198th Session Committee Summaries

The 198th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, Alumni Liaison Committee, and Honorary Degrees Committee. 

Later in the afternoon, councilors broke into student-councilor discussion groups in the following topics: Athletics, Dartmouth Outing Club, Diversity on Campus, Performing and Studio Arts, and Greek Letter Organizations. These were followed by a dinner with each discussion group.

J.B. Daukas ’84 opened the morning plenary session and introduced Maria Laskaris ’84, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth. She gave a presentation on the “Big Picture: Introducing the Class of 2013.” She provided information on national application trends and explained that this year Dartmouth application rates increased nearly 10 percent, to 18,132 applications, which is a 42-percent increase overall since the class of 2009 applied. Factors that cause these increases are financial aid resources and overall growth in the national applicant pool. She also reviewed the Class of 2013 selection process and demographics of the class. She pointed out that there was a record number of financial aid applicants this year, with 50 percent receiving need-based aid and total scholarship expenditures equaling $20.1 million.

In response to councilors’ questions, Maria Laskaris provided the following information:

Regarding transfer students, this year there have been 35 accepted, and they hope to have 25 matriculate

35 percent seems like an appropriate number of early-application students

The admissions office can study where students would like to be involved through information on the applications (affiliated groups, etc.)

Thanks to President James Wright, Dartmouth is a leader for educational benefits for veterans; there are five veterans in the Class of 2013, two of whom are transfer students.

The travel budget, especially for international travel, has been cut significantly due to the budget constraints; Dartmouth is looking at more opportunities for on-campus programs for prospective students

The assistance of the successful remote readers program has helped the admissions office deal with the increase in applications

With everything factored in, the cost of a Dartmouth education is more than $50,000 per year

J.B. then introduced Martha Hartfiel ’83, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Martha delivered a PowerPoint listing the councilors who will join the Alumni Council effective July 1, 2009, to represent classes, regions, affiliated groups, and other constituencies. As required by the council constitution, Martha asked the council members to approve the selection of the three professional school representatives, the two at-large representatives, district enrollment director representative, and the ALC appointment. The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Martha reviewed the slates for the Nominating Committee, Alumni Liaison Committee, and president-elect; ballots were then handed out. She then provided a 2008–2009 trustee nominations update. When asked if the trustee nominations information was public, she stated yes, the process is transparent and a nomination form is posted online.

The Dartmouth Undergraduate Veteran Student Panel followed, with moderator Ralph Manuel ’58 ’59Tu and panelists Samuel Crist ’10, Greg Agron ’11 and Tom Richardson ’11. Ralph introduced the panel and mentioned that it was appropriately Armed Forces Day on Saturday. He also thanked Marine Lance Corporal Jim Wright for his efforts with veterans at Dartmouth. Sam Crist ’10 was the first to speak on the panel. He explained his story about how he enlisted, his deployments to Iraq, his injuries, and how in the hospital he met Jim Wright, who was responsible for Sam transferring to Dartmouth. Greg Agron ’11 spoke about how he immediately enlisted after high school, his deployments to Iraq, and his marriage to his high school sweetheart, who was the one who persuaded him to apply to college. His sister-in-law attended Dartmouth, and he was accepted early decision. Tom Richardson ’11 talked about his upbringing in North Carolina and how his parents supported him in his decision to join the Marine Corps. Ironically, Tom was also stationed in North Carolina for training. He discussed his deployments to Africa and Iraq, and how he met President Wright at a Marine Corps event in Pennsylvania where Wright was the keynote speaker, which is how/why he transferred to Dartmouth.

In response to councilors’ questions, the student panel provided the following information:

There is a need for more liberal arts educated officers today

Assistant Dean of the College Kent Yrchik-Shoemaker commented on the strong work ethic, positive attitude, and impressive academics of the student veterans at Dartmouth

The student veterans mentioned how they would consider returning to the services, but they would like to pursue other opportunities in which they can offer their services and skills

The students at Dartmouth, while a bit timid at first, have been very welcoming; the veterans have never felt excluded or antagonized

There will be three incoming student veterans this year and three potential transfers

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is located nearby in White River Junction, Vermont

The veterans are satisfied with the way their orientation is conducted at Dartmouth, where they don’t receive any special treatment and are mixed in with all the other students

The student veterans’ decision to go to Dartmouth is unique compared with the choices made by most people in their age group who are in the services

 The panel concluded and received a standing ovation.

