Smith's College ties

by John Engelman | 4/6/07 5:00am

To the Editor:

I read with interest your editorial ("A Weak Consensus," March 30), in which you examined the policy positions and qualifications of the trustee candidates. All four candidates are people of significant accomplishments. However, let me suggest that there is a quality that I believe anyone who aspires to sit on the board should have -- a history of at least minimal engagement with the College as an alumnus/a.

Sandy Alderson '69, John Wolf '70 and Sherri Oberg '82 Tu'86 pass that test. On the other hand, Stephen Smith '88 has acknowledged that he has never served in any capacity as a volunteer for Dartmouth, his class or his local Dartmouth Club. After declaring his candidacy, I checked the Dartmouth College Fund website only to discover that he has not contributed to the DCF in the past four years. Checking further with volunteer leaders in his class and others, it appears that Smith has never once contributed to the DCF, or its predecessor, the Alumni Fund, or in fact, any other Dartmouth-affiliated activity. (The amount he may have contributed is irrelevant; it is participation that's important.) All this from a man who has written on his website, and in his initial letter seeking alumni support: "All that I have achieved -- all that I am -- the College made possible." Given his record, those words ring hollow.

Smith's engagement with the College as an alumnus isn't minimal; it is non-existent, and I believe that calls into serious question the appropriateness of his sitting on the Board of Trustees. I hope my fellow alumni will give this due consideration when marking their ballots this spring.