Alumni Council News May 2012

Class of 1960: On May 22, I sent you the highlights from my notes for the 204th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council (DAC) held May 17-19 in Hanover. This email has been posted on our web site (http://www.dartmouth60.org/) by our webmaster, Walt Daniels. 

The complete notes, prepared by Steve Geanacopoulos '74 on behalf of the Communications Committee, are as follows:


REPORT FROM THE 204TH DARTMOUTH ALUMNI COUNCIL MEETING
MAY 17–19, 2012


In recent years, the Alumni Council Communications Committee has provided an account of each Alumni Council meeting that councilors can use to convey to their constituents a sense of what we saw and heard. You are welcome to pass along all or any portion of this report to your constituents — adapting, cutting, pasting, or adding as appropriate to your needs.

This was the 204th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. In 1913, Dartmouth President Ernest Martin Hopkins formed the Alumni Council to guide and support Dartmouth alumni relations. The council meets twice yearly in Hanover. 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 website at www.alumni.dartmouth.edu. If you haven't already, it's a good idea to bookmark this address.

THE ELEVATOR TALK

The meeting took place over a sunny Green Key weekend. The program schedule was jam-packed and included the following highlights (see below for details):

  • Tours of the new and stunning Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, the new Class of 1953 Commons (dining hall), the Rauner Special Collections Library, and the underground steam tunnels.
  • Friday dinner discussion groups with students on the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, student sustainability initiatives, and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership Student Support Programs.
  • "Back to the Classroom" for councilors.
  • A report by council President Danielle Dyer '81, '89Tu, on the recent work and activities of the council and its committees.
  • A report by Pete Frederick '65, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, on the recent work of the NomCom and pending elections for leadership positions on the council.
  • President Kim's farewell address to the council.
  • A performance by the world-renowned Dartmouth Aires.
  • A report by Mike Mastanduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, on plans for faculty recruiting.
  • A Saturday dinner address by Michael Arad '91, designer of the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial.
  • Presentation of the Dartmouth Alumni Award to John Mathias '69 and the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Amy Henry '97.
  • Film and presentation about the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center.
  • A report by Dartmouth Trustees Steve Mandel '78, Bill Helman '80, and Morton Kondracke '60 on recent board activities, including outreach to alumni and students, strategic planning, the presidential search process, and recent media coverage concerning hazing at Dartmouth.
  • A student panel presentation about the work of Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering in Tanzania and Rwanda.
  • An admissions update and profile of the Class of 2016 by Maria Laskaris '84, dean of admissions and financial aid.
  • A report by Martha Beattie '76, vice president for alumni relations, on plans to foster more meaningful and lifelong engagement between the College and its alumni.


THURSDAY CAMPUS TOURS AND DINNER DISCUSSION GROUPS

The meeting kicked off on Thursday afternoon with tours of the new and stunning Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center (more on this below), the new Class of 1953 Commons (dining hall), the Rauner Special Collections Library, and the underground steam tunnels. 

After the tours, councilors broke out into the following dinner discussion groups: (a) Student Sustainability Initiatives, led by Rosi Kerr '97, director of sustainability; (b) Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program, led by Sadhana Hall, deputy director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences; (c) Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, led by Gregg Fairbrothers '76, founding director; and (d) Office of Pluralism and Leadership Student Support Programs, led by Allyson Satterlund, director of the Office of Pluralism and Leadership. 

FRIDAY MORNING "BACK TO THE CLASSROOM" EXPERIENCE

Councilors attended regularly scheduled Friday morning classes as part of the "Back to the Classroom" experience arranged by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty and Lynne Gaudet '81, director of alumni leadership. Choosing from among 50 different courses, councilors stepped back into the classroom and thrilled to the pedagogy of Professor Sergei Kan ("Native American Peoples and Cultures"), John Watanabe ("Anthropology of Religion"), Robert Drysdale ("Advanced Algorithms"), Monika Otter ("Medieval English Literature"), Hakan Tell ("Homeric Greek"), Ehud Benor ("Jewish Philosophers"), Andrew Yang ("Functions of Complex Variables"), Lorenza Viola ("Advanced Quantum Mechanics"), and Christopher Sneddon ("Geopolitics and Third World Development"), to name just a few.

