Haldeman family donates $5 million to College athletics

by Peter Charalambous | 4/13/17 2:10am

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by Paula Kutschera / Paula Kutschera/The Dartmouth Staff

The Haldeman family recently donated $5 million to the College in order to increase and supplement programs that assist student-athletes. This donation, made through the Haldemans’ family foundation, will increase College athletic director Harry Sheehy’s funding through the Athletic Directors Fund for Excellence to invest in and pioneer athletic programs. Sheehy said he plans to use the funding to supplement programs and teams, offer more competitive retention bonuses, enhance contract flexibility and create new programs and initiatives within his department.

This donation by Barbara Haldeman and Ed Haldeman ’70 and their family follows the Haldemans’ $10 million donation in 2004 to the Haldeman Center, which was named in honor of Ed Haldeman’s parents. Ed Haldeman served as the chair of the College’s Board of Trustees from 2007 until 2010. Charlotte Haldeman Whitmore ’03 and Catherine Haldeman Hale ’08, the Haldemans’ daughters, both competed on the College’s varsity squash team.

“My hope would be that athletics continues to be an integral part of the Dartmouth experience for those who come there and want to have a great academic life but also excel on the athletic field,” Ed Haldeman said.

The Haldemans’ relationship with Sheehy began in the 1990s when their son Matt Haldeman played squash and tennis at Williams College. During this time, Sheehy served as the athletic director at Williams. When former College President Jim Kim was searching for a new athletic director in 2010, the College reached out to Sheehy. When Sheehy accepted the position, Kim called Ed Haldeman to notify him of the news, Ed Haldeman said.

“What really drew me here was the challenge of the job,” Sheehy said. “I wanted a place where I could roll my sleeves up and really attack and try to help, try to help a place figure out what it could really be.”

Since Sheehy’s appointment, the Haldemans have been impressed by the programs Sheehy has enacted through the College’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, Ed Haldeman said. One of the more notable programs, Dartmouth Peak Performance, which Sheehy launched in July 2011, provides leadership training and academic resources to support student-athletes.

Ed Haldeman said that both successful programs like DP2 and Sheehy’s welcoming personality have encouraged the Haldeman family to support Sheehy’s work with the College. In late 2016, Sheehy was personally notified that the Haldeman family had decided to endow the athletic director’s position, a decision announced by the College on April 3.

“We hope this enables Dartmouth to continue to support student athletes and honor [Sheehy] as a great athletic director,” Whitmore said.

Ed Haldeman said his family believes that athletics is a core component of a Dartmouth education. For the College’s 1,000 student-athletes and over 75 percent of the student body who participate in athletic activity each year, the Haldeman family wants to help foster a meaningful and productive athletic experience, he added.

Sheehy’s position is now titled the Haldeman Family Director of Athletics and Recreation. The money will primarily fund the Athletic Directors Fund for Excellence, which gives the athletic director ongoing flexible funding.

“I value the flexibility because Harry is the expert and he knows where the greatest need is,” Ed Haldeman said.

The Haldeman family’s donation follows a series of other donations which have substantially increased the potential for the Department of Athletics in Recreation. Alumni and friends of the College have given over $24 million to the Department of Athletics in Recreation through endowments of various coaching positions. Sheehy said he hopes to use these donations to better the department as a whole.

“I am not happy with the amount of athletic success we have — I would like to build more,” Sheehy said. “I would like to make this the preeminent student-athlete experience in the United States, which is what DP2 is all about.”

According to Sheehy, who follows the mantra that “coaching at its core is just good teaching,” athletics offer unique benefits and teach skills to students, such as embracing teamwork and learning to overcome public failure. In addition, Sheehy said he believes that athletics can unite the College in a unique and powerful way.

“When you go to the Homecoming game against Harvard [University], everyone feels the same way ­— beat Harvard,” he said. “There isn’t much that unifies us and I think that one of the things sports does is unify us.”