Recipient of the 2019–20 Alumni Award
As a boy in Montclair, New Jersey, your first exposure to Dartmouth came through your father, James W. Wooster, Jr. ’26, and your uncle John T. Wooster ’30. You were a frequent visitor to the Dartmouth campus, and when it came time to visit other colleges, none compared to your beloved Big Green.
An engineering major, you attended Tuck and Thayer as part of the 3-2 program to earn your M.S. in engineering and M.B.A. You were also enrolled in ROTC. An active contributor to the track team, you joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon and, later, Casque and Gauntlet. Halfway through your academic career, you began to date your wonderful wife, Betsy, who became an intrinsic part of your Dartmouth experience and circle of friends. When asked about your favorite Dartmouth memories, you say there are too many wonderful moments to single any one out!
Following graduation, you were commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy. Shortly after you and Betsy were wed, you headed to Guantanamo Bay. Later, you were stationed in Newport, Rhode Island, and completed your service as a U.S. Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade. A 30-plus-year career with New England Telephone followed; you were there as the company transitioned to Nynex and then Verizon. Your roles—which encompassed a range of areas including management, marketing, and labor relations—took you to from Boston, to Burlington, Vermont, to White Plains, New York.
However, in tandem with a busy life filled with work and family, Dartmouth exerted a powerful pull on you over the years. You have spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy giving back to your alma mater. You’ve served as an admissions interviewer; alumni fund volunteer; class president of the Great Class of 1959 (recognized as Class President of the Year in 2003); the president of the Class Presidents Association; alumni councilor and member of the Alumni Liaison Committee; as a member of your reunion committee and reunion giving committee, and most recently, as co-chair of your milestone 60th Reunion. Currently, you serve as the co-vice president of the class, lending support and guidance to your Executive Committee. A highlight for you was serving as the President of the Class Officers Association. Planning class activities has been a particular joy; the first ’59 class trip to London was a smash hit, and next on the agenda came a visit to Peru. These trips were followed by a barge and bike adventure in Belgium, and a fantastic birthday party in Jackson Hole.
When you retired, you and Betsy chose your beloved Hanover as the place to enjoy your next chapter. Your schedule became even busier as you took on volunteer commitments. As the saying goes, “If you want to get something done, get a busy person to do it!” Your impressive civic resume includes roles with the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as with the annual Special Olympics. A section adopter of the Appalachian Trail, you’ve joined the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club four times over four decades—your favorite peak being Mount Moosilauke, of course, given your green blood. You’ve led a course in foreign policy for ILEAD (now OSHER) for close to 20 years, and you now sit on their curriculum committee.
One priority ranks much higher than Dartmouth or anything else for you, and that is your wonderful family. You and Betsy married shortly after graduation and have four fabulous children: Jim, Chuck, Beckley, and Bruce. Two of your sons, Jim ’84 and Chuck ’89, attended Dartmouth, as did your daughters-in-law Susan ’92 and Laura ’83, as well as your grandson, Zachary ’15. You and your daughter-in-law’s father Walt Vail ’58 founded the grand tradition of the “grandfather’s hike,” which continues to be a favorite family activity. John Muir once said, "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." In your walk, Jim, Dartmouth has benefited from your positive energy and infectious optimism. In recognition of your remarkable dedication to your career, your community, and your College, we are truly honored to present you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.