Association of Alumni announces candidates

by Grace Afsari-Mamagani | 1/4/11 11:00pm

Only two current members of the Association of Alumni executive committee will run for reelection in 2011, as the remaining nine executive members have reached the three-term limit, according to the Association's Dec. 8 announcement of its slate. The Association nominated John Daukas '84, former president of the Alumni Council, to replace Association President John Mathias '69.

Gary Love '76 was nominated to fill the role of first vice president currently held by Veree Hawkins Brown '93, while Pete Bleyler '61 was nominated for the position of second vice president, currently occupied by Doug Keare '56. Association secretary-treasurer Lynne Gaudet '81 will run for reelection.

New members will fill three of the four officer positions, including that of president, when current positions are vacated in April.

Other candidates may be nominated by petition until Jan. 10 to run against those nominated by the Association. Voting in the Association executive committee elections begins in March and continues through April. The results from the elections will be announced at the Association's annual meeting on April 9.

If elected, the nominees chosen by a three-person committee comprised of Brown, Otho Kerr '79 and John Engelman '68 will oversee elections for the Board of Trustees and speak on behalf of alumni sentiment, Mathias said.

The Association continuously strives to nominate a diverse group of candidates, according to Mathias.

"If you look at class years and characteristics, [the candidates are] pretty representative of the alumni body," he said.

Daukas, a partner in the litigation department at Goodwin Procter LLP, served as president of the Alumni Council from 2008 to 2009 and previously ran as a petition candidate for the position of AoA president.

"I guess I'd say I've been both an outsider and an insider," Daukas said. "I was chairman of the [Alumni Liaison Committee] and I'm very familiar with what it does. I think that puts me in a pretty good position to be involved."

Daukas who served on the now-defunct AoA Election Reform Study Committee, formed in 2009 to assess campaign finance rules for Board and Association executive committee elections said he plans to keep campaign costs to a minimum. The extent of official campaigns carried out by the nominees will depend on whether petition candidates participate in the election, according to Daukas.

"[Campaign costs for] the trustee elections were getting out of control, and these [Association] campaigns have gotten really expensive in the past, too," he said. "I hope we don't have to spend a lot of money. It's money I'd rather give to the College, which is how most people on the slate probably feel as well."

Reforming campaign finance guidelines has proven difficult since there is no consensus among active alumni on how to address campaign spending, Daukas said.

Bleyler, who was the chief human resources officer at William Mercer, Inc. and serves as vice president of the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth, said he will not conduct a formal campaign.

If elected, Daukas said he hopes to focus on the Association's role in running trustee elections while strengthening the ties between alumni and College governance, he said.

"I would like to build upon what I think is a very positive atmosphere we now have with the alumni and the College," Daukas said.

Tension had followed the College's 2007 decision to expand the Board, which created eight additional charter trustee seats, disturbed the parity between appointed and alumni-elected trustees and sparked two lawsuits between alumni and the College, The Dartmouth previously reported.

Most of the members of the Association's current slate of candidates oppose the lawsuit, as do most alumni in general, Daukas said.

"I think the alumni on the Board do a good job of representing alumni sentiment," he said. "I don't think that was always the case, but it's definitely the case now."

Low voter turnout for alumni elections, which hovers around 30 percent, may be evidence of alumni satisfaction with the current state of the College, Daukas said.

"It made it hard for someone like me or Mathias to say the alumni would really like to have more alumni-elected trustees when the alumni aren't voting," he said. "[But] maybe that shows most of them are happy with the way the College is going, with the sort of trustees the Board elects."

Bleyler said that the issue of parity will likely not play a large role in upcoming Association campaigns and elections.

"In prior years we've had two slates of nominees, and one side was favoring the lawsuit while the other was against the lawsuit," he said. "I don't know that we're going to see that this year."

The Association also nominated Gershen Abraham '58 Th '59, Belinda Chiu '98, Jeff Crowe '78, Ann Fritz Hackett '76, Kiyoe Hashimoto '95 and Kate Strayer-Benton '05 Tu '11 to seek executive committee seats. Mark Alperin '80 will run for reelection.

Love could not be reached for comment by press time.