Million dollar donor discusses College years
The recent $1 million gift by Roger Klorese '77 and his partner David Haney shows how profoundly the "Dartmouth Experience" affects the lives of some students and their loved ones -- even when their experiences were less than entirely positive at the time.
Klorese and Haney gave the money to support Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Programming. Klorese, a software strategist, said that he has been "very lucky and blessed with success, personally and financially."
He said he believes "strongly that this success was intended for him to make a difference in people's lives." He said that he wanted do something to enrich the Dartmouth community.
If Klorese had $1 million to work with when he was a student, he said he knows exactly what he could have done to make things better. However, he said "what would have been right 30 years ago is not necessarily right for today."
Klorese said he doesn't want his and Haney's name "slapped on a building" nor "a permanent monument dedicated to [himself and Haney.]"
He hopes that students, faculty and the administration will collaborate in order to decide how the money can be best used.
Klorese came to Dartmouth at a time of great change in the College's history. In 1977, women had only been on campus for two years. With the introduction of coeducation and year-round operation, "the atmosphere was made more tense."
According to Klorese "Dartmouth was trying to figure out diversity and that made many people uncomfortable."
As a gay and Jewish student, Klorese definitely felt the tension on campus, he said, but admitted that his years at Dartmouth "were not a terrible time." He said he often felt more closeted than he wanted to be, but that people around him felt he was extremely open.
As a member of Phi Tau fraternity and active in many campus arenas, including writing for The Dartmouth, Klorese had many social connections that may have helped shield him the full force of campus homophobia.
Coming from the liberal atmosphere of New York City in the '70s, where Greenwich Village provided a safe space for personal development, Klorese said he felt that Dartmouth was backward and somewhat confining.
Klorese and his friends used to joke about how "Dartmouth was 'centrally located' because it was the middle of nowhere.
There were not many resources available to him on campus, he said, but he remembers the personal support he received from English professor Peter Saccio.
Klorese remembers that during his time at Dartmouth there were many "challenges to its standard of maleness," referring to both himself as a gay student and the small number of women who were "welcomed" on campus. The circumstances in which coeducation was introduced were positive, but "very artificial," he said.
Fitting in at Dartmouth was an "uphill battle," but many good things have happened since his time here, Klorese said. He also realizes that more needs to be done, as is evident by his generous gift.
Klorese said that he was happy about the timing of his gift in connection to the Student Life Initiative, which he feels is a positive development.
About the SLI, he said, "as with all good things, there are going to be wrinkles and adjustments that have to be made." He said that ultimately "caring about the students' whole life experience is something the College has to do."