200th Session Committee Summaries

The 200th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC).  

Later in the afternoon, councilors broke into student-councilor dinner groups to discuss the following topics: athletics, Greek letter organizations, Haiti and beyond, and social media and communications.

The morning started with meetings of the Academic Affairs, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs committees.

Councilors then headed to lectures around campus for the “Back to the Classroom” experience, followed by luncheon meetings for the Young Alumni Committee, Honorary Degrees Committee, and the ad hoc Committee to Support Greek Letter Organizations (CSG).

The afternoon plenary session, held in Alumni Hall, opened with an update on the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee from Tom Daniels ’82. In his presentation, Tom reviewed the alumni trustee nominating process the committee undertook to select the slate for the most recent election, including its working agenda and timeline. He also reviewed statistics and demographics from the trustee election. Finally, Tom listed the incoming councilors who will join the Alumni Council July 1, 2010, to represent classes, regions, affiliated groups, professional schools/programs, and other constituencies. As required by the council constitution, Tom asked the Alumni Council members to approve the selection of the three professional school representatives, the two at-large representatives, undergraduate representatives, and the ALC appointment (Samantha Truex ’92, ’93Th, ’95Tu). The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Carrie Pelzel ’54a, senior vice president for advancement, presented “Investing in Dartmouth: Impact of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience.” Carrie reviewed and broke down where the gifts came from and explained how the funds raised supported the academic enterprise, residential and campus life, financial aid, and annual giving. She then reviewed the new advancement department — which is composed of Development, Alumni Relations, and Public Affairs — providing priorities and next steps. Next, Steven Kadish, senior vice president and chief financial officer, gave a presentation on “Dartmouth by the Numbers.” In his presentation, Steven first revisited and shared some details of the Dartmouth response to the Haiti earthquake. Thanks to President Kim’s connection with the nonprofit healthcare organization Partners in Health, Dartmouth was among the first entities to enter Haiti with doctors and medical supplies. On campus, students helped raise more than $200,000 for Partners In Health, topping efforts at every other school and setting the standard of response for colleges nationwide. He then switched gears and provided a financial update. Steven reviewed Dartmouth’s financial gap, the administrative restructuring team put in place to address this problem, and the approach taken. The team looked across Dartmouth’s business processes using both in-house and consulting support, solicited and considered community suggestions, and conducted many forums with the public, faculty, students, and divisions of the College. He then gave examples of where cuts were made within the administration, IT, procurement, financial services and sponsored research, communications, and facilities operations.

Carol Folt ’78a, provost and dean of the faculty, then gave a presentation, “Arts & Sciences 2010: What’s New?” Carol provided an update on financials, faculty hiring (35 total hires), sponsored research grants (up 48 percent in arts and sciences), and strategic priorities: individualized, small classes; interdisciplinary thinking and learning; international study; innovation, modernization, and strong core curriculum; inclusive learning environments; and integration of the experience through an assessment of student learning. Within this context, she discussed the evolving curriculum:

Undergraduate business courses taught by Tuck faculty

New off-campus programs and exchanges

New writing and rhetoric courses

New minors and majors: international studies minor, sustainability science minor, minor/major in digital studies

“Great Issues in the Sophomore Summer,” with a pilot in summer 2010

The Visual Arts Center

Launching the Center for Health Care Delivery Science

 Maria Laskaris ’84, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, then presented “Meet the Class of 2014: An Admissions Update.” Maria explained the growth in the number of applicants, the rate of admission (11.5 percent), yield information, and a breakdown of the demographics of the Class of 2014. She also stressed the importance of alumni interviewing and how crucial it is to the admissions process, urging councilors to participate and spread the word to other alumni.

The plenary was followed by a student networking session in Collis Common Ground.

A reception then took place at the Top of the Hop, where councilors were entertained by the Dartmouth Aires.

The evening dinner program in Alumni Hall commenced with comments by Janine Avner ’80, followed by an address focusing on the history of the Alumni Council by President Jim Yong Kim ’82a. Dartmouth Alumni Awards were presented to Martha Beattie ’76 and Rick Silverman, MD,  ’81.

The ALC held a breakfast meeting with trustees Sherri Oberg ’82 ’86Tu and Dr. Al Mulley ’70. 

President-elect Tom Peisch ’70 opened the morning plenary session in 105 Dartmouth Hall. He introduced Sherri Oberg and Al Mulley, who provided a trustee update. Sherri began by thanking the Alumni Council for all its efforts in the trustee election. She then explained her role within the board of trustees as a member of various committees. Sherri is impressed with how well run the College is financially. She explained that the cuts that took place were from the “planned growth” of the College, and that spending had to be reduced to accommodate that cut. She also talked about the $35 million gift to create a Center for Health Care Delivery Science that will create a new field of medicine that combines the liberal arts, graduate schools research and training expertise, and work of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Al Mulley elaborated on this topic and said that the hope is to increase visibility to the outside world. He stressed the importance of this effort, pointing out that healthcare costs make up 17 percent of the country’s GDP. He also mentioned that Dartmouth faculty are very excited and energized about the new center.

