196th Session Committee Summaries

The council weekend opened on Thursday with meetings of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC). Alumni councilors spent the afternoon participating in student–alumni discussion groups discussing the following topics.

Gender Equity: Who Controls Campus Social Spaces?
Social Impacts of Student Economic Differences
What Makes a Great Dartmouth President?
Alumni–Student Interaction:Student Perspectives

Discussion groups were followed by a “dine-around” opportunity with students at Sigma Nu fraternity, Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority, Alpha Theta coed house, Occom Commons in the McLaughlin dormitory cluster, and the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean affinity house. The councilors ended the evening with a reception in Zimmerman Lounge at the Blunt Alumni Center.

The morning plenary session opened with “Decisions, Decisions: An Update on Admissions and Financial Aid for the Class of 2012” presented by Maria Laskaris ’84, dean of admissions and financial aid, and Virginia Hazen, director of financial aid.

Maria mentioned that this was the largest applicant pool to date (16,538 applications; 16.6 percent increase over the previous year) and reflected the largest application increase among our peers.She gave the following reasons for the increase: demographics; change in early admission programs at peer institutions, and Dartmouth’s outreach and recruitment efforts.The College accepted 2,190 applicants (13.2 percent rate of admission; most selective ever) and with 1,118 students accepting to date, the Class of 2012 currently has a 51 percent yield.

She then provided some statistics for the incoming 2012 class.Legacies (125 members) represent 11.2 percent of the class.She mentioned the new financial aid initiatives which include no tuition for families with incomes less than $75,000; eliminating loans for 2012 and beyond; a reduction in loans of 50 percent for all current students; a need-blind admissions process for international students; and the elimination of one leave term’s earning expectation for all financial aid students.

In response to councilor questions, Maria Laskaris and Ginny Hazen provided the following information.

  • Two regular applicants and four transfer students accepted into the Class of 2012 are war veterans.
  • The yields for financial aid and non-financial aid applicants are, overall, very close.
  • Dartmouth is very generous and competitive in comparison to the financial aid awards of our peer institutions.
  • On average, students applying to Dartmouth apply to 3–4 colleges and universities.
  • The College has conducted outreach to students of color using the following initiatives:travel around the country; attendance at college fairs; use of mentoring programs; Dimensions program, which brings admitted students to the College for a two-day introduction.
  • “Free tuition” only pertains to tuition and does not include room and board.
  • The new financial aid funding comes from a variety of initiatives such as the capital campaign.
  • The Admissions Office predicts that the final number for the Class of 2012 will be approximately 1,090.

A presentation followed by Dean of the College Tom Crady on “Observations from My First Six Months as Dean.”He has been on campus for approximately four months.He has spent a lot of time meeting with different groups of students as well as alumni. Dean Crady observed that, to his amazement, all of the students he has met have commented on how they love Dartmouth, which is a very positive thing. He has heard and is addressing concerns about the judicial process, the alcohol policy, and other areas. In response to councilor questions, Dean Crady responded as follows.

  • He has met with the chief of the Hanover Police Department and the Hanover Fire Department to encourage dialogue between the town and the campus.
  • Dartmouth is a space-challenged campus.A “space” committee has been created to review current spaces on campus and conduct qualitative research.
  • There are basically two situations when Safety and Security call the Hanover Police Department.They call an ambulance, and the Hanover police accompany the ambulance, when there is an unresponsive student.They also call the police when there is the possibility of violence.
  • When The Dartmouth recently published a cartoon victimizing a Dartmouth student, Dean Crady wrote a letter immediately to the newspaper to address the situation.

The panel presentation “Athletic Recruiting, Admissions, and the Ivy League” followed.Director of Athletics and Recreation Josie Harper ’47a moderated the panel. Panelists included Bob Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of athletics; Bob Gaudet ’81, head coach, men’s ice hockey; Dan Parish ’89, director of admissions recruitment and communication; and Amy Patton, head coach, women’s lacrosse.