Continuing on with the plenary session, Carol Folt ’78a, Dean of Faculty, gave a presentation on “Igniting the Creative Learner in Every Student.” During this presentation, she spoke about the priorities of the College, as outlined by the five I’s: Individualized (small classes, personal attention); Interdisciplinary thinking and learning; International study; Innovation (modernization, strong core curriculum); and Inclusive learning environments). She provided metrics in terms of faculty growth and research support and also pointed out that Dartmouth’s curriculum is constantly evolving. She said Dartmouth is stimulating in the sense that students can take advantage of research opportunities in the professional/graduate schools, Hood Museum, Hopkins Center, Dickey Center for International Understanding, Leslie Center for Humanities, Neukom Institute for Computational Science, Ethics Institute, and Rockefeller Center.

In response to councilors’ questions, Carol Folt provided the following information:

As far as where the growing number of faculty members are distributed, they are first prioritized by the subjects in which students have the most interest, and they are strategically spread across other departments

There is an increased percentage of tenured female faculty at Dartmouth, and the number is growing

There is an increase in African American faculty as well as in international faculty

Faculty generally leave the College to become chairs or for graduate program opportunities. It’s an issue today because of the increased ease of relocating. Overall, Carol Folt said she keeps 50 percent of the faculty she wishes to retain 

Each councilor had an opportunity to audit one undergraduate class during the 11:15 am class period, while the Young Alumni Committee held its meeting.

From 12:30 to 1 pm Dartmouth College President-elect Jim Yong Kim addressed the Alumni Council (audio recording of remarks). 

Councilors then had a lunch break before making their way over to the Georgiopoulos Classroom in Raether Hall at Tuck.

The afternoon plenary session opened with a panel presentation on “Dartmouth Graduate Programs: A Changing Environment.” On the panel were Paul Danos, Dean of Tuck School of Business; William Green, Dean of Dartmouth Medical School; Joseph Helble, Dean of Thayer School of Engineering; and Brian Pogue, Dean of Graduate Studies.

Paul Danos began by providing an overview of Tuck. He gave the layout and information about the class size (250 students per class, with four sections). Tuck strives to provide “the best” leadership experience in the country, and its small class size provides an advantage in terms of its focus, better access to faculty, and personal attention. It’s also diverse, with about one-third of the student body made up of women and 23 percent minorities. He also described the school’s various programs, such as the Executive Education, Bridge Program, Fellows Program, and joint programs.

William Green started by discussing all the opportunities for undergraduate students at DMS, including access to labs and classes at the Medical School. He also provided a typical timeline for medical students, and finally discussed some of the other programs at DMS, such as the Ph.D. programs and Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine.

Joe Helble explained that Thayer is different from the other graduate schools because it is both an undergraduate major and a professional school. Engineering is the seventh largest major at Dartmouth, and at least 50 percent of undergraduate students take at least one class at Thayer. He gave an update on graduate programs, which included a record enrollment in the Ph.D. program and joint programs in medicine.

Brian Pogue explained a few reasons why students go to graduate schools: They don’t feel they know enough, want to satisfy their curiosity, and wish to master skills in a particular field. He explained the arts and sciences graduate program doesn’t have a particular location, but is spread out across the campus. All schools pride themselves on providing a problem-based education.

In response to councilors’ questions, the panel provided the following information:

With a bachelor’s degree, the average time it takes to complete the graduate program at Thayer is four to five and a half years; this is paid for by a combination of tuition and grants

Tuck is tackling the subject of globalization in a variety of ways: One-third of the students are international, there are 17 international exchange programs offered, and globalization is taught and discussed in the classrooms

DMS has clinic shadowing and mentoring opportunities

There is a strong loyalty among DMS graduates, very much like the undergraduate students’ affinity for the College

DMS clinical faculty teach directly, embrace the humanities, and come from all different backgrounds

Tuck requires its students have real life experience before attending graduate school; most students have significant experience before applying and the average age is 27. There is no such requirement at DMS, however 50 to 60 percent of the student do not attend directly from undergraduate college. Thayer does not have this requirement, and one-third of its students attend directly from college. Regardless of how much experience the students have, all the deans agreed motivation is the key factor in their success.

