Dentzer elected Chair of Trustees

by Will Meland | 6/27/01 5:00am

The third women ever appointed to the Board of Trustees, Susan Dentzer '77 moved up in rank at the Board's last meeting to become the first female Chair. Dentzer replaced William H. King Jr. '63 as he completed his second five-year term.

Dentzer said she and the Board hope to see "the fruits of the Student Life Initiative continue to develop," and that her leadership would be a smooth continuation of the Board's previous direction.

Dentzer was first elected to the Board in 1993. She is currently a health commentator on PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" and lives with her husband and two sons in Maryland.

The Board Chair is elected by a unanimous resolution of the current members.

Also at the Board's June 10 meeting, Pamela Joyner '79 was newly appointed to the Board, bringing the total number of women on the Board to five out of a total of 15, including New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

Joyner's appointment to the Board was "really an achievement," said Dentzer, "in terms of fundamental change in the makeup of the board over the last 25 years."

"It should be said that the Board is reflective of not only the College but also society," she continued.

Dentzer urged patience with the continued implementation of the Student Life Initiative, stressing its long-term schedule.

"Keep in mind that when the Board adopted its final [documents] on the SLI ... Some things were on a 5-year track, and some were on a 10-year track," she said.

Also, some parts of the SLI literature are not considered "final draft," Dentzer said, but merely represent the wishes of the Board as a starting point to be reworked by outside committees.

"When we came up with the World Cultures Initiative ... no one came up with [the name] because we were proud of it," she said. "It was to be seen as a web, embracing diversity at the College ... not [something cold] like the UN."

"The reason that we launched the SLI process in the first place was [because] we did not think the social and extracurricular experience at Dartmouth was as good as it could be," Dentzer said. "We thought the academic experience at Dartmouth was superb, but the social and extracurricular [were not]."

Trustees are also pondering "what we need to do on the academic front in terms of facilities ... what we're going to build," said Dentzer, as they "Get on the table in front of us the full dimension of those needs and set priorities."

But for more day-to-day issues, such as the recent friction between the Office of Residential Life and Dartmouth's fraternities, sororities and undergraduate societies, Dentzer expressed total faith in College administrators to handle operations without Trustee involvement.

"For things like this ... that's not why the Board exists," she said. "We don't exist to second-guess the officers of the College."

Dentzer is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth, one from Dartmouth and one from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio.

New Board member Joyner replaces Barry L. MacLean '60 on the Board. MacLean had fulfilled his maximum of two five-year terms on the Board. Dentzer's term runs through the year 2003.

Regarding who decides the agenda of Board meetings, Dentzer said, "Our Board works very closely with the president." Other times, the agenda "very much bubbles up from the Board members themselves," she said.