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The Dartmouth
May 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Blunt's chief will retire

Warren "Skip" Hance '55, who led Dartmouth to record levels of achievement in fund raising, will retire as vice president for development and alumni affairs.

College President James Freedman will announce the resignation in a memorandum to be released later this week.

"Skip has graciously agreed to continue in his position until a successor is in place," Freedman wrote. In the statement, dated May 20, Freedman said he will appoint a committee to search for a new vice president.

As vice president for development and alumni affairs, Hance is responsible for the College's most lucrative fundraising efforts and is one of the five top administrators who work with Freedman to set the College's budget.

Hance came to Dartmouth in 1986 from Harvard Law School where he was the director of alumni relations and development. Before that he was a teacher and headmaster at Miss Porter's School in Connecticut.

After 20 years as an academic administrator at three institutions, Hance said he wants a less demanding schedule and the opportunity to pursue a number of personal interests. "A little more relaxing schedule is attractive to me," he said in a telephone interview last night.

But Hance has not yet decided what the future holds for him. "I'll take some time off and then decide what to do next," he said.

In the memo Freedman said he understands and respects Hance's wishes.

"Skip has done much to support the College's current programs and to provide for Dartmouth's continued strength," Freedman wrote. "Each of us has reason to be grateful for his exceptional contributions to Dartmouth."

Under Hance's stewardship, Dartmouth first broke the $50 million mark for total annual fund raising; received the largest gift in the College's history -- $30 million from John Berry '44 for the expansion of Baker Library -- and broke the previous year's record for raising four years in a row.

The achievement Hance is most proud of, however, is the current $425 million Will to Excel capital campaign, which he helped plan and has already raised about $262 million.

"I'm confident we'll make and exceed the $425 million goal," Hance said. "We're well ahead of schedule. We have three years to go."

Hance attributed the campaign's success and other accomplishments under his leadership to "the very strong college that Dartmouth is, ... President Freedman's vision, and the absolutely extraordinary support of the alumni and friends of the College, as well as the alumni volunteers and staff of the campaign."

Hance said the strength of his staff and the success of the campaign make this a good time for him to retire.

Hance is the second major official in the alumni fundraising office to leave the College this year, at the height of the capital campaign. He follows Young Dawkins, the former director of major gifts who left in March for Oberlin College in Gambier, Ohio.

Hance said the achievements were team efforts for which he takes no personal credit. "I'm glad to be part of the team," he said.

Hays also discussed Hance's commitment to teamwork. "He encourages people to share the responsibility and share the success," Director of Development John Hays said.

Hays said he believes Hance truly cares about what is best for Dartmouth, and this stems from the fact that he has devoted his life to education.

Director of Alumni Affairs Michael Choukas said he was stunned by the announcement, yet happy for Hance.

"He has done an outstanding job as vice president," Choukas said. "He is very much a guiding light."

Choukas said Hance's accomplishments in fundraising can be judged quantitatively, but "alumni relations are an intangible measure ... hard to put a finger on. The whole attitude of the alumni body of the College has greatly improved under his tenure."

Vice President and Treasurer Lyn Hutton said, "He has been a fantastic leader of an important organization. He is a highly regarded professional in the field of fund raising."

Hance said he will miss working with the administrators, staff and faculty and that he will remain in Hanover and continue to participate in many aspects of the College. "Therefore I won't miss much," he said. "I'm a Dartmouth alumnus and am very committed to staying up here in the Upper Valley."