Compared to larger research institutions, the graduate programs and professional schools at Dartmouth are quite similar, provide plenty of opportunities for students to reach their goals, and find the smaller size are part of the culture

 The plenary was followed by tours of Thayer and Tuck and then meetings of the Academic Affairs, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs Committees.

A garden reception was hosted by President James Wright ’64a and Susan DeBevoise Wright ’69a at their home. The councilors were entertained by the Decibelles.

The evening dinner program in Alumni Hall commenced with comments by J.B. Daukas. Dartmouth Alumni Awards were presented to Samuel D. Ostrow ’76 and Nancy Kepes Jeton ’76.

The evening concluded with an address by President Wright.

The Alumni Liaison Committee held a breakfast meeting with President Wright and Trustees Ed Haldeman ’70 and Jose Fernandez ’77.

The morning plenary session commenced with a report from the Alumni Council’s Ad Hoc Committee to Support Greek Letter Organizations. J.B. Daukas provided a description of the committee and explained why it was formed. He also provided facts about Greek letter organizations on campus, such as the number of fraternities, sororities, and coed houses.

Tom Peisch ’70, chair of the subcommittee on alumni engagement, provided details as to what this particular subcommittee does. He stated the main focus is to assess what alumni involvement currently exists and which houses have alumni support. The goal is to put together an alumni group for each organization so that each has proper alumni support, and he encouraged councilors to be a part of this support system.

Greg Chittim ’01 ’03Th, chair of the subcommittee on faculty involvement, provided an overview of the subcommittee’s focus, which is to determine current faculty engagement and how to advance proper faculty involvement in the houses as a resource for out-of-classroom questions and discussions.

David Dowd ’79, chair of the subcommittee on long-term planning, explained the subcommittee has three priorities:

To support additional sororities

To encourage fundraising with existing houses

To obtain clear support from the administration

 J.B. Daukas, chair of the subcommittee on physical plants, stressed the importance of ongoing maintenance and cleaning of the houses.

Election/Selection Committee Update:  Dennis Ryan ’81 made a presentation on behalf of the Ad Hoc Election/Selection Committee, which was formed 18 months ago (following the approval of the current Alumni Council Constitution). The committee has produced a “best practices” manual that includes recommended procedures for the election and selection of representatives to the Alumni Council. The committee plans to post this manual online, share it with the Club Officers and Class Officers Associations, and inform all constituencies about this resource they might refer to when choosing alumni councilors. The best practices manual had been emailed to alumni councilors before the council weekend and hard copies were enclosed with their registration packets. A motion was made to approve the best practices manual and inform constituents about it. The motion was passed unanimously.

ALC Committee Update:  Rick Silverman ’81 gave a brief PowerPoint presentation on the Alumni Liaison Committee. He reviewed the role of the committee, its members, composition, and selection and gave a rundown of the ALC mailbox and how councilors are to forward all communications to alc@dartmouth.edu. He thanked in particular Councilors Susan Hess ’81, J.T. Knight ’76, and Hoyt Zia ’75 as good examples of councilors who do a great job forwarding emails to this mailbox. Rick also updated the councilors on the status of the ALC Annual Report, which will be prepared by John Osborn ’88 and submitted to the Board of Trustees in September. He gave summaries of what transpired at the ALC meetings throughout the year. Rick said that some “action item” suggestions and questions had been submitted to the ALC by alumni this year. One request was for an alumni governance organizational flow chart. The ALC created one, which Rick distributed to the councilors.

