New Tucker dean hopes to expand outreach

by Kathleen McDermott | 9/22/00 5:00am

Stuart Lord, newly appointed dean of the Tucker Foundation and associate provost, had always thought he would become a pastor.

Growing up in New Rochelle, N.Y., with his parents, teachers and church always there to inspire, encourage, and challenge him, Lord wanted to model the way for others.

Yet after graduating from Texas Christian University and receiving degrees from the Princeton Theological Seminary, he said he asked himself, "When did I grow the most? When was I challenged the most, intellectually and spiritually? When did my world view change? At college."

And thus, he has found himself working in higher education -- and loving every minute of it. "That's why I'm usually here till midnight. I'm excited about what I do. I don't even look at it as a job -- work is fun, what I do here is fun, why stop doing it?" Lord said.

In his work at the Tucker Foundation, he hopes to see students tap into their passions, connect with the community and have their lives changed.

At DePauw University and through a multitude of other community and national organizations, he has seen thousands of students undergo this process, and he said he is "hoping to have the opportunity to see thousands more" here at Dartmouth.

Before coming to Dartmouth this August, he served as executive director for the Grover L. Hartman Center for Civic Education and Leadership and associate dean at DePauw University, where he increased student involvement in community service from 35 percent to 87 percent, along with creating a $5 million dollar endowment for the Hartman Center.

In addition, Lord has served as Executive Director of the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, president of the National Association for University College Chaplains and a liaison for the Points of Light Foundation.

He has written extensively on volunteerism, theology and multiculturalism, as well as co-edited "Common Good, Common Ground: Building Commitment & Community."

Lord said he wasn't even looking for a job when he heard of the Tucker opening. But upon hearing of the Tucker Foundation's 50-year history, the excellent work it had done and the way in which it allowed students to follow their passions, his interest rose.

The foundation is a model for higher education in helping students tap into their passions, connect with the community, and even turn around their lives, Lord said.

Yet, the foundation has yet to reach out to every student -- something which Lord sees as his challenge and privilege to change.

In his role as dean of the Tucker Foundation, he will create opportunities for students through service, leadership and reflection.

Lord said he doesn't view the Tucker Foundation's role as "People are going to do community service," or "Do you want to be a Big Brother?" but rather, "What's your passion?" and "Do you care about young people?"

"If you connect people with their passion, they continue to do it. If not, they'll quit, because service is hard. It's a commitment, a life-style, a choice, part of what it means to be actively engaged in a community."

Lord said he plans to make connections with organizations on campus with similar missions and visions on civic responsibly. "We're going to see a lot more connections, cosponsoring initiatives, greater assistance to groups doing service projects," Lord said.

He said he hopes to enhance the climate in which groups on campus interact and help break down stereotypes.

Lord plans to add many new programs, including international group service trips and student leadership programs such as courses, seminars and retreats.

He hopes to make the Foundation open to more students -- the Tucker Foundation is now open until midnight, with an office devoted specifically to student programs.

And with stronger connections to the dorms and other residences -- through a new 'Tucker Ambassadors' program -- Lord wants to reach out to even more students.

More day-long service events, similar to DarCorps, will be planned, as well as stronger connections with the campus ministries.

"Ultimately, all students will have an opportunity to do service for the common good -- it's now at 40 or 50 percent, not enough," Lord said.

"If you can get one of the greatest educations in the world, what are you going to do with that to make the world a better place? Everyone should wrestle with that question," Lord said.

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