FRIDAY PLENARY SESSION

The council's Friday afternoon plenary session opened with welcome remarks from Council President Danielle Dyer '81, '89Tu. Dyer reviewed recent activities of the Council and its Committees. The Alumni Liaison Committee has markedly increased communication with the College Board of Trustees. The Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee continues to perform a vital function in nominating alumni to fill alumni-nominated seats on the College Board of Trustees. The Alumni Awards Committee continues to grant awards to alumni who have rendered exceptional service to the College. The Communications Committee has worked to increase the frequency and effectiveness of communications between Councilors and their constituencies. Dyer applauded all Councilors for their dedicated service to the College and their constituencies, and she urged Councilors to remain true to their mission to "learn, engage and communicate." 

Pete Frederick '65, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee (NomCom), presented the report of the NomCom to the council. Frederick reminded councilors that the NomCom's mission is to identify, recruit, and nominate the best-qualified individuals to fill alumni-nominated seats on the College Board of Trustees and positions of leadership within the Alumni Council. Frederick noted the council's most recent nomination, and the alumni body's and board of trustees' elections, of Nate Fick '99, Rick Kimball '78, and Ben Wilson '73 as new members of the Board of Trustees. Frederick next presented the names of the new class of councilors whose three-year term will begin at the council's November 2012 meeting. He also presented the names of the currently serving councilors who had been nominated by the NomCom to fill leadership positions in the council, including the position of president-elect and seats on the Alumni Liaison Committee and the NomCom. Ballots were distributed at the meeting, and Frederick urged all councilors to cast their ballots by the Saturday deadline. On behalf of the entire council, Frederick thanked all of the retiring members of the NomCom and the ALC for their dedicated service to the council and the College.

PRESIDENT KIM'S FAREWELL

President Dyer introduced President Kim to warm applause. In heartful remarks, President Kim explained his decision to leave Dartmouth and take up the helm of the World Bank. He noted that he will miss the students and faculty of Dartmouth but mostly its alumni, whom he came to love. He never ceases to be amazed how alums become tearful when recounting their Dartmouth experience: "It is what makes us great." Kim explained that his mission in life has been to help the world's poor; that he came to Dartmouth with the aim of enlisting Dartmouth in the service of the poor; and that his nomination to the World Bank was "unthinkable … just one of those crazy things." Given his life's work, he felt he couldn't say no and that it would be disingenuous for him not to accept the nomination. In taking up the presidency of the World Bank, Kim feels that he is responding to President John Sloan Dickey's exhortation that, "The world's troubles are your troubles." Kim noted with emotion that the words, "Our dream is a world free of poverty," are etched in marble beside the entrance to the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Kim is motivated and inspired to make this dream a reality. He feels that his move to the World Bank will be good for Dartmouth. It will increase its visibility on the global stage, and Dartmouth faculty will gain entre to the bank and be able to contribute to its work. "I will take Dartmouth to the World Bank…. As painful as it is for me to leave, everything I do at the World Bank will be done as the 17th president of Dartmouth." 

As he has said so often in the past, President Kim told councilors that Dartmouth is today at one of those rare and critical "inflection points" in its history where choices made will determine success or failure. President Tucker took the bold step of introducing math and science to a curriculum centered on the study of Greek and Latin; President Dickey took the bold step of hiring PhDs as faculty; and President Kemeny took the bold step of offering a Dartmouth education to women. Each of these decisions met significant resistance and created unease, but each transformed the College and enabled it to embrace the future with success. So today, the Dartmouth community must have the courage to adapt, innovate, and invest in order to remain competitive and retain its peerless reputation, while at the same time maintaining the core strengths and traditions that give Dartmouth its unique identity. Kim expressed the hope that the ongoing Strategic Planning Initiative would yield a road map to ever-increasing success in the ever-more competitive world of higher education. If Dartmouth is to continue to attract the best faculty and students, it must offer students the opportunity to be engaged in original research in both the sciences and the humanities. Kim indicated that most people would be surprised to learn that Dartmouth has as much external research funding as Princeton. "We must keep focused on teaching and pedagogy … but we can and must do both teaching and research …. We will focus on teaching and research directed to the solution of the world's problems." Kim also stressed that Dartmouth must increase the size of its faculty. Now is a great time to be recruiting, and the College is in a good position to do so. "If we continue to focus on pedagogy, research, and engagement with the world, we can prosper and maintain our cachet." President Kim concluded his remarks by thanking the councilors and all alumni for "making him a better human being," and the council gave him a standing ovation. 

