Alumni relations administrator Martha Beattie '76 retires

by Harrison Aronoff | 9/28/17 2:05am

Source: Courtesy of Martha Beattie

Vice president for alumni relations Martha Beattie ’76 announced last week that she will retire to spend more time with her family, in what she called one of the “toughest decisions” of her life.

Beattie, who has held the role since 2011, will officially retire once her successor has been chosen, which she said will not be finalized for another few months. The College has enlisted Sandler Search Associates to find Beattie’s replacement, with the company’s chief executive officer and founder Josie Sandler ’91 spearheading the search.

In an email statement, Sandler wrote that the active search phase has begun and that she has already received numerous referrals for the position.

According to Beattie, now is the “ideal time to leave” because the alumni relations team is the “best it has ever been.”

Alumni relations has over 200 employees and active volunteers representing over 79,000 alumni, and hosts a number of family events, career web seminars, service days and reunions throughout the year.

Under Beattie’s leadership, alumni relations saw record reunion attendances — last year, 5,104 people came to campus for 2017 Reunions, surpassing the previous record of 4,964 people, Beattie said. The Class of 1977 also set an all-time 40th reunion attendance record last year with 276 alumni coming to Hanover, she said.

Beattie credits the increase in attendance to “re-clustered” reunion groups, a change that she implemented — three classes, not one, now come together during their 10th, 15th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th and 50th reunion. She also said reunion planning, communication, financing and even the events’ décor has improved.

Beattie also established a number of new committees and programs during her tenure. She said she is most proud of teaming up with the admissions office to found the Admissions Ambassador Program, through which alumni connect to prospective students. As of this year, over 6,500 alumni have volunteered for the program, interviewing and sharing their College experience with prospective students, Beattie said.

Since the program’s inception two years ago, interview rates for prospective students have increased by more than 20 percent nationally and more than 15 percent internationally, according to Beattie.

Beattie also worked on revamping Wearers of Green, which celebrates Hall of Fame athletes from the College, by holding the induction ceremony during Homecoming Weekend. She also founded Women of Dartmouth communities, which host social gatherings and offer career support to alumnae in six metropolitan cities.

Focus groups, data analysis and market research were also “critical” to the department’s success these past years, according to Beattie, as they offer insights ranging from how funds should be managed to how alumni relation events can be more engaging. She said she hopes her successor uses these resources as much as she did.

College President Phil Hanlon expressed admiration for Beattie’s leadership and alumni engagement.

“One aspect of [Beattie’s] leadership that always impresses me is her focus on how the College can and must engage alumni comprehensively in our work — from the classroom to the boardroom and in every setting in between,” Hanlon wrote in a College press release.

Hanlon also noted that Beattie was particularly instrumental in introducing him and his wife Gail Gentes to “the broader Dartmouth community” when they returned to campus in 2013.

Most importantly, Beattie wants alumni relations to continue to “add value in alumni in all stages of their lives.”

Senior vice president for advancement Bob Lasher ’88 wrote in an email statement that Beattie was particularly influential in paving the way for future women on Dartmouth, as she graduated in one of the first classes of women.

“Among the ‘loyal ones who love her,’ few could rival [Beattie] in terms of Dartmouth spirit and dedication to our community,” Lasher wrote.

Correction Appended (Sept. 28, 2017):

A previous version of the Sept. 28, 2017 article "Alumni relations administrator Martha Beattie '76 retires" incorrectly stated Gail Gentes' last name. This article has been updated to reflect this correction.