Alumni Council News May 2011

Report to '60s  (expanded version)
202nd Alumni Council Meeting
May 19 – 21, 2011

Gentlemen of the Class of ’60:

The 202nd Alumni Council met (fortunately mostly indoors) under mostly gray and sometimes very wet skies from May 19 to 21, Green Key Weekend. As always, the days (and evenings) were jam packed with fascinating, useful and even surprising information. Here, in no particular order, are the highlights from my point of view. See the more detailed version of this on our Class website, www.dartmouth60.org  within a week or two.

A tour of selected athletic facilities again brought to mind the immense opportunities the College offers its students. In the Ivy League, at this time, our facilities outdistance every one of our peer schools. (I’ll report in greater detail on the tour on our Class website.) Tours were also available of Rauner Special Collections Library, the Hood Museum of Art, Thayer Dining Hall and the Underground Steam Tunnels . . . something for every taste.

The tour of the athletic facilities was conducted by Deputy Athletic Director Cep Ceplikas ’78 at a brisk pace. The 15,000 sq ft work-out area in Alumni Gym, or rather its heavy daily use struck me as quite remarkable. Every day, 24/7, more than 1,000 mostly students use the facility . . .  and that does not include varsity and club athletes who have their own work out and weight training space.

A number of years ago, the Athletic Department engaged some consultants to review the College’s athletic facilities. As Cep tells it, after an introductory tour, the gurus announced that Dartmouth had a wonderful set of lawns, but not one single true athletic playing field. That was the beginning of different field surfaces for different sports. Today Dartmouth uses four different artificial surfaces while one major sport (I’m not sure, but I think it is lacrosse) continues to happily use grass.  

On a visit to Dartmouth, Billie Jean King declared the tennis facility as one of the “best I’ve seen on any campus in the country.” Floren is absolutely outstanding as a field house with facilities for players, coaches and administrators and in particular an outstanding work-out and weight training area which is constantly in use. Thompson Arena   –the  best filled hockey rink in the Ivy League –   is closed for the summer to install  new ice making equipment and other improvements.

Together with other alumni councilors and students I participated in a discussion of the ‘irresponsible drinking’ issue. Jim Kim’s initiative in this respect is uniformly lauded. Members of a new student organization called ‘Green Team’ presented their approach to the problem: make a team of sober, responsible students available to parties on campus with the primary aim of helping those attendees who overdo the drinking. Apparently the concept is being welcomed by a lot of students. Both the students present and the alumni agreed that the real solution of the drinking problem lies with the students themselves. Of the 30+ attendees at the meeting, four or five were students.

For the latest details on the issue and particularly President Kim’s initiative see the story in The Dartmouth of May 27, 2011, attached below.

Jim Kim reported on Dartmouth’s endeavors to nationally and internationally improve Health Care Delivery Services. The concept is moving forward on a broad front. He addressed the question of irresponsible drinking again, particularly in connection with the search for ‘best practices’ which has been launched by 13 colleges and universities under the leadership of Dartmouth. And he announced the creation of a ‘center for peak performance’ initially proposed by Athletic Director Harry Sheehy to combine all functions available at Dartmouth  -academic skills coaching, athletic coaching, physical facilities, dietary advice, sports psychology, etc.-   as a holistic approach to improve everyone’s quality of life on campus and thereafter. (For more details see our Class website.)

On the closing of the $100 million budget gap you may want to read the article in the May/June 2011 issue of the Alumni Magazine, if you have not yet done so,  and the story on the subject in The Dartmouth of May 23, 2010, which is appended to the end of this report.

A new space for students has been created in the old card catalogue area in Baker. It is equipped with comfortable couches and chairs on one side and small tables on the other. It seems to me a great space to read or work on a laptop or even to study. It certainly is more comfortable than the Orozco corridor downstairs.

In connection with his emphasis on a new major initiative, every year, with fundamental and worldwide implications, President Kim made an interesting observation about traditions, something so very treasured at our alma mater. Traditions are important in their own right, of course, but, Kim said, they are even more important as the basis on which to build bold innovations. And talking about traditions you might want to check out classmate George Potts’ blog:  http://oldtraditions.blogspot.com/.