THE DARTMOUTH AIRES

Councilors were treated to a cameo appearance by the Dartmouth Aires, whose medley of songs included a heart-tugging rendition of "Dartmouth Undying."

FOCUSING ON DARTMOUTH FACULTY

Mike Mastanduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, presented a profile of the Dartmouth faculty and plans for its expansion. The faculty of arts and sciences is composed of 420 regular tenured and tenure-track professors teaching within 40 academic programs, plus more than 200 visiting and adjunct professors. Each year the College hires between 25 and 30 new faculty. "It is the most important thing we do in the academy. If you want to be a great institution, you need the greatest faculty and the greatest students." The task of recruiting faculty is a difficult one. Dartmouth aims to attract the best scholar-teachers who are recognized leaders in their fields, who are dedicated teachers, and who wish to engage with students. This is not so at many other institutions. This goal places Dartmouth in a unique position at the intersection of the great research universities and the great liberal arts colleges. Dartmouth's focus on attracting the scholar-teacher makes faculty recruiting harder than at other institutions, especially for the recruiting of minority faculty, who are in greater demand. The market for faculty recruiting has changed dramatically in recent years. Any potential hire who is at the top of the market looks for all kinds of extras in addition to his or her appointment and salary and benefits package. Partner opportunities are increasingly an important part of the hiring process, and partner opportunities tend to be better in the big cities. Like all top-ranked colleges with a first-class faculty, Dartmouth has a retention problem. The best faculty have standing offers from other institutions. "If you don't have a retention problem, you better take a hard look at your faculty." Mastanduno's long-term plan is to expand the regular faculty by 80. This initiative would enable Dartmouth to grow the size of some of its academic departments, some of which are undersized in relation to their peers. Hiring additional faculty will enable the College to become stronger in emerging areas of study and will create more opportunities for student research in both the sciences and the humanities. With regard to diversity recruitment, Mastanduno would give the College an "incomplete" grade. "We are getting better but have a distance to go …. Of our regular faculty, 40 percent are women and 19 percent are minority …. Overall, we are at the top of the Ivies for recruiting female faculty but only in the middle for recruiting minority faculty." 

FRIDAY EVENING DINNER AND PROGRAM

At the council's Friday night dinner in Alumni Hall, President Dyer had the honor of introducing Michael Arad '91, designer of the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial. Arad's design was selected from among more than 5,000 submissions from around the world. He presented a personal and moving account of how he came to design the memorial in a way that was responsive to the sensibilities of the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks. The memorial will forever serve as a place of remembrance, commemorating those who were killed, honoring those who risked their lives to save others, and reflecting the courage and compassion shown in the aftermath. More information about the memorial is available on-line at 9/11 Memorial.org.

Dyer also proudly presented the Dartmouth Alumni Award to John Mathias '69 and the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Amy Henry '97. Their award citations are posted on the Alumni Awards website at http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/awards

SATURDAY PLENARY SESSION

CLASS OF 1978 LIFE SCIENCES CENTER

Saturday's plenary session convened at the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center with a film and presentation about the center given by Professor Elizabeth Smith, incoming chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Combining state-of-the-art research facilities, classroom technology, and sustainability, the center is designed to foster discourse, collaboration, and interdisciplinary research. Lab spaces are arranged by research affinity. All classrooms are re-configurable to facilitate small group discussions. Common areas are also designed to facilitate discussion, and walls are made of writable surfaces for ad-hoc brainstorming. Smith described the center as "being truly alive … a game changer … a powerful recruiting tool for faculty and students." The center has attracted much attention and has fast become a hub for the College and the Upper Valley community. Area high school and elementary school students visit the center, and the center hosted part of the Admissions Office's "Dimensions" weekend this year. Made possible by the generous support of members of the Class of 1978, the center exemplifies the kind of investments that Dartmouth must make to attract the best faculty and students and to maintain its reputation in the global higher education marketplace. You can learn more about the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center online at http://now.dartmouth.edu/2011/11/the-class-of-1978-life-sciences-center-a-new-home-for-a-new-vision-of-science.