In response to councilors’ questions, Sherri and Al provided the following information:

The new financial plan includes reduced spending from 5 to 7 percent

The College took a fast-acting approach to the budget cuts as opposed to a gradual reduction

The report created by the Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees is recommended to understand the rationale of the makeup of the board

Approximately 80 percent of the budget cuts have been made so far, and the trustees are confident the rest will be made in a timely manner

The Center for Health Care Delivery Science is a testament to the fact that the College emphasizes a liberal arts education

The determined amount of budget cuts is $100 million, but the College is always looking out for inefficiencies

The next presentation of the plenary was given by Robert Ceplikas ’78, acting director of athletics. Bob provided information pertaining to the scope of the athletics program, departmental priorities, and a vision for excellence in varsity sports via high-quality facilities, competitive admissions and financial aid, adequate funding, talented coaches, and the recruitment of more talented student-athletes, resulting in more successful teams overall. With these efforts, he would like to see Dartmouth increase its number of Ivy League championships, which in turn would increase its rank among the Ivies. He also reviewed the physical education and recreation programs, club sports accomplishments, fitness center usage, and the academic success among student-athletes.

Next on the agenda was the final report from the Committee to Support Greek Letter Organizations (CSG), given by J.B. Daukas ’84 and Tom Peisch. Made up of Alumni Council members, house advisors, administrators, faculty members, and students, the goal of the committee was to ensure that fraternities, sororities, and coed houses endure and thrive. The committee conducted surveys, toured houses, and held discussions with senior administrators as part of its research process. The CSG was composed of four subcommittees: long-range planning, physical plants, faculty engagement, and alumni engagement. Greek letter organizations are extremely popular and supported by President Kim. It was determined, however, that they need help to survive in the long term. The conditions of the houses are a great concern. The houses are old, many other unaffiliated students use the houses for social opportunities, there is excess waste of beer cans and cups, and the houses are not maintained properly by the students who live in them. J.B. and Tom provided the committee’s recommendations, which include enhancing alumni and faculty involvement in the houses, increasing student accountability, using professional cleaning services, developing fundraising/capital campaigns, and expanding the number of sororities with housing.  The report is available online.

J.B. Daukas then gave an Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) update. Composed of twelve members, the purpose of the committee is to ascertain and communicate alumni sentiment to the Board of Trustees and administration. In September of each year, the committee creates an annual report for the trustees that captures alumni feedback forwarded by alumni councilors. In addition to meeting several times a year in Hanover and holding conference calls among ALC members, the committee also meets and holds conference calls with trustees throughout the year. J.B. also reviewed the alumni feedback, breaking down the number of constituent emails collected and different topics. Councilors should continue to forward all emails to alc@dartmouth.edu

Tom Peisch announced the open forum, which started with the Alumni Council election results. Tom Daniels announced that Peter Frederick ’65 and Robert “Bob” Charles ’87 will be joining the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, Sarah Jackson-Han ’88 will be joining the ALC, and Danielle Dyer ’81 ’89Tu will be the new president-elect of the Alumni Council.

Committee reports: Amy Henry ’97 provided an update on the Young Alumni Committee, and Zachary Chestnut ’08 described the work of his subcommittee, which has been examining the extent to which Dartmouth can provide alumni career services, giving recommendations and next steps. With the committee’s help, there is an Alumni Career Central page on the Alumni Relations website that includes links to all relevant networking tools, both in-house and open source.

Brooks Clark ’78 and Andy Horne ’87 provided a Communications Committee update, which was followed by the presentation of a gift to Brooks in recognition of all his hard work in creating the Alumni Council reports after each meeting for the last three years.

Danielle Dyer provided an Enrollment and Admissions Committee update and Hugh O’Reilly ’86 provided an Academic Affairs Committee update.

Next on the agenda, David Spalding gave an update of the reorganization of the new Advancement division, which brings together the three divisions of Alumni Relations, Development, and Public Affairs. He also thanked everyone for their work during his tenure as vice president of Alumni Relations, as he moves into his new role as President Kim’s chief of staff.

Tom Peisch then announced the “open microphone” session. Peter Roby ’79 emphasized his concern about the poor state of Greek houses on campus, reinforcing the suggestion that students be held more accountable.

