Small mob damages town
Dartmouth put on a festive show this weekend for her alumni and students, starting with a parade through Hanover and the traditional bonfire in the Green and ending with a resounding football victory on Saturday over Harvard.
Students, alumni, friends and well-wishers gathered along Lebanon Street and South Main Street Friday evening at dusk to watch as floats guided more than 50 alumni classes to the front of Dartmouth Hall.
A single member of the Class of 1932 rode in a red convertible at the head of the parade. At the end, hundreds of freshman marched behind their class banner. Some tore up street signs and stripped the jackets off police officers in the excitement.
At Alumni Gymnasium, where the parade began, long-lost friends greeted each other sporting their Dartmouth Green while holding buttons, banners or signs with their class years.
Bands from Green Mountain High School, Lyme Town High School and Lebanon High School joined the Dartmouth College Marching Band in the parade.
At Dartmouth Hall, the College's marching band played "As the Backs Go Tearing By" and "Glory to Dartmouth" while students and alumni sang along.
The master of ceremonies, Michael McGean '49, a former secretary of the College, greeted the enthusiastic crowd, saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, if you like tradition, you are in the right place!"
A series of speeches in front of Dartmouth Hall raised the crowd's spirits for a weekend of athletic competition against Harvard University.
President James Freedman said homecoming is a celebration of community and aspiration.
"Our presence here tonight speaks of a loyalty to this place and to this college. As we go forward together in the years ahead, our challenge is to build an even better and an even stronger Dartmouth," Freedman said.
Following the president's speech, coaches and senior athletes addressed the crowd.
Cathy Birkeland '94, the women's tennis team captain, said there are special bonds that form between team members on varsity sports teams.
She also said teams create an important sense of school pride and class spirit.
Julie Dayton, the women's field hockey coach, tested that spirit later when she asked the crowd, "What's your favorite color?"
And of course the response was "Green!"
Following the speeches, the Glee Club sang the Alma Mater. The marching band then led the spectators to the center of the Green for the bonfire.
As the torches struck the bonfire ablaze, members of Dartmouth's youngest class began to run around the 67-tier bonfire.
For many years, the bonfire was as many tiers high as the freshman class year. This year, several tradition-conscious freshmen added 30 tiers of tongue depressers to the top of the fire to make it 97 tiers high, organizer Tony Lee '94 said.
Pamela Saunders '97, the freshman class president, said she was pleased with the evening.
"The sweep and the bonfire went incredibly well. Everyone enjoyed themselves," she said.
Brendan Doherty '96, the sophomore class president, said Dartmouth Night "gave me the feeling that I am part of something bigger, something special, and that something is the Dartmouth family."
On Saturday, more than 11,030 students and alumni attended the football game, which Dartmouth won 39-35.
Alumni made their presence known at a series of receptions and meetings across campus.
"Homecoming weekend is when most alumni classes hold their business meetings. It's also when fraternities and sororities have their alumni meetings and receptions," said Burgie Howard, the associate director of alumni affairs.
In front of Alumni Gymnasium, raucous music blared from a Young Alumni tent pitched for classes from 1984 to 1993.
The special tent for more recent graduates "was just so they could have a place to themselves, something a little more immediate, a little more fun," Howard said.
After the football game, the Classes of 1972 to 1983 held a reception at the Top of the Hop in the Hopkins Center.
Since younger alumni often have small children, their gatherings are generally more family-oriented, Howard said.
The Class of 1977, for example, held a Halloween party especially for children of classmates.
Alumni also challenged students on the playing field. From field hockey to lacrosse, alumni teams played the B-teams of various varsity sports.
Sunday morning, the men's soccer B-team defeated an alumni team 7-2 in the cold, wet weather after a night of soggy snow.
Dartmouth's most recent celebrity graduate, Andrew Shue '89, who now stars in the television show "Melrose Place," played in the game.
"He was a real nice guy. He played very well," said R. J. Sheedy '97, who played opposite Shue.
Staff Writer Mercedes Lopez contributed to this article.