UPDATE FROM THE DARTMOUTH COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Trustees Steve Mandel '78, Bill Helman '80, and Mort Kondracke '60 updated the council on the recent activities and current priorities of the Board of Trustees. Mandel observed that he wants the trustees to become more accessible to students and alumni. He identified the presidential search, the ongoing strategic planning process, and the review and adjustment of "student social norms" as being the top priorities of the board. On the question of student social norms, he said that the recent Rolling Stone article (see end of this report) "was a good wake-up call …. Our objective is to move the needle …. We need to change the social norms on campus." On the question of strategic planning, Mandel said, "It is about academic distinction … upping our academic game." He pointed to the recently established Dartmouth Center for Healthcare Delivery Science as the kind of interdisciplinary initiative that will increase Dartmouth's visibility on the world stage. 

Bill Helman '80, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, reported that "we are laser-focused on getting a terrific next president." Helman explained that the committee, co-chaired by Diana Taylor '77, will engage the Dartmouth community and all of its stakeholders in the search process. Outreach will include open forums for faculty, students, staff, and alumni, as well as small meetings and one-on-one conversations. Going forward, the search committee will conduct more extensive alumni outreach. Helman invited councilors to "just email Steve, me, or Diana with your concerns and suggestions." All stakeholders are invited to give their input online through the Dartmouth presidential search website [http://www.dartmouth.edu/presidentsearch/] and/or dedicated email account:presidential.search@dartmouth.edu. The committee has engaged the firm of Isaacson, Miller to support the search. Helman expects student life to be on the top of the agenda for the new president, and he hopes that the next president will have a deep understanding of student life issues. The committee aims to appoint the next president by the end of 2012 or early 2013. 

Mort Kondracke '60 updated councilors on the activities of the board's Advancement Committee, which focuses on alumni relations and development. Kondracke described Carrie Pelzel's retirement as "a big loss." The board wishes to be more in touch with alumni and is expanding its outreach efforts. Trustees attended 66 alumni events in fiscal 2011 and 83 events in fiscal 2012. The Advancement Committee continues to have meaningful dialogue with the council's Alumni Liaison Committee. The board aims to get alumni and parents more involved in the strategic planning process. Kondracke observed that the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine is the vehicle by which most alumni gain information about the College. Because it is regarded as "the best alumni magazine in the country," the board has decided to secure its funding for the long term. 

STUDENT PANEL PRESENTATION: DARTMOUTH HUMANITARIAN ENGINEERING

Students Theodore Sumers '12, '13Th, Zach Losordo '10, '11Th, and Alison Polton-Simon '14 proudly shared their work with the Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE) Project. DHE is an entirely student-run development program that aims to develop sustainable energy projects in the developing world that will serve the three-fold objective of: (i) sustaining the local economy, (ii) abating environmental degradation, and (iii) eliminating the adverse health impacts of current energy sources. DHE has partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania to design and produce a "rocket stove" to replace the traditional three-stone wood stoves that have been used for centuries. Use of the traditional wood stove has resulted in widespread deforestation and deaths caused by smoke-induced respiratory ailments. Made of clay and mud, and easily produced locally, the new rocket stove uses less than half the wood of the traditional stove and substantially reduces the adverse health impacts of smoke inhalation. DHE students have established pilot programs to train villagers in the construction and use of the new stoves. In Rwanda, DHE has partnered with the Rwanda Ministry of Science and Culture to design and install small-scale, low-cost hydropower plants to generate electricity in remote villages. Today, only 6 percent of the population outside of cities has access to electricity. The electricity produced by these mini-power plants enables village children for the first time to do their homework after dark. DHE hopes to raise funds for airfare to increase student time in-country and to expand the reach of its development projects. You can learn more about DHE at Thayer.Dartmouth.edu/DHE

