drink elsewhere and not have people throwing up in their halls. And putting responsibility back in students' hands seems to work better than unenforceable rules. With these things in mind, Crady wouldn't mind seeing a national discussion on bringing the drinking age back down from 21 to 18.
When he first arrived, Crady studied the data on students' health, including alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, and depression.
In general, 60 percent of Dartmouth students have had experience with alcohol in high school; 80 percent drink at Dartmouth, which means that 20 percent don't.
Taking this data, and seeing what works and what doesn't, he is trying to craft an alcohol policy that is "safe, realistic, and enforceable."
Happily, binge drinking seems to be down a little, from 57 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2008.
Crady feels that the College's Good Samaritan Policy, under which a student in a risky situation can call for help without fear of punishment,
is "absolutely crucial" in avoiding dangerous situations. Without it, Crady feels, we "might have had a death."
It is also helpful to have Dick's House on campus. And it is also important that the College policy is for first
offenses to result in discussions, not permanent records. "When you have 1, 2, 3 and you're out," says Crady,
"You're almost guaranteed to have a death on campus, because students have such a fear of getting caught."
An effective alcohol policy will also include educating the students on risk and liability. "Kids don't know New Hampshire
laws about serving peers," says Crady. If a person signs for a keg, for example, he or she can be liable for what happens to
someone who partakes of it. New Hampshire law also allows police officers to charge a person with possession of alcohol
based on the alcohol in his or her bloodstream.
Crady feels that "environmental management" is the best management approach to the issue, such as consideration of the physical
situations that lead to binge drinking, and having a space in which students can have a get-together that doesn't involve alcohol.
In a dinner program, Karen McKeel Calby '81 received the Dartmouth Alumni Award.
President Wright spoke on the many things going on at Dartmouth, noting that 14 percent of the entering Class of 2012
are first-generation college students and 8.5 percent are international students.
International Students at 8.5 Percent of the Class of 2012; Applications Rising
The Alumni Council heard from Rebecca Munsterer, who oversees international recruitment as senior associate director of Admissions.
She graduated from Colby College in 2001, then got her master's in creative writing at Dartmouth in 2004. Her master's thesis was
a TV documentary on college admissions.
Dartmouth is now one of just eight schools in the country that has need-blind admissions for international students. They've seen an increase of 28 percent in international applications, and they are expecting more increases in the future.
Stephen Silver, director of International Student Programs in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, helps deal with life and issues for international students when they arrive. Three students talked with the Council about their experiences.
Kevin Jackson '10 is an economics major from Venezuela and the president of the International Students Association (ISA), which has grown very active, putting on events and expanding its voice in the community.
Helen Chow '09 is from Hong Kong. Even though she'd spent two years in high school in Wales (at a United World College), Hanover was a culture shock and at times a lonely place. The art studio became her outlet.
It actually hindered Helen somewhat that she appeared to be quite comfortable at Dartmouth. "Because I don't have a pronounced accent," she says, "people assume I'm American. But the fact is that I don't know some of the things I'm supposed to know, like the difference between Republicans and Democrats, NASCAR and NAFTA." She had a meaningful spring work trip to post-Katrina Biloxi, Miss., and a Copenhagen exchange term. When she pledged Sigma Delta, she said, "I realized why people confuse me with other Asian women on campus. I looked at the other 39 pledges, all Caucasian, and they all looked the same to me."
Kevin Mwenda '10 is from Nairobi, Kenya. He, too, went to a United World College for two years in high school. His was in Victoria, B.C. Before that he had gone to boarding school in Kenya. He also experienced culture shock, and?even after having been in British Columbia?surprise at the cold. He joined the ISA and took to heart its buddy system. At different times in high school he wanted to be a doctor, engineer, dancer, or any number of other things. In Kenya he would have had to decide early. At Dartmouth he had settled on an environmental economics major, but he very much values the liberal arts experience he's had.
Dartmouth is in good shape for adapting to Tom Friedman's flat world.
Trustee Nomination Process
The current process by which the Alumni Council nominates three candidates for trustee elections (with other candidates
eligible through petition) has been in place since 1990. The elections are conducted by the Association of Alumni,
whose function is to hold these elections and an annual meeting of the association. (A small technicality: the elections
yield a "nominee" for trustee, who is then "elected" by the board of trustees. The board has never failed to elect an
The nominating process has led to various problems, including the "churn and burn" of excellent, qualified candidates who agree to run, possibly lose, and come away understandably discouraged. As the nomination process has become politicized, it has also become expensive. Even a basic mailing costs thousands of dollars.
The new proposal from the Association of Alumni is to put forth one candidate (or two, if there is no petition candidate running), with each alumnus casting one vote for their preferred candidate. The objective is to have head-to-head contests, majority victories, and a "one person, one vote" system.
Alumni must vote to approve this new mechanism by a two thirds margin. Please make a point of taking part in this referendum.