Bob Ceplikas described the athletic recruiting process. Dan Parish followed with a description of the link between the Admissions Office and the recruitment of athletes.Amy Patton and Bob Gaudet gave a coach’s perspective of recruiting and admissions perspectives.

Andrew Zabel ’09 provided a brief presentation about the “Big Green Bus” which is a vegetable oil-powered bus.Students are preparing for their fourth national tour this summer to spread the word about sustainable energy. Councilors viewed the bus, which was located outside on the Green, and met some of the students who will go on tour.

Each councilor had an opportunity to audit one undergraduate class during the 11:15 am class period. Most alumni councilors had a lunch break while the Young Alumni Committee and the Honorary Degrees Committee held their meetings.

The afternoon plenary session opened with a panel presentation on “Greek Letter Organizations at Dartmouth Today.”The panel moderator was Deb Carney, assistant dean of residential life. Panelists included Anthony Arch ’09, Theta Delta Chi fraternity; Emily Eberle ’09, Alpha Theta coed house; John Engelman ’68, Alpha Delta advisor; Elise Krieger ’08, Alpha Phi sorority; and Michael Simoni ’08, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Deb Carney gave a brief overview, noting that 63 percent of the student body has an affiliation with one of the CFS houses.There are now more female members than male.There are 28 unique and strong organizations. In response to questions from councilors the following information was provided:

  • Alpha Phi is a national organization and it is difficult to host an Alpha Phi event because they are unwilling to bend their policy of no alcohol in the sorority. A letter has been sent to the national organization in the hope that they will consider changing some of the policies.
  • All the student panelists agreed that the College and the Dartmouth community have been very supportive of the CFS organizations.John Engelman mentioned that the Student Life Initiative has helped to improve the Greek system.
  • The student panelists said that they would like to see financial aid (need-blind) for house dues; recycle more; and change some of the national policies.
  • The CFS houses are used more extensively now than in the past (due to the Dartmouth Plan, etc.) so there is no down time for maintenance.Therefore, upkeep is sometimes an issue.John Engelman noted that alumni of Alpha Delta have hired a cleaning service to maintain the premises.

A presentation by Jeff Weiss ’86, chair of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee, followed. Jeff delivered a PowerPoint listing the councilors who will join the Alumni Council effective July 1, 2008, to represent classes, regions, affiliated groups, and other constituencies.As required by the council constitution, Jeff asked the council members to approve the selection of the two professional school representatives, the two at-large representatives, and the ALC appointment. The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously. He distributed paper ballots for the election of:

  • two members of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee
  • one member of the Alumni Liaison Committee
  • the president-elect of the Alumni Council.

President-elect John (J.B.) Daukas ’84 was nominated to become president of the Alumni Council. The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously. 

Jeff Weiss reported on the list of activities of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee during the past year and informed the council that Martha Hartfiel ’83 will chair that committee from 2008 to 2009. Jeff concluded with an interactive presentation asking councilors about the criteria they would use to evaluate alumni nominations for trustee. Councilor responses included

  • service to Dartmouth
  • wide area of competence
  • character
  • specific skills to enhance the Board of Trustees
  • communication skills
  • professional background

The plenary session was followed by committee 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 the president’s home. The evening dinner program in Alumni Hall commenced with comments by President Rick Silverman ’81. Two award presentations were made:the Dartmouth Alumni Award to James Bildner ’75 and the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Julie Cillo ’92. The evening concluded with an address by President Wright. He listed many recent campus events, including the fifth straight Club Figure Skating Team national championship; the tenth anniversary of the Roth Center for Jewish Life; the 30th anniversary of the Montgomery Fellowship; the 25th anniversary of the Rockefeller Center; the dedication of the Burnham Field House; and the new financial aid package. He plans to focus on the following areas in the upcoming year.

  • capital campaign
  • sophomore summer experience (making it more academically focused)
  • welcome the Class of 2012
  • faculty recruitment
  • recruit the Class of 2013

He thanked the alumni councilors for their volunteer service.

