May 18–20, 2017
Committee Chair Martha Gerhan ’83 and Vice-Chair Mark Heller ’70 welcomed the committee and recognized the progress of the DP2 and Dartmouth on the Road subcommittees held between the fall 2016 and spring 2017 meetings.
Robert “Cep” Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of Athletics and Recreation provided a re-cap of the 2016-17 year: 1) Three Ivy League championships in 2016-17: Men’s Soccer, Women’s Rugby, and Women’s Tennis; 2) Graduate student involvement was discussed. While Ivy League rules severely limit participation in varsity sports, graduate students are actively involved in club and intramural sports, FLIP fitness classes, receive free admission to athletic events, and graduate alumni are included on regional email communications; 3) Recent incidents of racism at sporting events at other schools prompted a discussion of Dartmouth’s approach. Athletics takes the creation of fan-friendly (and appropriate) environments seriously; 4) Athletics (and other departments) will support President Hanlon’s initiative to make faculty salaries more competitive by reducing its budget over the next five years; 5) Facilities renovation and building continue to be a priority. The field house continues to be priority #1, with the College appealing the Hanover Planning Board’s denial; 6) The Athletics Campaign for FY15-18 is doing quite well with $82.5 million raised toward the goal of $88 million; 7) A new website called “SupportDartmouthSports.com” has been launched to identify ways to support Athletics through donations and volunteer activities - Athletic competition information remains on DartmouthSports.com; and 8) Athletics is developing a program to reach alumnae who were student-athletes.
Ceplikas shared a Facilities Master Plan, which Director of Athletics and Recreation Harry Sheehy ’55a and Ceplikas presented to Trustees in June 2016. Key points: 1) Almost no facility improvements were done from 1985-2000, while our competitors were making many upgrades (in last 15 years, more than $100 million in facility improvements have been made); and 2) Future priorities include - in no particular order: a Peak Performance Center; Davis Varsity House renewal; Thompson Arena enhancements; rowing boathouse expansion, sailing boathouse renovation; Nordic skiing upgrades; Hanover Country Club clubhouse renovation; and a 50-meter competition pool.
A “Dartmouth on the Road” subcommittee report was given, including a brief presentation of how Alumni Relations and Athletics regularly collaborate to heighten awareness of athletic contests away from Hanover. Big tent football events for 2017-18 were discussed, including Dartmouth’s historic game against Brown at Fenway Park on November 10. Heller noted that a new emphasis has been to reach out to the Class Mini-Reunion Chairs Association to encourage Class involvement. Heller noted that organizing around a visiting team can be one of the easiest opportunities for a club.
A DP2 (Dartmouth Peak Performance) subcommittee report included an update on the Dartmouth Athletics Career Network. There are currently 1,628 alumni in the network. The committee hosted a reception the previous evening for nine student-athletes. Two students shared their positive experiences in networking with alumni. The subcommittee will create a document for students of dos/don’ts of how to reach out to alumni to make the process less intimidating.
A panel of four student-athletes, all from teams that had a change in head coach last summer, spoke. Key themes: 1) students chose Dartmouth because of its diverse offerings, focus on academics, campus culture, the outdoors, and strong alumni community; 2) students shared that while it was a surprise to have a new coach and it took time to adjust, their teams have come together and the new coaches have had very positive impacts on the teams; and 3) when asked about the D-Plan, challenges include being away from coaches, staff, and team for an extended period and frustration arising from the complexity of being an international student with visa issues.
Heller thanked Grehan for her leadership and Mike Vida ’03 was elected to be vice chair. Heller also thanked the committee and shared that there would likely be one more set of subcommittee conference calls before June 30.