“The Call to Lead” seeks to raise $3 billion for the College

by Julian Nathan | 5/4/18 2:50am

If all goes according to College President Phil Hanlon’s plan, sweeping changes will be coming to the College on the Hill. On Apr. 27, Hanlon announced the College’s $3 billion capital campaign, “The Call to Lead,” which is expected to run through 2022.

Among the expected improvements are eliminating loans in financial aid packages and reimplementing need-blind admissions for international students. Beginning with the Class of 2012, the College observed need-blind admissions policies while evaluating international applicants until it reverted to using need-aware policies for these applicants while making admissions decisions for the Class of 2020. The College will also build a new 350-bed residence hall; expand the west end of campus to focus on entrepreneurship, technology and design; create a comprehensive four-year leadership program for undergraduates; renovate Dartmouth Hall, the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the Hood Museum of Art; and invest in research and the College’s graduate programs, including its newly-christened Frank J. Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. At press time, the College had raised approximately $1.6 billion for the fund so far; although the College must raise an additional $1.4 billion to meet its fundraising goal, plans to implement changes are already underway. College trustee Richard Kimball ’78 said that the “quiet phase” of the campaign began in 2014. As part of the “quiet phase,” the College reached out to several potential donors, he said. Kimball added that the board will oversee the College’s various departments to ensure that each is spending money in accordance with its budget.

According to Hanlon, the campaign’s $3 billion goal is large compared to those of peer institutions, especially considering the College’s smaller size and donor pool.

“This is an ambitious, ambitious number,” Hanlon said.

He used the University of Michigan — where he previously served as provost — and its 2017 capital campaign goal of $4 billion as an example. Since the University of Michigan has nearly 600,000 living alumni, it expected to obtain an average of approximately $6,667 per alumnus. Since the College has nearly 80,000 living alumni, its $3 billion fundraising goal implies that it expects to obtain an average of $37,500 per alumnus.

Hanlon said that need-blind admissions for international students and loan-free financial aid packages — both goals of the campaign — would be implemented as soon as the necessary funds become available. The cost of providing need-blind admissions for international students will be $90 million, according to Hanlon. The cost of providing students with financial aid packages without loans will be $80 million, he said.

Hanlon noted that the College hired a consulting firm to assist in planning the campaign but declined to specify which firm.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Laurel Richie ’81 said the College decided to ask 100 women to donate $1 million due to the success of similar past initiatives. Previously, as part of the Centennial Circle of Alumnae, 100 women were asked to donate $100,000. Richie said that the success of this initiative served as a “rally crying for women of Dartmouth.”

“[Women of Dartmouth] started to say, ‘Wow, if we have done this, what more can we do?” Richie said.

She added that allocating some of the money raised by the Centennial Circle to the renovation of Dartmouth Hall was a conscious choice because the building is one of Dartmouth’s most “iconic” features.

“The women of Dartmouth just said, ‘We’d like to take this one on,’” Richie said. “There’s a need and it’s part of Dartmouth’s history, but it’s also charting a path, a new path forward. It’s a combination of the need but also the significance of taking on a really important and visible initiative that we hope will be an inspiration to the women who follow behind us.”

According to Richie, the 350 additional beds that the College intends to construct as part of the campaign will all be located in one new building. The building will be used to house students as existing residence halls undergo renovation, she explained. However, she noted that construction would not begin on the new residence hall until sufficient funds are raised to eliminate the possibility of having to cease construction due to insufficient funds. According to Richie, Harvard University encountered this problem in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Though only $1.6 billion of the campaign’s $3 billion goal has been raised so far, Richie said that she is “100 percent” confident that the College will eventually raise the full $3 billion because of the enthusiasm she has observed among alumni and faculty during the campaign’s “quiet phase” and after its public launch.

“That [widespread enthusiasm] just gives you confidence for success,” Richie said. “Failure is not an option.”

Richie said that even if the campaign reaches its fundraising goal early, the campaign will still likely continue because additional funds could be allocated to existing projects or new projects altogether.

“I suspect that we’d go back and look at some of the things that we wanted to do but didn’t think would fit within the campaign in this timeframe,” she said.

Both Richie and Kimball declined to specify which additional projects were considered but ultimately ruled out for the current campaign.

Dean of the College Rebecca Biron said the College’s mission statement inspired the proposed four-year leadership program. Students already prepare for a “lifetime of learning” through their academic coursework, Biron said. She added that the four-year leadership program will allow students to engage in “lifelong responsible leadership,” which is the second component of the College’s mission.

“Students want support for self-guided personal development plans,” Biron said. “That’s what this curriculum does to meet the mission of the College. This curriculum, being the only one of its kind among our peers ... [that offers] students four years of leadership preparation regardless of their major or interests ... is really bold.”