In response to councilors’ questions, Rick Silverman provided the following information:

Yes, councilors may provide their constituents with the ALC email address, but most of the email the ALC currently receives comes from the councilors

Yes, councilors should also forward the answers they provide to constituents’ questions

Councilors should contact Lynne Gaudet ’81 if they have alumni volunteering to conduct enrollment interviews or if they receive questions regarding alumni clubs

Yes, councilors are expected to forward acknowledgement emails such as “thank you for the report”

Trustee Presentation:  J.B. introduced Ed Haldeman ’70 and Jose Fernandez ’77. Chair of the Board of Trustees, Ed Haldeman, began the presentation by thanking the councilors for all of their hard work.  

Next, he stated that the appointment of Jim Kim as the president of Dartmouth College has been very well received. He thanked the search committee and especially Al Mulley ’70, chair of the presidential search committee, for all their efforts. He also pointed out that Dr. Kim is now in “listening mode” and taking time to study the culture of Dartmouth, and asked alumni to be patient during this listening and learning period

Commenting on the passing of the Association of Alumni constitutional amendment, he was very impressed with the 82-percent “yes” vote. Ed said that the board has not met since the win, but they will discuss trustee elections at their next meeting in June

He explained in detail the Board of Trustees re-election process

Regarding the recent budget reductions, he said that it was a difficult process, but with the endowment down 25 percent, some reductions were necessary. He is satisfied with the strategy, and supports the policy stating two items are off-limits when it comes to budget cuts: financial aid and the protection of academic programs and tenured faculty

Jose Fernandez provided an update on the facilities on campus. Recently completed was Biondi Park at Red Rolfe Field, the Tuck Living and Learning complex, and the renovation of New Hampshire Hall dormitory. The College is still working on the Life Sciences Center (construction is under way and scheduled to be completed for fall 2011), a sorority house, and, depending on the economic situation, a new Visual Arts Center, which is still under consideration.

Election Results:  Martha Hartfiel ’83 announced the election results for the following positions:

Alumni Liaison Committee elected member: Susan Hess ’81

Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee elected members: Danielle Dyer ’81 ’89Tu and John Murchinson ’91

President-elect: Tom Peisch ’70

She also noted that the Nominating Committee selected Tom Daniels ’82 as chair for 2009–2010.

Young Alumni Distinguished Service Awards and Alumni Award Committees Presentation:  Tracey Salmon-Smith ’87 provided an explanation about the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Awards Committee, composed of five to seven past recipients of the award, and what they look for in potential candidates as far as criteria (breadth, depth, and length of Dartmouth volunteer involvement as well as quality) and eligibility (first fifteen years following graduation).

Mark Harty ’73 provided an explanation of the Alumni Awards Committee, including the composition (seven past recipients of the award), criteria (most importantly long-standing and meritorious service to Dartmouth, but also career achievement and community service), and eligibility (after 25th class reunion).

Honorary Degrees Update:  Tom Daniels ’82 updated the council on the Honorary Degrees Committee by presenting information on past recipients, criteria, and how alumni councilors can help by identifying more candidates and providing the committee with nominations. He also shared the scheduled 2009 recipients.

Open Mic:  J.B. Daukas announced the “open microphone” session. No alumnus asked questions or made comments during this session.

Old and New Business:  J.B. opened the new business session as there was no old business to discuss.

David Bradley ’58 ’59Tu expressed concern that the post 55-year reunion classes have only two Alumni Councilors representing the constituency. J.B. Daukas mentioned that it will be increased to three under the transition plan, due to the new constitution, and that the Executive Committee will examine the population of these classes and look into the matter further.

There was a resolution proposed to commend President Wright for his efforts on behalf of veterans of the U.S. armed services and to encourage the College to continue to build on his legacy. The resolution was stated as follows:

“Over the past three years, President James Wright has worked tirelessly to bring veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Dartmouth College as undergraduates. Through his efforts, President Wright has renewed Dartmouth’s strong historical connection to our military services, he has dynamically added to the experience of numerous Dartmouth undergraduates, and he has done his part to fulfill the debt that our college owes to this country’s veterans. Most importantly, though, President Wright recognized that the work is not done, and that as a leader in the educational community, Dartmouth has a continuing obligation to its country and to its students to help provide veterans with the opportunity to become a part of our college. In a February 2009 address to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, President Wright said:

“As I have learned over the last several years, it is not enough to sit back passively and expect veterans to come to us. It is my observation after several years of talking to veterans — largely wounded veterans, to be sure, but I think they are pretty representative in this regard — that the financial barrier is only part of what is keeping them from thinking about higher education. They have in some cases never been encouraged to think about this and they have often come to believe they would not be welcome. We need to step up to remedy this. This requires us to remember that these are not conventional students being encouraged and supported by high school guidance counselors, teachers, and parents. They need encouragement. They need information. They need help in applying. And they need us to be flexible.”