The following two proposals were submitted by Grant Bosse ’94:

Proposal 1 for Conduct of Meeting Guidelines: Plenary sessions of the Alumni Council, as well as programs and presentations to the Alumni Council, shall be recorded and available to all alumni via video streaming. Meetings of the Academic Affairs, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs committees may be recorded. Meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search, Alumni Awards, and Honorary Degrees committees may not be recorded.

Proposal 2 for Conduct of Meeting Guidelines: Video- and audiotaping is permitted for all plenary sessions of the Alumni Council, as well as of all meetings of the Academic Affairs, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs committees, and of presentations and programs to the Alumni Council such as the awards dinner and program.

The Executive Committee will review and discuss the proposals.

Director of Alumni Leadership Lynne Gaudet ’81 read the following resolution thanking Janine Avner for her service as president of the Alumni Council. 


“That the Alumni Council extends its appreciation to Janine Avner ’80 for her exemplary service and leadership as president of the Dartmouth Alumni Council.

“The depth and breadth of your volunteerism on behalf of Dartmouth College has been truly extraordinary. As an officer of the Native American Alumni Association of Dartmouth you put your legal background to good use composing its bylaws, which now serve as a model for Dartmouth’s affiliated groups. Very involved with your local Dartmouth Club of Los Angeles, you also served as an executive committee member for the College’s Club Officers Association.

“As president of the Alumni Council you have encouraged an atmosphere of openness and transparency in which Dartmouth alumni know that their voices will be heard. During your presidency the College held its first alumni-nominated trustee election in three years. As a member of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee you met with this committee 14 times, beginning last July; encouraged alumni councilors to communicate with their constituencies to promote voter participation; and thoughtfully responded to alumni inquiries throughout the election. These efforts resulted in the highest alumni voting participation turnout in a trustee election to date and the addition of Morton Kondracke ’60 and John Replogle ’88 to the Board of Trustees. In addition, you have led monthly conference calls with the council’s Executive Committee, met with the Alumni Liaison Committee and the Board of Trustees’ Alumni Relations Committee, addressed your fellow alumni during Homecoming, and presented Alumni Awards to stellar volunteers at a wide variety of alumni events. It amazes us, but it appears that in your mind a cross-country flight between Los Angeles and New England is comparable to a drive from Sunapee to Hanover. Since last July, you have made at least eight of these trips for specific Alumni Council business.

“Your retirement is made easier for us knowing that you will chair the Alumni Liaison Committee next year. The Alumni Council thanks you for your outstanding service this year and we look forward to working with you in your new position.”

The resolution was unanimously approved by the Alumni Council.

Janine Avner then read the following resolution thanking David Spalding for his service as vice president of alumni relations.


“That the Alumni Council extends its immense gratitude to David Spalding ’76, vice president for Alumni Relations, for his extraordinary devotion and tireless dedication expended over the last five years on behalf of Dartmouth College and her alumni.

“In 2005, lucky for Dartmouth, you decided to make a significant career change, leaving Wall Street for a role in education at your alma mater. During the interview process, we conveniently forgot to mention alumni governance, constitutions, and trustee elections. However, it wasn’t long after you arrived that you realized politics would consume many of your hours. Through the last five years you have patiently supported the work of the Alumni Council, the Board of Trustees, and the Association of Alumni as they addressed campaign election reform, drafted a revised Alumni Council constitution to improve alumni representation on this body, put forward an Association of Alumni constitutional amendment improving the trustee election process, and formed the Alumni Liaison Committee, which would focus on collecting alumni feedback to share with the College administration and the Board of Trustees. Emphasizing the crucial role alumni councilors fulfill with two-way communications between alumni and the College, you have consulted with the council’s Executive Committee to plan substantive and informative council sessions. In addition, you have scheduled meetings between the Alumni Liaison Committee and the trustees to share the alumni sentiments that councilors receive from their constituents. 

“Although governance has consumed much of your attention, you have spent just as much time on the other areas of Alumni Relations, encouraging creativity and innovative programming. Under your watch, reunions have flourished, including the creation of Alumni College at Reunions, featuring faculty lectures. Affiliated group activities have expanded, the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine is online, alumni continuing education launched Dartmouth on Location and Ace on Audio, and successful events such as the 35th anniversary celebration of coeducation have been enjoyed by all.

“We were not surprised to learn that our new president, Jim Yong Kim, asked you to serve as his chief of staff. He has found you to be just as indispensable as we have. In appreciation of your phenomenal contributions to Dartmouth alumni, and with best wishes for your success in your new position, we honor and thank you.”

The resolution was unanimously approved by the Alumni Council.

The meeting was adjourned.

An Executive Committee debriefing took place on Thursday, May 27, 2010, via teleconference.