MEET THE CLASS OF 2016: AN ADMISSIONS UPDATE

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris '84 reported that applications to Dartmouth have grown by more than 95 percent in the last decade. The College received 11,855 applications to the Class of 2007 and 23,110 applications to the Class of 2016. Of the 23,110 applicants this year, 2,213 were offered admission, representing an admit rate of 9.5 percent, the lowest in the College's history. Of those admitted, 1,100 students have committed to attend Dartmouth next fall, representing a yield of approximately 50 percent. The Class of 2016 is evenly divided between men and women. More than 90 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class. The average SAT score is 2172; 14 percent are legacies; 10 percent are first-in-family to attend college; 35 percent are students of color; 10 percent are international; and 45 percent will receive financial aid. Dartmouth is one of six institutions in the United States that is fully "need blind". The Class of 2016 also includes eight veterans. An alum has recently made a special gift to draw applicants from developing countries. Laskaris reported that the application evaluation process remains focused on both tangible academic achievement and intangible characteristics that convey authenticity and a capacity to contribute to the Dartmouth community. Laskaris stressed that the role of the Dartmouth interview remains key to the assessment of the intangibles. She noted that the Rolling Stone article "might have impacted our yield this year." Finally, as part of the strategic planning effort, Laskaris co-chairs the "Students of the Future" working group.

UPDATE ON ALUMNI RELATIONS

Vice President for Alumni Relations Martha Beattie '76 updated councilors on her ambitious plans to foster more meaningful engagement between the College and its alumni. Henceforth, all reunions will be on weekends. Reunion activities will be enriched to include faculty lectures; alumni panels; tours of Baker Library, Bartlett Tower and the steam tunnels; and late-night events on the Green, including fireworks, the Dartmouth Aires, and the Rockapellas. Beattie's office has launched the new Dartmouth on Location initiative to connect with alumni across the country. Inaugural events included the recent Dr. Seuss/Lorax receptions in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City and a reception at the Met in NYC hosted by President Kim, Professor Barbara Will, and Michael Taylor, director of the Hood Museum. Much anticipated is the new Dartmouth for Life initiative, for which a new director will shortly be appointed after an extensive search. Dartmouth for Life will aim to create meaningful paths for alumni to return to Dartmouth and celebrate "who we are today." Its offerings will include mentoring, career networking, career planning, career seminars, and life-stage planning. The newly renovated Hanover Inn will open this June. Finally, Beattie and her team were instrumental in working with the College Board of Trustees to secure permanent funding for the award-winning Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. 

OPEN FORUM

During the open forum, council committee chairs presented verbal summaries of their respective weekend committee meetings. Full reports of the meetings will be posted on the Alumni Council website at http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/leadership/council/sessions/MinutesofPastSessions.

Council President Dyer and the entire council warmly thanked the retiring third-year councilors for their service. 

President Elect Marty Lempres '84 announced that the following individuals had been elected by the council to fill the following positions: Mark Davis '81, '84Tu, as president-elect; Cuong Do '88, '89Tu, as a new member of the Alumni Liaison Committee; and Maia Josebachvili '05 and Joe Santos '95, '00Tu, as new members of the NomCom. 

As a final order of business, the council approved four separate resolutions that, respectively: (a) extended the council's immense gratitude to Danielle Dyer '81, '89Tu, for her exemplary service and leadership as president of the council; (b) extended the council's appreciation for the extraordinary leadership of President Kim; (c) authorized the formation of an ad-hoc committee focused on issues of diversity and inclusion, with a particular emphasis on the recruitment and retention of faculty of color; and (d) extended the council's sincere gratitude to Carrie Pelzel '54a, senior vice president for advancement, for her extraordinary dedication and leadership on behalf of Dartmouth College during her 15-year tenure.

A WORD ABOUT THE ROLLING STONE ARTICLE

Although not an official agenda item, the recent controversy surrounding hazing at Dartmouth and the related article "Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy" that appeared in the April 12, 2012, edition ofRolling Stone magazine were much talked about among councilors during the weekend. Council President Dyer has urged all councilors to familiarize themselves with the facts surrounding the controversy and with the steps that the College has taken to keep students healthy and safe. You may find the following link helpful to keep informed: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~opa/statements/student-safety-wellness.html

Other Relevant Links

Minutes of 204th Alumni Council Meeting
http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/leadership/council/sessions/MinutesofPastSessions/204thMinutes

Alumni Council Website
http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/leadership/council

Alumni Relations Website
http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/

Alumni Awards Website
http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/awards

Strategic Planning Website
http://strategicplanning.dartmouth.edu/