The ALC held a breakfast meeting with President Wright and Trustee Al Mulley Jr. ’70. 

The morning plenary session commenced with a report from the ALC.  Committee chair Martha Beattie ’76 and Andy Horne ’87 described the ALC and provided a preliminary outline of the first annual report which is a work in progress. The purpose of the annual report is to ensure formal communication from the ALC to the Board of Trustees, provide alumni feedback to the Board, and document Alumni Council work.Following the council weekend, Martha Beattie will email instructions to all councilors telling them how to forward constituency feedback to the ALC.The annual report will be distributed to the Alumni Relations Committee of the Board of Trustees and to all alumni councilors.  

A faculty panel presentation titled “What’s the Purpose of a Liberal Arts Education in the 21st Century?” was made.Panelists included Jon Kull ’88, associate professor of chemistry and faculty representative to the council; James Murphy, professor of government; and Don Pease, professor of English, comparative literature, and African and African-American studies, Avalon Professorship in the Humanities, and chair of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program.  

Professor Pease began by commenting on the challenges to the conceptualization of a liberal education.Some are rethinking the purpose and function of a liberal arts education.Murphy mentioned that surveys of graduating seniors by the Committee on Faculty show that advising and course selection support needed improvement. A new dean of advising has recently been appointed to give students stronger guidance when selecting courses, enriching their Dartmouth experience.Professor Kull commented that writing and communications are critically important today.  

Jeff Weiss announced the results of the Alumni Council elections. C. Rick Allen ’75 and Tracey Salmon-Smith ’87 were elected to the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee.Tom Callahan ’84 was elected to the ALC.Janine Avner ’80 was elected president-elect of the Alumni Council.  

Lynne Gaudet ’81 presented the following resolution thanking Jeff Weiss ’86 for his work as the chair of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee:“Resolved, that the Alumni Council expresses its deep appreciation to Jeff Weiss ’86 for his leadership as chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.  

“Jeff, you guided the committee through a year of research and thought for the important process of producing candidates for alumni trustee. Although there was no trustee seat open this year, the Nominating Committee, under your guidance, developed new ways to expand the network of information about potential trustees.Next year’s committee will benefit greatly from your leadership and hard work. 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.”  

The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously. 

The trustee report, made by Al Mulley Jr. ’70, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, followed. Al noted that he would like to discuss the upcoming search for a new president and gather feedback from the Alumni Council members.He gave a chronology of events that have occurred since President Wright’s retirement announcement.He mentioned that the Board of Trustees has hired a search committee consultant, Isaacson, Miller.Jon Isaacson is a member of the Class of 1968.  Al posed three questions to the council:  

  • What do you see as Dartmouth’s significant opportunities and challenges over the next few years that a new president must address?
  • What qualities of leadership should the next president have in order to ensure Dartmouth’s continued preeminence in higher education?
  • Are there other considerations for the search that you would like to share?

Al provided the following information in response to councilor questions:

  • The composition of the last presidential search committee included six trustees, six faculty members, one alumnus, and one student.Although we could add to the number during this presidential search, we would like to keep the number reasonable as we want the members to be very active (i.e., meeting attendance; all deliberations together). 
  • We want the strongest leader for Dartmouth.
  • Confidentiality is critical as the strongest candidates won’t apply if there is a lack of confidentiality within the search committee.It is essential that we do bring in the strongest candidates.We will take whatever measures we can to ensure confidentiality.
  • Other college and university presidential searches currently taking place include Johns Hopkins (search will conclude at the end of 2008) and Northwestern (will be going on as we are, with their conclusion in August 2009).

The “Open Forum” followed.The Communications Committee reported that they would produce two sample correspondences for alumni councilors to use following the council weekend. The first sample will be a “Please vote in the AoA election” email to be sent immediately following the council meeting.Committee member Brooks Clark ’78 will provide the second sample communications, a weekend summary, for councilors to send to their constituencies a few weeks following the meeting. 

The following three alumni council constitutional amendments were proposed. For each, the motion was moved, seconded and passed unanimously.

