Trustees, faculty and alumni attend Presidential Summit

by Autumn Dinh | 9/26/17 2:05am

From Sept. 14 to Sept. 17, Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees had their quarterly meeting on campus contemporaneously with the annual Class Officers Weekend and a Presidential Summit meeting.

Topics discussed at the Board of Trustees meetings ranged from the new directors of the Irving Institute and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center to the Task Force on Undergraduate Enrollment Scale. Other agenda items presented included student housing and construction projects such as building a facility for the Irving Institute and razing Gilman Hall. The meeting also honored faculty who had won external awards. Over the weekend, trustees also attended meetings at the Presidential Summit, an alumni leadership event created to discuss ideas and opportunities for Dartmouth’s progress.

According to an email from College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, the summit was “a private gathering of trustees, school overseers, academic leadership, faculty, and a small group of alumni and parents to discuss ideas and opportunities for advancing Dartmouth.” The summit also introduced an upcoming capital campaign, although no funds were solicited at it, according to Lawrence. Several tents were set up on Baker-Berry Library lawn for the summit participants.

The College’s most recent capital campaign, which ran from 2002 to 2009 under the tenures of then-College Presidents James Wright and Jim Yong Kim, raised $1.3 billion. According to a College press release from 2010, the funds endowed professorships, increased undergraduate scholarships and contributed to the cost of building 18 new facilities.

The summit, titled “Presidential Summit: The Call to Lead,” featured a keynote address from College President Phil Hanlon and panels with speakers including Irving Institute director Elizabeth Wilson, NCCC director Steven Leach and Dartmouth-Hitchcock chief executive officer and president Joanne Conroy ’77.

Chair of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees Laurel Richie ’81 said that she was impressed with the discussion and interaction with faculty members and by their preparation.

Richie said that adding value to the College through promoting core qualities, such as the liberal arts education and the scholar teacher model, is one of the primary purposes of the Board meeting.

“We make sure that work that gets done on campus and scholarship by faculty and students can have an impact on the world,” she said.

Richie, who was elected to her current position last November, said her prior experience, such as serving as president of the Women’s National Basketball Association, gave her the opportunity to contribute more to Dartmouth than she would have otherwise.

In parallel with the trustees meeting, the Class Officers Weekend took place on Sept. 15 and 16. The annual weekend was an opportunity for Dartmouth’s volunteer class leaders to get together and share their experiences, celebrate the classes’ achievements and get energized for the upcoming year, master of ceremonies and Class of 2009 president Andrew Son ’09 said.

Son said there were three aspects that stood out this year: a trustee panel, a student panel and the new venue.

Firstly, three trustees, Morton Kondracke ’60, R. William Burgess ’81 and S. Caroline Kerr ’05, participated in a panel for Class Officers Weekend attendees, Son said.

During the trustee panel, the participating members talked about their views on Dartmouth’s sense of place, the liberal arts and preparing students to be leaders in the outside world.

“What stood out to me was how open the trustees were — open to sharing their vision for Dartmouth and open to listening to feedback from the class officers in attendance,” Son said. “We got to know what and where [was] going on, and how our class project is meaningful for the school. The alumni are willing to give funds for the projects if they’re aware of what is going on.” Another event was a student panel, in which current and recently graduated students reflected on how gifts from Dartmouth’s classes and class projects had affected the student body’s lives.

The venue for some of the main events was a tent outside of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center instead of the Alumni Gym, Son said.

When asked about his role as MC, Son said he enjoyed the opportunity to speak with leaders in the Dartmouth community.

“As a member of one of Dartmouth’s younger alumni classes, it was an honor to address volunteer leaders, many of whom have served Dartmouth for decades,” Son said.

To Son and other class officers, Class Officers Weekend is an opportunity to bring classmates together.

“I love coming back to campus every year,” Son said. “I love walking around campus and seeing what’s changed from the previous, from new art installations to buildings. It’s also fun to walk around and realize what little has changed. I’ve been out for eight years, but I still feel like I’m a student when I’m walking around campus.”