Alumni elected new charter trustees

by Amelia Acosta | 7/5/12 10:00pm

From the basketball court to the boardroom, Dartmouth's two newest charter trustees, Laurel Richie '81 and David Hodgson '78, both come from a wealth of experience in the corporate world and beyond. The Board of Trustees elected Richie, president of the Women's National Basketball Association, and Hodgson, the managing director of global growth equity investment firm General Atlantic, at its spring meeting on June 8.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in policy studies, Richie headed to international advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather, where she worked for nearly 20 years. Before being named to the top job at the WNBA, she worked as senior vice president of Girl Scouts of the USA. Richie continues to work with Ogilvy and Mather's Diversity Advisory Board, of which she is a founding member.

The Network Journal named Richie one of the 25 most influential women in business in 2011, and she is a recipient of Ebony Magazine's Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications award. Although she has never played basketball herself, she has a background in synchronized swimming and cheerleading and was involved in theater and the marching band during her time at the College.

Hodgson, who has worked at General Atlantic since 1982, graduated from Dartmouth Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in mathematics and social sciences. He completed his MBA at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

He has a daughter, Nora Hodgson '13, at the College, and his son will be a member of the Class of 2016.

During his time as an undergraduate, Hodgson was a member of the Dartmouth Outing Club and served as treasurer of Psi Upsilon fraternity. He worked as a teacher's assistant in a sociology lab and remained involved with College alumni after graduation through the Dartmouth Club of New York.

Receiving a nomination as a trustee was a "tremendous honor," according to Hodgson.

He hopes to be able to use his experience as a trustee at John Hopkins University School of Medicine to strengthen relationships between the Geisel School of Medicine and the College, he said.

"A lot of undergraduates are interested in health care, especially now that issues of health care delivery have come to the forefront," Hodgson said. "It would be great if undergraduate students could have the opportunity to learn about health care earlier and maybe even have more opportunities through the Center for Health Care Delivery Science."

In addition to strengthening relationships between the College's undergraduate and professional programs, Hodgson said he has several other priorities for Dartmouth as he joins the Board.

"The first task is that we have to search for a new president," he said. "I think we now know what a huge difference leadership makes."

The Board will also focus on recruiting and retaining the best faculty members and addressing student life issues, Hodgson said.

"I think the challenges at Dartmouth are common across all colleges," he said. "Sometimes people single out Dartmouth when it comes to criticism of the Greek system and drinking. We have to have the guts to be leaders in coming up with solutions to these problems."

Hodgson said that students who are not involved in the Greek system need more options on campus to prevent them from feeling "marginalized."

Health services on campus will be another of his priorities as a Board member, according to Hodgson.

"The important thing is that it's a resource that students feel like they can go to," he said. "Maybe we need to think about ways that students use health services and make sure that we are reaching out to students so they know when to seek help. The College has done a good job educating students with alcohol issues, and maybe they could do more for students with friends with mental health issues. Dartmouth needs to make sure students know when to seek help or understand what a friend is going through."

Hodgson is generally positive about the Board's performance in the past, citing its role in "overseeing the administration" and handling the College's budget problems in 2008.

With several new building projects already underway, Hodgson spoke highly of the Board's work in developing the physical layout of campus.

"I was very impressed by the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center," he said. "It's a bit of a hoof from the center of campus, but I wouldn't be surprised if you see more of the campus academic life moving further from the Green and towards the Life Sciences Center. Now that this is a part of campus, there needs to be more discussion about whether other buildings in that area should be renovated."

In order to make an impact on student life issues, the Board's connection with students and campus groups will need to be less informal and more regular, according to Hodgson. He cited Greek leadership as among those groups who would be helpful in establishing connections for campus change.

Hodgson, who is currently chair of the board of Echoing Green, which provides technical and monetary support to social entrepreneurs nationwide, said he also hopes he can bring some of his experience working with nonprofit groups to help foster "social enterprise" among undergraduates at Dartmouth.

Richie could not be reached for comment by press time.

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