Alumni Councilor News May 2012

Class of 1960: The 204th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council (DAC), my second as your representative, was held May 17-19 in Hanover. This email will provide you with the highlights from my notes to be followed up in about three weeks when the Communications Committee of the DAC issues its formal minutes.

Of the 125 members of the DAC, about 110 attended. The oldest was from the Class of '44 followed by the Class of '51. Other '60s that attended were Tom Andrews as a regional rep, Jim Adler as a former councilor and Mort Kondracke as a Trustee. 

Thursday evening: My assigned dinner discussion was with members of the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows (RLF). This program is designed to help senior class leaders improve their leadership skills. Currently, 95-100 students apply for 22 slots. There is also a first year fellows program (the "baby Rockies"). Mort, who was sitting right behind me, commented that he wished he had had that training to help him as Editor of the Daily D. I agreed with regard to my own career.

Friday morning: Enrollment and Admissions Committee. Dean Maria Laskaris '84 said that for the class of 2016, the College received 23,110 applicants, up 95% in the last 10 years. Admitted were 2213 applicants (of which 15% were legacies), and the goal is a class size of 1100-1110. The male/female ratio is almost exactly 50/50.

To improve the "yield" from those admitted, the College conducts the "Dimensions Program." This is essentially a massive overnight open house involving about 600 prospective students and family members. The yield from this subset (admittedly somewhat self selected) is 68%. All expenses are paid for those families with an income less than $75,000/year.

The other DAC committees are Academic Affairs, Athletics, Communications and Student Affairs.

Friday afternoon: Plenary Session I. DAC President Danielle Dyer '81 noted that the first DAC met in 1913 with 33 members from classes beginning with that of 1877. Lately, the DAC was been revitalized. For example, in 2007 only a third of the councilors communicated regularly with their constituents versus 80% today.

President Jim Kim, as eloquent as ever, spoke at length about the World Bank and how it was the only job that would have enticed him from Dartmouth. Turning to the College, he said there was no need to choose between teaching and research, between undergraduate and graduate education. We can excel at both. We should "stop having old fights that don't matter."

Following entertainment by the Aires, Dean of Faculty Mike Mastanduno spoke of the tight market for top level faculty, especially minorities. This makes both recruiting and retention difficult (and expensive). He wants to increase the number of faculty by 20% in order to reduce the student/faculty ratio and limit teaching by visiting and adjunct professors. 

Friday evening dinner: Michael Arad '91 gave us a fascinating presentation on his design of the World Trade Center Memorial. Following this, John Mathias '69 received the Dartmouth Alumni Award (the same one Jim Adler won a few years ago).

Saturday morning: Plenary Session II. We met in the Life Sciences Center, a relatively new and impressive structure built with funds from the class of 1978. The center brings together life science disciplines for both teaching and basic research. 

Trustee Chair Steve Mandel '78 said his three main objectives are expediting the Presidential search, completing the strategic planning process and improving on-campus social norms, e.g. solving the hazing issue. This latter objective is not something they can legislate, but they are trying to "move the needle." 

Trustee Bill Helman '80 is the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, the membership of which will be announced shortly. They hope to announce the result by the beginning 2013, with the individual taking over July 1, 2013. Until then, Carol Folt will be acting President.

Our own Trustee Mort Kondracke is charged with alumni relations, communication and development. During FY 2012, trustees attended 83 alumni events, up from 66 in FY 2011. The Dartmouth Alumni Magazine is rated best in the country and is now fully funded by the college. Reunions will be "clustered" with nearby classes beginning in 2013. Mort's best quip was from Texas Trustee Trevor Rees-Jones: "Pedagogy is something that is illegal in Texas."

Following the trustees, we were addressed by a panel of students from Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE). They take on projects such as designing and providing (on-site) low-cost stoves for Rwanda, replacing open cooking fires.

The next DAC President will be Marty Lempres '84, and for 2013-14, we elected Mark Davis '81 '84Tu. Elected to the Alumni Liaison Committee was Cuong Do '88 '89Tu and to the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee Maia Josebachvili '05 and Joe Santos '95 '00Tu.

Perhaps the one underlying theme of the conference was the importance of, and the desire to increase, minority and international diversity. This affects many areas, including: 

a) Student recruitment. It is hoped that Jim Kim's presence in the World Bank will improve Dartmouth's image and name recognition overseas. 

b) Minority faculty recruitment and retention.

c) Administration expense, e.g. Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity and Office of Pluralism and Leadership.

d) Financial aid. Dartmouth is one of only 6 schools that still have completely need-blind admissions, including international students.

Footnote: The "Occupy Dartmouth" tent still stands in front of Collis Center (Wheelock and Main Streets). However, according to one undergraduate, it is manned primarily by non-students, and they are not allowed to stay overnight.


Dartmouth Alumni Council
Class of 1960

3 Copper Beech Road
Greenwich, CT 06830