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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

A look back on news for the Class of 2024

The Class of 2024 experienced a tumultuous four years at Dartmouth — marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 student deaths and the inauguration of Sian Leah Beilock, the College’s first female President.

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This article is featured in the 2024 Commencement & Reunions special issue.

As the Class of 2024 prepares to graduate, The Dartmouth looks back at the biggest news stories from their four years at the College.

2020-2021

The Class of 2024 arrived at Dartmouth during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020 — about two weeks before officials released regular admissions decisions — the College moved to remote classes for the remainder of the academic year. While high school seniors typically worry about course selection and their freshman year roommates, the incoming Class of 2024 faced uncertainty of an even greater degree: would they be allowed on campus at all?

In August, the College announced that it would reopen campus to half of the undergraduate student body for the upcoming fall term. Nonetheless, several students opted to delay their arrival in Hanover. Prior to matriculation, 172 accepted students — or 14.9% of the Class of 2024 — opted to defer their enrollment for one year, up from an annual average of 30 to 40 gap year students.

Due to the pandemic, the College canceled First Year Trips for the Class of 2024. Instead, the Dartmouth Outing Club and upperclassmen Orientation Peer Leaders hosted virtual activities to welcome the freshmen. Fall term classes continued to operate online.

Students arriving on campus for fall term tested for COVID-19 and quarantined in their residence halls for two weeks upon arrival. During the quarantine period, students received their meals by delivery to their common rooms or via pick up from outdoor tents.

During fall term, 86 students were removed from campus for violating COVID-19 policies including quarantine, testing and large gathering rules. The College — which did not disclose the extent of removals until the end of the term — received backlash from students and parents for initially withholding the number of students sent home.

In late September 2020, Dartmouth Dining reopened the Class of 1953 Commons, Collis Cafe, Novack Cafe, Ramekin Cafe and Collis Market for in-house dining with social distancing restrictions, such as spacing tables six feet apart and staggering student entrances into facilities. 

The College then hosted, for the first and only time, a virtual Homecoming in October. Programming included an asynchronous adaptation of the parade and bonfire, a Q&A with student-athletes and virtual lectures from professors. 

In November, former vice president Joe Biden won the presidential election, defeating President Donald Trump. Biden received 86.6% of the votes from Hanover. In a pre-election survey by The Dartmouth, 82% of students said they planned to vote for Biden. 

After the College cut five athletic teams in July 2020 due to admissions and budgetary concerns, Dartmouth reinstated all of them — men’s and women’s golf, men’s lightweight rowing and men’s and women’s swimming and diving — in January to comply with Title IX regulations. 

Also in January, the College completed renovations on Reed Hall and Baker-Berry Library and announced renovations on Dartmouth Hall to begin later that month. The College stated in February that the Hopkins Center for the Arts would undergo a multi-year expansion, which remains ongoing

In May, students gathered for two separate vigils on the Green — one spontaneous, another organized — to mourn the deaths of four undergraduate students: Beau DuBray ’24, who died in November, Lamees Kareem ’22, who died in April, Connor Tiffany ’24, who died in March and Elizabeth Reimer ’24, who died in May.

The College rejected a resolution that month from the Student Assembly to cancel one day of classes for a grieving period in response to the deaths. Vandalism later appeared on College buildings and in the driveway of College President Phil Hanlon’s house in protest of the lack of mental health support on campus. 

2021-2022

After six terms of mostly remote learning, nearly all classes returned to full in-person instruction in September. Student groups also resumed in-person meetings. In October, Homecoming took place in person and featured both the Class of 2024 and Class of 2025’s numbers on the bonfire, recognizing both cohorts’ joining of the Dartmouth community. 

In October, the College announced that it had begun to divest from fossil fuel companies and would instead invest in sustainable energy companies. 

A January lawsuit accused Dartmouth and 15 other universities of violating antitrust laws by illegally colluding on financial aid policies. Dartmouth settled the suit for $33.75 million in February 2024. Also in January 2022, the College announced a new need-blind admissions policy for international students.

At the end of the month, Hanlon announced he would step down as College President in June 2023 after a decade in office. David Kotz ’86 — who was named interim Provost after former Provost Joseph Helble’s departure in July 2021 — was appointed to the job full time. 

In March, the College announced that it would lift its indoor mask mandate — which had been in place since Aug. 10, 2020 — along with the Town of Hanover.

After a two-year construction period, the Engineering and Computer Science Center opened in March. Dartmouth Dining also opened a trio of new dining locations: The Fern Coffee and Tea Bar, Back of the Napkin and Cafe@Baker in April.

Also in April, the College repatriated the papers of Samson Occom, an Indigenous student of College founder Eleazar Wheelock, to Occom’s native Mohegan Tribe. The 117 documents and two books included Occom’s diaries and autobiographical statements. 

In May, the College hosted the first Green Key festival since 2019. The annual concert was canceled the previous two years due to COVID-19. Graduated members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 were allowed to return for the event, which featured performances from Saint Motel, KYLE and opener Doechii.

In July, the College announced that the Board of Trustees had elected Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock to succeed Hanlon. Beilock is the first woman to serve as College President. 

