Hansen: A Beginning, Middle and End

by H. Roger Hansen | 6/13/15 5:40am

This weekend the great Class of 1965 celebrates its 50th Reunion. The Commencement ceremony held in the Leverone Fieldhouse on that rainy Sunday in June of 1965 was the beginning of our voyage as alumni into the adult world of military service, employment, graduate school and many other sorts of adventures, including a contingent who paddled and photographed their way around seas and rivers of the world.

The grandfather of one of our classmates was a member of the Class of 1915. They marched into graduation with us and gave each of us a copy of “The College on the Hill: A Dartmouth Chronicle,” by Ralph Nading Hill ’39. I continue to enjoy consulting it when questions about College history arise.

A member of our class recalls that at our graduation, the president of the Class of 1915 spoke of the fact that we might think a class that sent many into World War One would be viewed as ancient history. To drive home his point, he noted that at his graduation a member of the Class of 1865 spoke of his many classmates who fought in the Civil War. And so it goes that each generation confronts different challenges and opportunities. In the case of we ’65s, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and the Kennedy/King/Kennedy assassinations shaped our experience and world view.

As the 50th Reunion Class, we look forward to marching into Commencement with the graduating seniors. We first became acquainted with the members of the Class of 2015 at their Matriculation Ceremony in September of 2011, where we presented them with their class pins. That winter a copy of “Passion for Skiing,” a book written and published as a Class of 1965 project, was given to the ’15s.

The Class Connections program has continued with a good many ’15s joining us for our class breakfasts at Everything But Anchovies, the Etiquette dinner and participation in the senior ring ceremony. A few of us had the opportunity to join some ’15s at Rauner Library for a discussion of graduation traditions and enjoyed toasting the seniors at the Daniel Webster dinner. Our classes will be having lunch together on Friday. These opportunities to converse with the students have been informative, enjoyable and heartening.

Each class has its own personality, formed by the individuals and circumstances coming together over time. Opportunities for fellowship with classmates and their families have occurred not only at the major reunions every five years, but also at mini reunions each year, in and out of Hanover. We have contributed time, talent and treasure toward several class projects.

We felt it important to fund four Class of 1965 Scholarships, such that one student in each class would be a recipient. When Webster Hall, the College Theater, was renovated to the Rauner Library, we sponsored the conversion of the balcony to a study area. In the past eight years classmates contributed to the writing and publishing of “Passion for Skiing” and the follow-up film, “Passion for Snow,” chronicling the College’s role in the development of skiing in the United States. Most recently we contributed both financially and with sweat equity to the construction of a new Class of 1965 Bunkhouse at Mt. Moosilauke. These projects excited both classmates who were the usual suspects as well as those who might otherwise have found little to fuel their passions for the College in other ways.

An overarching theme is that each of us as individuals or as members of a class have a beginning, a middle and an end.

The College is an enduring institution for which the passage of time brings ongoing renewal, innovation and hope. This notion adds value to our efforts as alumni on many levels.

Roger Hansen is the Class of 1965 president.