'Extremely generous' alumni giving helps fund new athletic facilities

by Kevin Liao | 11/26/07 2:19am

On Friday, Nov. 16, the official dedication for the Floren Varsity House took place in a packed Alumni Gym. The West Gym was filled with hundreds of student-athletes, eagerly awaiting the unveiling of Floren. Speakers at the ceremony included Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens, women's basketball coach Chris Wielgus and, representing student-athletes, baseball pitcher Russell Young '08. The festivities were capped with a brief film about the unparalleled nature of Dartmouth athletes and athletics.

After the ceremony, Floren was open for touring. Members of the athletic department staffing each of the areas were available to answer questions. Floren is located to the east of Memorial Field, overlooking the field and Red Rolfe Baseball Field. It features a 130-person "smart" classroom, the Seaver Peters Study Lounge, locker and training rooms, and a 10,000-square-foot strength training center to serve all of Dartmouth's 34 varsity sports, as well as office spaces for four Big Green varsity teams.

None of this would have been possible without a gift from Douglas C. Floren '63 and his family. The Floren family made a $10 million contribution to Dartmouth to support the construction of the state"of-the-art, $19.5 million Varsity House.

College President James Wright said he appreciated all the Floren family has done for the College.

"Dartmouth's outstanding scholar-athletes will benefit greatly from Doug Floren's generosity," Wright said. "Doug Floren and all members of the Floren family are wonderful friends to Dartmouth. It was a special treat to have all of them join us for the dedication of the Floren Varsity House. A gifted, three-sport Dartmouth athlete and captain of the tennis team, Doug has a special appreciation for athletics within the Ivy League value system."

Floren has also given gifts to the Alexis Boss Tennis Center and Alan D. Gordon Pavilion.

Floren is the co-founder and managing partner of DCF Capital, a hedge fund based in Greenwich, Conn. His wife, Livvy, is a Republican state representative in Connecticut whose district includes Greenwich and Stamford. The couple has four children -- Jennifer '93, Melissa, David '01 and Clay. Doug Floren received his AB from Dartmouth in economics.

Athletics Director Josie Harper was very pleased with the Florens' leadership in giving to the College.

"The Floren family has been extremely generous to athletics and the College as a whole," Harper said. "We have a very generous group of alumni interested in athletics. For the new Varsity House, besides the Florens' lead gift, we received plenty of contributions, from upwards of several million down to $25,000."

In addition to their support of Dartmouth athletics, the Florens have provided funding in the arts and sciences to benefit faculty and students. They have endowed a fellowship in the biological sciences to encourage recently tenured faculty to promote curricular innovation and effective teaching.

They have also established an endowment in the biological sciences to help underwrite the costs of student research projects. As a volunteer, Doug Floren has served on the Leadership Committee during the Campaign for Dartmouth, on the Reunion Giving Committee, and as a class agent for seven years.

"Once again, Doug has addressed a College priority by providing funding for another valuable resource for our coaches and athletes with this tremendous gift to the Varsity House," Wright said. "The Floren Varsity House will ensure that our scholar-athletes have a space that enables teaching and learning as well as training -- this is a wonderful gift that will benefit generations of Dartmouth students."

The family has made grants to numerous educational and human services organizations through the Floren Family Foundation, including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Greenwich Country Day School. The Florens are also active in the community, supporting organizations such as United Way of Greenwich, Greenwich Hospital, and Greenwich Adult Day Care. Livvy Floren serves on a number of boards, including Community Centers, Inc., and Boys and Girls State Commission. She is also a trustee of the Air Conservation Trust.

"The new Varsity House symbolizes Dartmouth's strong commitment to intercollegiate sports and our 900 varsity student-athletes," Harper said. "Our coaches do a great deal of teaching, and the new classrooms will make that even more effective. The facility will also create a terrific strength-training environment for all our varsity teams, moving us to the forefront of the Ivy League. For our football program in particular, the new locker room, training room, and offices, along with the new playing surface on Memorial Field, will provide a first-class set of facilities." Harper also emphasized the recruiting advantage the Varsity House would enable.

Dartmouth has made significant improvements to its athletic facilities in the past seven years with the addition of Scully-Fahey Field (through gifts by Don Scully '49 and Peter Fahey '68), Boss Tennis Center and Gordon Pavilion, Burham Soccer Field (through a gift by Stan Smoyer '34), Blackman Football Practice Fields, and the McLane Family Skiway Lodge (through a gift by P. Andrews McLane '69), along with substantial renovations to Berry Sports Center (through a gift by John Berry '44), the golf course, and Leverone Field House.

The Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse and fields were dedicated in September of 2005, and the $12 million Alumni Gymnasium renovation was recently completed. The new 14,000-square-foot fitness center, more than three times the size of the College's previous facility, opened on the upper floor of Alumni Gym in April 2006. It is the largest centralized fitness area in the Ivy League. Other Alumni Gym improvements include new and larger spaces for fitness and recreation for the entire campus community, air-quality upgrades to the Karl Michael Pool, better accessibility through a new entrance and elevator and upgraded coaches' offices.

The Dartmouth College Development Office's Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience program regularly receives such contributions that benefit athletics.

"As of October 31 of this year, $4.7 million in gifts have come in directed to Athletics Endowments in this campaign," said Beth Boyle, assistant to the vice president for development. "Alumni often support specific sports teams via the Friends program, like Friends of Football, Friends of Women's Hockey, etc."

Dartmouth's alumni community Dartmouth is known for its devotion to the College. According to U.S. News & World Report, Dartmouth was ranked second only to Princeton University in the U.S. for alumni donation rates in 2007. So far, Dartmouth has graduated 237 classes of students and has over 60,000 living alumni.