Horizons brings friends to Hanover

by Jay Krehbiel | 11/20/98 6:00am

Two to three times a year, the College gathers prominent alumni, parents and other friends of Dartmouth in Hanover to encourage them to get involved with the College.

In 1962, the College established the Horizons program with the goal of broadening the guests' understanding of a modern liberal arts education. Groups of 30 to 40 come to campus for three days to experience a broad variety of what the College has to offer.

The program, which has remained almost unchanged over its 36-year life span, brings guests to Hanover on a Thursday evening and entertains them with events through Saturday. The visitors stay as guests of the College at the Hanover Inn.

Guests are shown almost every facet of the Dartmouth experience -- from touring the Hood Museum to meeting with the manager of the Dartmouth Outing Club, to reviewing the admissions process with Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg.

Despite common misconceptions, the weekend is not designed as a fundraising event. The program makes a point of not discussing fundraising, but instead tries to encourage interest and involvement with the Dartmouth community.

If a guest asks questions about the status of fundraising for specific events, the organizers tell speakers to answer honestly, but Horizons is not a capital campaign, Director of Public Programs Ann Malenka told The Dartmouth.

At every stop, guests consort with administrators who discuss ongoing projects and goals for the College. In addition, the Office of Public Programs tries to bring students into the discussions as often as possible.

Students give the guests a unique perspective on the events happening on campus, Malenka said. "It's something the alumni really enjoy."

At the most recently scheduled Horizon program two weeks ago, three students talked to a visiting group about their work as interns at the Dickey Center for International Understanding. The students were chosen to speak by Director of the Dickey Center Michael Mastanduno, who also gave a presentation.

Students are always on campus when the programs are held and speak on a variety of topics throughout the different sessions. "Every time, the students are so impressive, and the adults learn so much from what the students have to say," Director of Principal Giving Lucretia Martin said.

Currently, each group that comes to the College receives a presentation from one of the three professional schools because time constraints prevent attending sessions on each school. Martin said having such a session for each school would be beneficial, because it would tie together the goals of the entire campus.

The newest addition to the schedule allows guests to sit in on a class of their choosing, complementing discussions with faculty about teaching and research.

At the end of the program, the guests spend an hour with College President James Wright, where they are free to ask him any question they want answered.

After the guests leave Hanover, they are asked to return a survey about the weekend and to make recommendations or suggestions about things they learned during their visit.

Martin said the guests always write back how much they enjoyed their visit and how they "really feel connected."

To be invited to the Horizons program, guests are first nominated by members of the development staff, who look for people who could benefit the College with their experience or previous involvement in higher education.

All the nominees are reviewed by a committee from the Development Office, and those chosen are sent invitations from the Office of the President, with a cover letter from the vice president of development and alumni relations.