 

Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, presented some interesting facts. Dartmouth, for example, now offers 1,500 to 2,000 courses (taught by 400+ faculty), of which each student takes about 35 during his/her college career. In response to a question he stressed that Jim Kim is not putting heavy emphasis on the physical sciences. Social sciences and humanities are getting equal attention. One area that is growing, though, are interdisciplinary programs.

Next year a full curriculum review will take place. While smaller changes, additions, and deletions of and in individual courses are made every year, this will be a major undertaking. How major you may gauge by looking at www.dartmouth.edu/~reg?courses/desc to see what is offered now.

The current system of reunions was treated at length. While the College apparently has some questions about the appropriateness of how reunions are now run, the feeling of the majority of Alumni Councilors was more “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Jeff Immelt ’78, trustee of Dartmouth, CEO of General Electric and President Obama’s chief advisor on how to create more jobs in this country, offered a few interesting thoughts. There are 1 to 2 million open jobs in this country today, he believes, that cannot be filled because the un- and underemployed do not have the appropriate skills or are unwilling/unable to physically move to where these jobs are. Health care delivery is the biggest or at least the most expensive problem that the U.S. faces today and for the foreseeable future. And, as a nation we are falling behind in the utilization of clean energy and its many economic opportunities.

Immelt’s list of characteristics of the successful CEO, while not unique, was interesting. I’ll post the ten items that he listed on our Class website in a few weeks. In response to a question, Immelt explained that he took the assignment that President Obama offered him, because he is convinced that solutions to our economic and social problems for the “next six years or so” will not come from dead-locked Washington and therefore must come from the private sector.

Here are the ten characteristics a successful CEO per Jeff Immelt:

  1. A  humble listener;
  2. Always remains calm, particularly in a crisis;
  3. Accumulate relationships;
  4. Creates structured simplicity;
  5. A  good systems thinker;
  6. Able to connect with different generations;
  7. Always perseveres;
  8. Has self-appreciation;
  9. Leads from the front; and
  10. Likes and respects people.

In the Q&A session with members of the Board of Trustees it was announced that Dartmouth’s endowment has recovered a bit to nearly $3 billion. Also, the Board seeks to broaden its base by perhaps adding men and women who are younger, more internationally versed, and people with specific skills and knowledge.

Last time I talked about the composition of the Board of Trustees you raised some questions for which I now have “official” answers. (I would like to remind you, though, that organizational memories are notoriously unreliable.) Alumni-elected trustees must be alumni; Charter-appointed trustee do not. Aside from some governors of New Hampshire and the occasional president of the College, there has been only one single non-alumni trustee, though:  Sally Frechette Maynard, a Dartmouth parent. Not only does she hold the non-alumni distinction, but she also was the first woman trustee.  It would seem that Dartmouth is the only Ivy that essentially limits its trusteeships to alumni, with the noted exceptions. If you want more detailed information, take a look at the “Study by the Governance Committee of the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees” which was completed in August, 2007 and is posted online at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/features/governance/report-083007.pdf In particular, please note the chart on page 23.

Beginning in 2012-2013 the academic calendar will change: the fall term will end before Thanksgiving and will begin 10 days earlier than hitherto, on September 10. For details and the reasons behind the change see The Dartmouth of May 10, 2011.

Maria Laskaris ’84 introduced the Class of 2015 (see our Class website for details) and commented on some of the ever evolving admissions process, which uses less and less paper and more and more the latest in IT. A sign of where more and more students are coming from is the fact that in addition to English, Spanish and Chinese are used to attract them.