Hanlon echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the unique nature of the program.

“No one is doing something that’s comprehensive that hits every student,” he said. “If we succeed [in this leadership program,] that will be totally distinctive.”

Biron said that existing campus leadership programs — including those offered by Dartmouth Peak Performance, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Tuck School of Business’s Bridge Program — would serve as branches of the four-year program.

“There are wonderful, high-quality pockets of leadership on campus,” she said. “We need to offer a way to coordinate all of those opportunities, scale up programs that exist and add programs that might be missing so that we can meet all of our students’ needs.”

Biron said that other leadership programs would be developed to accommodate students with interests that cannot be satisfied through existing programs. For instance, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network and the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors Program might be two of several partners that develop programs for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Biron added that the College administration has not yet decided whether or not participation in the four-year program will become a graduation requirement for students.

“We are agnostic about the best way to go about this for now,” she said.

However, Biron explained that participation is unlikely to be a requirement during the program’s early phases because stakeholders would use the program’s early years to assess what aspects of it are most effective.

She clarified that as part of the program, students will meet specific learning objectives each year, including self-awareness, awareness of others, community building and cross-cultural communication and collaborative strategic action.

However, Biron noted that students will be free to meet these objectives through multiple leadership programs and will likely be able to complete each phase of the program in whichever order is most convenient for them.

Biron added that she anticipates that the College’s house communities system will play a role in the four-year program because those communities can serve as “leadership labs” for students. She said she hopes this will allow students to deepen their connections to their housing communities and learn to become leaders in “a microcosm of the diversity on offer across Dartmouth as a whole.”

Director of the Hopkins Center for the Arts Mary Lou Aleskie said that at least $75 million will be allocated to the Hopkins Center for improvements.

“We see [$75 million] as a floor, not a ceiling,” Aleskie said. “That’s the way it’s been communicated to us.”

Aleskie said that the funds would support renovations to the Hopkins Center and types of new programming. Renovations to the building are necessary because the way that people engage with the arts has fundamentally changed since its construction, she said.

“The challenge is that this building, having been built in 1962, was built in a configuration that was very much focused on a transactional way of experiencing art,” Aleskie said. “The idea that arts are experienced rather than consumed [represented] a big shift.”

She noted that limited classroom and rehearsal space has been a challenge at the Hopkins Center in recent years.

“Those are the kinds of things that have to be changed within the Hopkins Center for it to be a destination in the 21st century,” Aleskie said. “Our hope is that we can do that in an architecturally defining way that makes it clear that the arts are for everyone on campus.”

Aleskie added that the top of the Hopkins Center and its adjoining terrace may undergo renovation to increase their utility to the student body.

“The terrace out there is so under-utilized,” she said. “If there’s a way to put a performance space out there ... [that would be] something we are looking to do.”

The $75 million might also permit the Hopkins Center to invite artists to campus for longer-term residencies as opposed to shorter visits, according to Aleskie.

“What we’re looking to do more of is ... [having] longer-term visits that allow [visitors] to collaborate with faculty and students to actually make work together,” she said.

Director of the Hood Museum of Art John Stomberg said that $50 million has been allocated to the construction of the museum’s new building. Of the $50 million, $47.5 million was already raised during the “quiet phase” of the campaign, according to Stomberg. He added that the construction project is both on-schedule and meeting budgetary guidelines. According to Dartmouth News, the museum is expected to open in 2019.

Stomberg explained that the funds would be used to construct three new classrooms in the museum, six new galleries and a new atrium. He added that the new offerings would give both students and faculty increased access to the museum’s resources.

“Almost every department on campus uses the museum ... only about a third of our time, energy and money goes into departments you would expect, such as art history,” Stomberg said. “The rest goes to other departments, such as biology, history, environmental studies, Native American studies and many others.”

Stomberg said he believes that the museum’s new building will increase its visibility and profile on campus.

“When you talk to classes from the eighties and nineties, they barely knew the museum was there because it was hidden behind a wall,” Stomberg said. “The new building is very welcoming and gives it a face on the Green.”

He added that he interprets the allocation of $50 million to the museum as an indication of the College’s commitment to the arts.

“Dartmouth has placed a premium on the arts — our organization is getting a huge boost from the campaign, and that’s no accident,” Stomberg said. “It was carefully calculated that the arts are going to be a part of Dartmouth’s future.”

Debora Hyemin Han, Sonia Qin and Ioana Solomon contributed reporting.

Correction appended (May 4, 2018): This article has been updated to clarify that the College's mission statement has not changed.