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The Dartmouth
April 16, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth Dining supervisor Gordon Wright remembered for his care for others

Friends and students recalled Wright’s wit, generosity and extensive sports knowledge.

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Gordon Wright exemplified the women’s rugby team’s core value of “extrospection” —  defined as the examination or observation of what is outside oneself — according to Abbey Savin ’24. Savin said Wright’s ability to encourage “mutual investment in each other” made him a pillar of the Dartmouth community and a crucial support system to the team. 

“At Dartmouth, whether you’re an athlete or you’re in clubs, there’s always so much going on that it’s really easy to lose yourself in your own bubble,” Savin said. “[Wright] was a really good example to set for us to remember to be reflective on what’s going on with others.”

On Aug. 25, Wright died of a sudden aneurysm in his home while getting ready for work, according to Class of 1953 Commons supervisor and close friend of Wright’s Scott Jandreau. Wright lived in White River Junction and had worked at Dartmouth for 13 years as a Dartmouth Dining Services supervisor, Jandreau said. He leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Linda Wright, and their son, Nicholas Wright, according to his online obituary.

He was an avid sports fan and a dedicated father and husband, Jandreau said. He never called his son and wife by name, but by “my wife” and “my son,” because “they came first… [and] were on a pedestal” to Wright, according to Jandreau. 

Dartmouth Dining Services nutritionist Beth Rosenberger elaborated on Wright’s tender personality, calling him a “people person.” 

“His love of the students and always wanting to take care of everybody is always what stands out in my mind,” Rosenberger said. “He would always try to make students feel at home and comfortable.”

His commitment to students was expressed in his performance at work, Rosenberger added. While other shift supervisors typically write only a few sentences for their shift reports, Wright wrote an entire page for each, often reminding the other staffers of when ’53 Commons was hosting sports teams and what each team’s favorite food was. 

He remembered the “little details,” she said.

Wright closely followed all of the Dartmouth sports teams and loved to joke around with team members, Jandreau said. 

“There were times when [Wright] would talk to one of the men’s hockey players and say, ‘Listen, if you guys lose tonight, I don’t want to see you in here tomorrow because you’re not getting in,’” Jandreau recounted. 

Wright’s dedication to the sports teams is why the women’s rugby team gifted him a 2021 and 2022 championship ring, according to Josephine Harrison ’25. Wright often organized opening ’53 Commons early for the women’s rugby team during pre-season and made a point of having a relationship with every player, Harrison said. 

“He knew everyone, and he went out of his way to know everyone,” Harrison said. “Whether we were wearing rugby [merchandise] or not … he would know who we were, what position we played, some of our stats. He would always [say] ‘congrats on the game,’ and went out of his way to form a personal connection with everyone.” 

As a warm and supportive presence on campus, Wright helped Savin remember why she loves rugby, she said. 

“It’s easy when we spend 20, 25 hours a week working on [rugby], you sometimes get a little lost in it, and forget that it’s supposed to be fun, and that other people have fun watching us,” Savin said. 

Rosenberger said that he has thought at length about Wright’s presence as the school year gets underway. 

“The first couple weeks of school are really hard, and it’s super busy,” Rosenberger said. “Every day, in the past week, one of us has said, ‘Gordon is just looking down on us, laughing,’ because of something silly we did or didn’t do … He’s looking down, just saying, ‘told you so!’”

Dartmouth Dining concessions manager Matt Trombly said that when he was 16, he started working for Wright at McDonald’s in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Trombly said that Wright treated students and the people who worked for him like his own children.

“You looked up to him, and you could talk to him,” Trombly said. “He was very accessible … I’m not as social as him, so he would talk to every student and get to know their names, or forget their names but know where they were from or what teams they liked.”