Alumna Returns to Campus with CBS and Comedian Mo Rocca


UPDATE June 3, 2011: Watch the segment on the CBS website.

Many Dartmouth graduates return to campus, but not all bring a television crew and a popular comedian. CBS Sunday Morning producer Mary Lou Teel ’78 did just that recently when she and Mo Rocca taped a segment about a Dartmouth cabin-building effort on Gilman Island. The piece is scheduled to air on CBS Sunday Morning, which is broadcast at 9 a.m. ET, on May 29. (It was originally scheduled for May 22.)

CBS Sunday Morning Producer Mary Lou Teel ’78 (left, red coat) chats with Greg Sokol ’10, Thayer School graduate student, (right, blue shirt), and other members of the Dartmouth work crew. (photo by Steve Smith)

“We had two days of glorious weather in one of the most beautiful corners of the world, ” said Teel, who traveled to and from the island with CBS cameraman Eric Teed via a pontoon boat. Rocca and the students paddled in canoes. “The students were enormously generous with their time and talents, and made us feel right at home. Eric even tried the rope swing, and pronounced it the best day ever.”

Teel first learned of the project to rebuild Titcomb Cabin from Rocca, who read about it in Popular Mechanics magazine. Rocca is a correspondent for Sunday Morning and a panelist on National Public Radio’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! “Mo had never built a cabin before, and really wanted to learn how to use a chain saw, so it seemed like a fun piece to include in our Design Show. ” Teel added that she considered it part of her job as the producer to make sure Mo arrived back in New York with all his limbs.

Greg Sokol ’10 (center) shows the cabin to Mo Rocca as CBS cameraman Eric Teed films them. Rocca last visited Dartmouth in October 1999, when he covered the Democratic debate between presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Al Gore for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. (photo by Steve Smith)

Teel has worked at CBS News since 1979, and at Sunday Morning for more than 25 years. She is proud of Sunday Morning’s success. “It always surprises and delights me how many fanatically loyal fans we have,” she said, “and our audience is actually growing despite the current climate in network television.” The show averages about 5.35 million viewers per episode.

A member of one of Dartmouth’s first coeducational classes, Teel said part of the reason she attended Dartmouth was because her father Allan Howard Teel ’50 is a graduate, as are two of her brothers, Dr. Allan (Chip) Teel ’73, and Steven Teel ’74. “I decided early on that if they could go to Dartmouth, I could too. ” she said. “I never looked anywhere else.” She majored in comparative literature, spent a term in the Soviet Union in the summer of ’76, worked for the college television station in Fairbanks Hall, and helped start the women’s ice hockey team.

“Those first years of coeducation were very challenging for many women at Dartmouth,” Teel said, “but from what I could see during my days in Hanover, those days are long gone.”

View photos from Teel’s May 12 and 13 visit on the Dartmouth Flickr site.

The Dartmouth work crew on May 13. Front row, sitting (left to right): Parker Reed ’09, Thayer School graduate student; Jackie the dog; Max Friedman ’10 (white shirt). Back row, from left: Kevin McGregor ’11, Kate Bowman ’10, Mo Rocca, Jordan Nesmith ’11, Greg Sokol ’10, Thayer School graduate student; Kodiak Burke ’11; Malia Reeves ’12, Lucas Schulz ’09, and Mary Lou Teel ’78. (photo by Eric Teed)

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Steven Smith