This statement should serve as a model for Dartmouth’s continued support of the veterans of our nation’s wars.

Be it resolved, the Alumni Council of Dartmouth College commends President Wright for his efforts on behalf of veterans of the U.S. armed services and encourages the College to continue to build on his legacy.”

The resolution was passed unanimously.

The next discussion item was about the current ROTC program on campus, and whether or not it might be possible for additional ROTC programs to be offered at Dartmouth. Vice President for Alumni Affairs David Spalding ’76 provided the current status of Army ROTC at Dartmouth, and confirmed that the program is on campus, where the training takes place as well. Discussion ensued. It was decided that more information will need to be obtained by the Alumni Council Executive Committee to continue the conversation regarding ROTC on campus.

Director of Alumni Leadership Lynne Gaudet ’81 read the following two resolutions thanking Martha Hartfiel ’83, Chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, and John “J.B” Daukas ’84, Alumni Council President, for their service. Both resolutions were unanimously approved by the Alumni Council.

Resolution thanking Martha Hartfiel:

“Be it resolved that the Dartmouth Alumni Council extends its deep appreciation to Martha Hartfiel ’83 for her thoughtful and energetic leadership as the 2008–2009 chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Although there were no trustee elections this year, Martha did not rest for a moment. Instead, she guided the committee through a year of research and thought, actively soliciting nominations for the Alumni Liaison Committee, at-large Alumni Council members, and future trustee candidates. With her keen intelligence and engaging personality, she encouraged creative thinking as the committee worked to identify and recruit alumni volunteer leaders. Martha’s great sense of humor and wit caused many people to wonder why so much laughter could be heard behind those Nominating Committee doors.

We understand the great sacrifice of time and energy that your job as chair required, and we appreciate not only the sacrifice, but the enthusiasm, willingness, and constant good humor with which you made it.”

Resolution thanking John “J.B.” Daukas ’84:

“Be it resolved that the Dartmouth Alumni Council extends its sincere appreciation to John ‘J.B.’ Daukas ’84 for his extraordinary leadership as president of the Alumni Council. J.B. would be the first to say that he is not an ‘insider,’ and yet through his activism and love for Dartmouth, he rose to the highest levels of volunteer service on behalf of the College. He ran as a petition candidate for the Association of Alumni and, although he was not elected, he got involved in the long effort to reform alumni governance. As a member of the Alumni Governance Task Force, J.B. worked tirelessly with alumni of many different viewpoints to propose a new Association of Alumni constitution. Although the constitution fell short of approval, it was back to the drawing board for J.B., as he joined the Alumni Council; worked with fellow councilors to propose a revised Alumni Council constitution improving representation and establishing the Alumni Liaison Committee; drafted an amicus brief on behalf of the Alumni Council in response to the lawsuit filed against the Board of Trustees by members of the Association of Alumni Executive Committee; and worked diligently to improve communications between alumni, the College, and the Board of Trustees. All that hard work finally paid off, as alumni just voted overwhelmingly to amend the association constitution and adopt important election reforms! J.B. might deserve some rest and relaxation now, but knowing him as we do, we are not quite ready to let him go. Fortunately for us, he will assume the responsibility of chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee next year, and we look forward to his wisdom and counsel in that important role.

J.B., as you hand over the gavel, may our memories of your leadership continue to inspire councilors and all alumni for years to come.

We thank you for your unsparing and energetic dedication to the work of President of the Alumni Council.”

The retiring Class of 2009 Alumni Councilors was thanked.

The meeting was adjourned.

An Executive Committee debriefing took place on Tuesday, May 19, via teleconference.