Joe Asch ’79 deceased at 60

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 10/9/18 1:46pm

Updated 10/10/18 at 6:54 a.m.

Joseph Asch ’79, a vocal commentator on the College through the website Dartblog, died Tuesday morning. He was 60.

The police are currently investigating the death after responding to a medical call yesterday morning, finding Asch unconscious in his home. Hanover Police Department captain Mark Bodanza declined to confirm the cause of death.

Around noon on Tuesday, a piece was posted to Dartblog titled “Joseph Asch (1957-2018) R.I.P.” under Asch’s byline. The Dartblog post was removed shortly after 12:30 p.m.

"Like so many Dartmouth alumni, Joe Asch ’79 was passionate about the College he loved dearly," College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email statement. "He will be remembered for his unique commitment to Dartmouth, and his efforts to see it recognized as a special academic institution. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

After graduating from the College, Asch attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1983, and then briefly worked for Bain and Co. Following a short run with the consulting company, Asch settled abroad formed a Europe-based paramedical supply company. After returning to the United States, Asch invested in and eventually managed the River Valley Club, a health and fitness club in Lebanon.

Asch's involvement with the College renewed in 1998 when he formed the Departmental Editing Program, which he created and personally funded to improve student writing. The program paired professional editors with students in the art history, mathematics and religion departments, though it was discontinued in 2007. Asch began contributing columns to The Dartmouth as early as 2001 and also audited classes at the College, a practice he continued regularly until his death.

Asch continued to be involved with the College by taking up blogging on Dartblog, founded by Joe Malchow '08 in 2004. Asch, who began contributing to Dartblog in August 2009, used the platform to offer criticism of the College's leadership, budget, politics and other topics. He frequently railed against College administrators, including current College President Phil Hanlon, and spoke out against what he saw as inefficient spending of the College's resources. While his posts attracted many admirers, others were more critical of his perspectives.

Asch, who critiqued actions of Dartmouth's Board of Trustees to increase its number of board-selected members, ran for a position on the board in 2010. Originally running as a write-in candidate, Asch eventually garnered enough positions to get on the voting ballot. Though Asch ultimately lost the election and temporarily stopped posting to Dartblog, he eventually returned to the blog.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

A full obituary will be published in the near future. If you would like to share a memory, please contact editor@thedartmouth.com.

Counseling resources for students, faculty and staff are available through the Office of Counseling and Human Development, the College chaplain's office, the dean on call and the Faculty/Employee Assistance Program. Assistance can be obtained by calling Safety and Security at 603-646-4000.