As a practical matter, if this process is not approved, the trustees will turn the duty of running elections over to the College. The trustees don't want to do this, and the College doesn't want to get into the business of running elections, but the current system is untenable.
Wearers of the Green Video: Watch It
Associate athletic director Bob Ceplikas '78 and Northeastern University athletic director Peter Roby '79 – with help from
football coach Buddy Teevens '79 and women's hoops coach Chris Weilgus – talked about the Dartmouth Athletics Wearers of the
Green. (Teevens noted that he was embarrassed by the winless football season. His boss, AD Josie Harper, said Buddy will turn it around in 2009.
Apparently, this fall's Big Green was a young team that was beset with injuries.)
The Wearers of the Green (www.alumni.dartmouth.edu/wearers) was founded in 1984, with inductions held every five years. To be honored as a Wearer of the Green, a Dartmouth College student, alumnus, or coach must be an All-America selection; an individual or team national champion; an Olympian; a major league professional; a member of an athletic hall of fame; a First-Team All-Ivy member three or more times; an Ivy League Player of the Year in a particular sport; a member of a winning crew in either the International Rowing Association or Eastern Sprints; or a recipient of the Kenneth Archibald Prize, the Alfred E. Watson Trophy, or the Class of 1976 Award.
The council watched a moving video on what it means to be a "Wearer of the Green," which you can access at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu/wearers.
More than 160 students, alumni, and coaches will be inducted on Saturday, May 16, at the Westin Copley Place in Boston (reception 6-7 pm, dinner 7-11 pm). President Wright will speak. Alumni are encouraged to attend. You can register at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu/wearers.
The new Biondi baseball complex and Floren Varsity House are amazing.
The Alumni Council saw the beautiful new Biondi baseball complex, featuring great new stands and artificial turf (including a brown artificial turf infield "dirt" area).
The council then toured the spanking new Floren Varsity House, which features a lavish auditorium, impressive team meeting rooms, a new football locker room and a new weight room for varsity athletes that will open up the old weight room in Alumni Hall to the rest of the student body, including club and intramural athletes and those just wanting to do their squats and bench presses.
Dartmouth YouTube Channel
Jon Murchinson '92, who works in communications at Google, introduced the council to the Dartmouth YouTube channel:
www.youtube.com/dartmouth. Though it's not officially launched yet, it's up and running and already looms as a fantastic vehicle for telling Dartmouth's story. Unlike the regular YouTube, which is limited to videos of 10 minutes or fewer, the university sites are allowed to upload videos of any length, making it possible to show entire lectures, presentations, concerts, and so on.
The College, along with other institutions around the country, now has the challenge of figuring out how best to use this incredible tool. (Hint: after the U.S., the country with the most hits on the channel so far is China.)
Alumni Liaison Committee: email@example.com
The Alumni Council helps communicate alumni opinions to the board of trustees. The Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) has
formalized that function by establishing a process by which all alumni input is tallied and sent along to the trustees.
All alumni councilors are asked to forward input from their constituents to alc.@alum.dartmouth.org with the general
subject matter placed in the header field (e.g., academics, admissions, alumni governance, athletics, and so on).
Last year's input was compiled in a report and delivered to the trustees, who say it is extremely valuable and helpful. "We really pay attention to the feedback we're getting," said Ed Haldeman '70, chair of the board of trustees. (See further comments below.)
Comments by Trustees Ed Haldeman '70, Jose Fernandez '77, and Al Mulley '70
Ed Haldeman said he was pleased to welcome the five new trustees, with their diverse expertise, all of which will be put to use in
guiding the College. Noting that 21 trustees are Dartmouth alumni (additionally, the trustees include the president of the
College and the governor of New Hampshire, for a total of 23), he said that, "Working together, in my five years as a trustee,
this is the best board we've had."
"Facing budget issues," he said, "we are going to have to make budget cuts. Our goal is for student life and academic programs to remain unchanged." Haldeman reiterated that they are working on reducing the operating budget by up to $40 million over two years.
Jose Fernandez, speaking for the Facilities Committee, mentioned that it is good to have new trustee Steve Roth, a commercial real estate expert, on the committee. They have decided to do the following in light of the budget tightening:
- Complete the projects that are under way, notably the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Building, the work going on at Tuck, and the new baseball complex, funded by the Biondi family.
- Delay other projects, notably the Visual Arts Center, Buchanan Hall at Tuck, and the renovation of the West Stands of Memorial Field. "Instead, we'll just deal with the immediate maintenance needs on the West Stands," said Fernandez, "which will save about $10 million."
- Complete the planning of projects that still need funding, including the 1953 Commons at the medical school.
- Defer construction of the parking lot on Route 120 and the renovation of Thayer Hall.
Al Mulley, who chairs the Presidential Search Committee, gave an update on the search. The committee was named in June, and it resolved to have a transparent process and as active a search as possible. There will be no formal interviews until the new year. There are some 20 or 30 people the search committee is interested in. They will select 12 to interview and expect to have an announcement in the spring.