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The Dartmouth
February 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Alumni Council seeks to fill open trustee seat

This weekend, the Alumni Council's Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee will interview four potential nominees to fill the Board of Trustees seat vacated by Peter Robinson '79, according to Nominating Committee Chair Pete Frederick '65. The committee is seeking an alumnus who has demonstrated "fierce loyalty" to the College and high achievement in his or her field, among other factors, Frederick said.

After the alumni body selects a nominee via an election, the nomination is sent to the Board of Trustees for final approval. The newly chosen trustee will replace Robinson in June 2013.

Robinson, who ran as a petition candidate without the Council's nomination, joined the Board in 2005 and will complete his second four-year term as a trustee next year.

The 10-member group underwent an "arduous process" of evaluating the profiles of several hundred prospective nominees, according to Nominating Committee member Bob Charles '87. The sheer number of potential nominees makes for an impressive competition, he said.

On Nov. 2, the committee will recommend a single name to the Alumni Council based on the weekend's interviews, and the full 125-member Council will vote to approve him or her as the Alumni Council candidate, Frederick said.

Following the Alumni Council's nomination, others interested in the seat will have a 60-day period during which they can file petitions to run in the election. The election will take place between Feb. 12 and March 12, according to Frederick.

Any alumnus can vote in the election, which will include the candidate nominated by the Alumni Council and any additional petition candidates who choose to run.

Four petition candidates, including Robinson, won their campaigns between 2004 and 2007. Frederick said that the Alumni Council's nominee often wins because the Council selects highly qualified candidates.

"Our committee spends almost a year preparing for this nomination and doing research," Frederick said. "Not to take anything away from the petition candidates, but it's hard to run against Superman, and we have a whole group of alumni [from which] to select. Because of the process we follow, we find some very, very good people."

The Nominating Committee began discussing potential candidates in November 2011, Frederick said. Since then, the committee has asked alumni to submit names, sifted through submissions from previous years, spoken with current trustees and contacted members of the College administration for their input.

The committee reviewed approximately 250 candidates after the first round of nominations, according to Alumni Council President Marty Lempres '84.

From this initial list, potential nominees were evaluated on various criteria. Most importantly, nominees must be highly interested in the College, demonstrating "energy and passion" for Dartmouth through constant commitment, Lempres said.

Charles said that the committee values and considers candidates' diversity in backgrounds and fields of expertise in the nomination process.

Nominating Committee member Missy Attridge '77 emphasized the importance of previous experience on a board.

"That demonstrates that you can work well with the group that you're stepping into," Attridge said.

Lempres said that a candidate should also possess "critical thinking skills, effective communication skills and the ability to bring a new perspective to the group of existing members of the Board."

The Board is composed of eight alumni trustees, who are elected by the alumni body, and 16 charter trustees, who are appointed by the Board. The Board's 2007 decision to increase the number of Board-selected trustees from eight to 16 was controversial, sparking two lawsuits by disgruntled alumni who believed that an 1891 Board resolution legally required parity between the Board-selected and alumni-elected trustees.