The make-up of the applicants accepted for the Class of 2015 is the following:

  • Men 50.1%, Women 49.9%.
  • Northeast 20.5%, Mid-Atlantic 27.3%, Midwest 11.2%, South 14.0%, International 7.3%.
  • Legacies 13.8%, First Generation 9.9%.
  • African Americans 8.3%, Asian Americans 15.4%, Latinos 6.9%, Native Americans 3.2%, Multiracial 0.7%, White 65.5%.
  • Median SAT scores: Verbal 730, Writing 750, Math 740.
  • Valedictorians 29.6%, Salutatorians 11.2%, Top 10% of Class 88.8%.

A panel of students exemplified the wide variety of community service projects that are undertaken by undergraduates. A woman leads Dartmouth’s aid for the Japan earthquake victims. A young man, born in Afghanistan who arrived in the United States two weeks before 9/11 leads the Tucker Foundation’s work with children in the Upper Valley and also assists immigrant families. Another woman assists returning veterans to readjust to civilian life. They and their fellow students raise money, generate social service ideas, scout out hand-on opportunities and of course work in the trenches. As the young man from Afghanistan said: “if you are privileged, you need to give back!”

On our Class website I will, as noted, expand on several of the topics above and will also comment (and supply links) on a few Dartmouth-connected news items that you may have missed.

An item that was not on the agenda of the AC meeting but apparently was discussed among councilors was: inadequate minority student leadership and the commitment of the  College to recruit and retain minority faculty. No telling at the moment whether the AC will pick up on the subject.

The Dartmouth reported on May 26, 2011 that “[S]seventy-five faculty members have signed a draft of a letter expressing dissatisfaction with the College’s decision to award an honorary degree to former U.S. President George H.W. Bush,” the letter’s author and history professor Walter Simons said in an interview with The Dartmouth. The faculty members claim that Bush’s values are contrary to those of the College and that granting politicians honorary degrees can be construed as an endorsement of their political ideologies . . .” That article is attached below.

Here’s a quote from Jim Kim’s most recent email to all alumni, which I believe all of us will applaud: the College is “initiating a lecture series for Sophomore Summer 2011, "Leading Voices in Politics and Policy," which will bring a major public figure to Hanover each week of the term. Inspired by the "Great Issues" course, the series will engage the campus and community in a shared intellectual experience focused on contemporary civic debates.” The following will be among the speakers: Former Senator and former New Hampshire governor  Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt ’78; Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City public schools; Henry Paulson ’68, former Secretary of the Treasury; former Labor Secretary and economist Robert Reich ’68; and Christina Romer, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Immelt is a member of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees and Reich is a trustee emeritus. The public lectures will be held every Thursday, at 4:30 pm, beginning on June 23. For more information see www. office.of.public.affairs@dartmouth.edu.

Charlotte H. Johnson, vice president and dean of the college at Colgate University, was appointed as the new Dean of the College at Dartmouth. She will assume her new role in July. Johnson has been dean at Colgate since 2006, leading a student affairs division of 114 staff in 16 units. Key initiatives she led at Colgate include divisional strategic planning, a structural reorganization, developing and implementing a divisional diversity plan, and re-envisioning an initiative to integrate students’ residential and educational experiences. Johnson will take over from Sylvia Spears, who, in August 2009, took on the role of Acting Dean of the College for two years.

Dartmouth beat Army 32-10 in the final of the USA 7s College Rugby Championship on Sunday, June 5 in Philadelphia. The win closed out a perfect tournament for the team in front of a national TV audience on NBC. For details see the copy of an email from Bill Gray attached below.

See the www.alumni.Dartmouth.edu/council for the reports of the various AC committees, such as Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and others. The report of the Athletic Committee, including Winter and Spring stats and highlights, is also posted on our Class website.

This my final email to you as your representative on the Alumni Council. Many thanks for the many of you who engaged with me on so many topics over the last three years. I very much enjoyed it.

As you all know, Peter Crumbine will take over on July 1. He will undoubtedly do a marvelous job of keeping us abreast of what is happening on the Hanover plain. I am looking forward to his reports. (We’ll also have another ’60 on the AC for the next three years: Tom Andrews will represent the Mid-Atlantic Region.)

It has been fun. Thank you for listening to me.

Axel