Constitutional amendment #1:  

Article IV 3 – Alumni Liaison Committee  

3. Alumni Liaison Committee. The Alumni Liaison Committee shall be a committee of the Council, consisting of the President, the President-elect, and immediate past-President of the Council, the Presidents of the Association of Alumni during their term on the Alumni Council (or the first or second vice presidents of the Association of Alumni, in the event they are members of the Council pursuant to Article VI.3.L of this Constitution), three current Council members elected by the Alumni Council for staggered three-year terms, and three members of the Association of Alumni elected by the Alumni Council for staggered three-year terms.A representative of the Trustee Alumni Relations Committee may also serve on this committee.  

Constitutional amendment #2:  

Article VI 4.A Faculty Representative  

4. The Council shall have the following non-voting liaison representatives:  

  1. One person selected from the General Faculty of Dartmouth College for a three-year term.

Constitutional amendment #3:  

Article VIII: Alumni Trustee Nominations  

1. The Council shall designate candidates for nomination as Alumni Trustees.  

2. The Nominating Committee shall be responsible for (i) reviewing and evaluating the qualifications of alumni proposed as candidates for nomination for the position of Alumni Trustee, and (ii) recommending to the Council the names of candidates for nomination for Alumni Trustee vacancies.  

An open microphone session for all alumni concluded the Open Forum. The following topics were discussed:  

  • the presidential search committee
  • the inclusion of the AoA president on the ALC and the Alumni Council (the constitutional amendment was approved in fall 2008 to add the AoA president to the ALC and the Alumni Council)

David Spalding ’76, vice president for Alumni Relations, provided an update on the current organization of the Alumni Relations staff and his goals. An organizational chart of the Alumni Relations department was distributed to councilors. 

Lynne Gaudet presented the following resolution to thank Rick Silverman for his leadership as the Alumni Council president:

“Resolved, that the Alumni Council extends its immense gratitude to Rick Silverman ’81 for his outstanding service to Dartmouth College as President of the Alumni Council.   “Your volunteer service to Dartmouth began just following graduation when you joined your class fundraising effort. You continued working for your class as chair of the 15th AND 25th reunions, also taking on the roles of class president and secretary, and it was through this volunteer work that you ultimately joined the Alumni Council in 2003, representing the great class of 1981.  

As president of this body, your unstinting commitment to Dartmouth has been epic, involving untold hours traveling between Boston and Hanover, and communicating with a multitude of volunteers via telephone and email. Your initiation as president-elect came during an intense period of discussion on the future of alumni governance and the Alumni Council’s own role, leading to important amendments to the council’s constitution that strengthened and expanded alumni representation. As president, you have focused on having councilors understand all of the issues, challenges, and joys that are taking place at Dartmouth, and on making sure that councilors fulfill their responsibility of communicating effectively with constituents. You have continued the council’s positive working relationship with the Board of Trustees, and we know that this good work will continue as you chair the Alumni Liaison Committee next year.  

Your legacy to the council is leading by example the practice and ideal of volunteer participation and service to Dartmouth.   “You have dedicated yourself to maintaining good relations with alumni, students, College administrators and trustees.Your hard work between council meetings has included monthly teleconferences of the Executive Committee, meetings with the Nominating Committee, sessions with the Alumni Liaison Committee and the Board of Trustees, presentations of the Alumni Award and a key role at Homecoming Weekend. You have encouraged an air of openness, tolerance, and respect. You have done all this with enthusiasm, pleasure and good humor, while you conducted your ‘day job’ as a successful plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Now you will have more time to give to the cause you love so much—traveling to South America, repairing birth defects and literally building smiles among Ecuador’s neediest children.  

As you hand over the gavel, may our memories of your leadership continue to inspire Councilors and all alumni ‘round the girdled earth’.”  

The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously.  

President-Elect J.B. Daukas thanked the retiring alumni councilors. President Rick Silverman officially passed the gavel to J.B. Daukas, who adjourned the 196th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council.