Around 2,500 members of the Class of 2020 returned in August for a belated, in-person commencement ceremony after graduating with a virtual event two years prior. David Gallagher ’20 died in Hanover after attending the commencement ceremony. 

2022-2023

Fall 2022 marked 50 years since co-education, when the first women matriculated at Dartmouth. The College hosted a virtual roundtable event and invited alumnae back to campus to celebrate the anniversary. 

Also in September, the College held a community gathering on Baker lawn to grieve the deaths of three Dartmouth students. Sam Gawel ’23 died in September, and Joshua Watson ’22 and Alex Simpson ’22 died in August. 

In October, the College canceled a day of class and held a Day of Caring in response to the deaths. 

Scott Brown was named Dean of the College on Oct. 24. Brown had served as the interim dean after former Dean of the College Kathryn Lively resigned in June 2021. 

In February, the College accepted a proposal from the SWCD for a new $21 hourly wage. The proposal also included mental health and sick pay for undergraduate student dining workers. The SWCD voted unanimously to ratify the contract.

Football head coach Buddy Teevens ’79, the winningest coach in College history, was injured in a bicycle accident on March 16, 2023. He later died of his injuries in February 2024. The stadium at Memorial Field will be renamed the Buddy Teevens Stadium at Memorial Field in October 2024. Also in March 2023, Josh Balara ’24 and Vasudha Thakur ’23 died. 

That same month, the Hood Museum of Art and the anthropology department discovered the skeletal remains of 15 Native American individuals in their collections. 

Three weeks earlier than initially announced, Beilock became College President in June. Later that month, the Supreme Court ruled in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina that affirmative action in the college admissions process was unconstitutional. In a campus-wide email, Beilock reaffirmed the College’s commitment to diversity. 

Also in June, the anonymous social media platform Fizz launched at Dartmouth. It replaced Librex, a similar anonymous discussion platform, which initially launched in March 2020 and shut down in February 2022.

2023-2024

Beilock was inaugurated as the 19th College President in September, emphasizing mental health, brave spaces, Dartmouth for life, action on climate change and breakthrough innovation in her inaugural address.

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, Beilock condemned Hamas’s actions. On Oct. 13, the Rohr Chabad Center at Dartmouth and Hillel at Dartmouth co-hosted a vigil for those affected by the war. On Oct. 23, the Palestine Solidarity Coalition and Muslim student association Al-Nur co-hosted a memorial service in memory of lives lost during the war. 

Also in October, the Jewish studies and Middle Eastern studies programs hosted two community forums to discuss the war. 

Later that month, Kevin Engel ’27 and Roan Wade ’25 were arrested and charged with criminal trespass for encamping outside Parkhurst Hall in protest of the College’s investments in companies affiliated with Israel. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial remains ongoing

Also in October, the Greek Leadership Council voted to extend the frat ban from week seven to the Wednesday of week eight, on Nov. 1.

In January, Beilock announced the Dartmouth Dialogues series to facilitate conversations across different perspectives. Dartmouth Dialogues includes the Dialogue Project, which specifically focuses on undergraduate students. 

Biden and Trump won the 2024 New Hampshire presidential primaries on Jan. 23. Biden — who challenged New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status — did not register to appear on the ballot. 

Ahead of the primaries, the Rockefeller Center and the Dartmouth Political Union co-hosted several presidential candidates in the Path to the Presidency series.

In February, the College reinstated the standardized test requirement for applicants to the Class of 2029 and beyond. Due to COVID-19, the College had adopted a test-optional policy for applicants to the Classes of 2025, 2026 and 2027 and a test-recommended policy for applicants to the Class of 2028. 

On Feb. 19, eight students announced a hunger strike in protest of the College’s response to the Israel-Hamas war. Six students ended their hunger strike on Feb. 26, and the remaining two ended the strike on March 1. 

Members of the men’s basketball team voted to unionize on March 5. The unionization effort was the first successful unionization attempt by college athletes in the country. The Ivy League filed an amicus brief against the team in May. 

In March, the College announced the largest scholarship bequest in its history. The gift — from the estate of Barbara and Glenn Britt ’71 Tu’72 — removed the parent tuition contribution for undergraduate students with a family income less than $125,000, nearly doubling the previous $65,000 threshold. 

Community members gathered on the Green on April 8 to view a total solar eclipse, the first such event to be visible in New Hampshire in 65 years. 

On April 29, GOLD-UE voted to strike, effective May 1. Members called for higher salaries, better benefits and expressed their intentions to withhold their labor until a contract is negotiated. The strike remains ongoing.

On May 1, police arrested 89 individuals at a pro-Palestinian protest on the Green, where students had set up a five-tent encampment. In the following days and weeks, Beilock faced both backlash and support for her response to the protest. A slight majority of participating students voted no confidence in Beilock’s leadership on May 15, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted 183-163 to censure Beilock on May 20. 

Beilock announced that the arrested students will not face suspension or expulsion. 

Also in May, the College hosted a Day for Community in response to the May 1 protests and the deaths of Julia Cross ’24 and Kexin Cai GR. Cross died in April, and Cai died in May.

Tennis legend Roger Federer will deliver the 2024 commencement address on June 9.