$100 Million Gift Hailed By Community as Transformative

4/11/2014
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News of the $100 million anonymous gift to support the College’s academic enterprise, the largest single outright donation in Dartmouth’s history, was widely hailed as a powerful endorsement of President Phil Hanlon’s vision of an institution at the forefront of teaching and scholarly work.

In addition, the gift includes a 2-to-1 challenge to double the investment’s size to $200 million.

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(Photo by Jacob Kupferman ’14)

“This is one of those important times in Dartmouth’s history, when key strategic decisions are made that will guide the College for decades to come,” says President Hanlon.  “The timing of this historic gift couldn’t be more significant, not only because it inspires our ambitions, but because it puts options and opportunities on the table that simply weren’t there before, or wouldn’t have been available for many years.”

“This is truly transformative,” says Marcelo Gleiser, the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy. “I think President Hanlon has a golden opportunity to give wings to his vision and to the vision of myself and many of my colleagues of creating a real bridge between disciplines.”

“This is not just a building; this gift has the potential to transform the work of our faculty and also the perception of Dartmouth in the world,” Gleiser says.

Professor Russell Muirhead, the Robert Clements Associate Professor of Democracy and Politics, called the plan to create 30 to 40 new endowed faculty positions “extraordinary.”

“I’m delighted to see that this will give President Hanlon the resources for this work,” Muirhead says. “That the donor was generous enough to make this gift so that we can not only expand our faculty, but also strengthen our academic mission across disciplines is truly inspired.”

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Throughout the day Thursday, news of gift was circulating widely in the local and national media. It was on a scroll on the NESN cable channel during the day in local restaurants, and was featured on midday news and radio broadcasts.

Dovydas Sakinis ’16, from Lithuania, was watching the extensive coverage of the biggest-ever gift to Dartmouth. “I’m impressed. I think that Hanlon’s vision is a strong direction,” says Sakinis, a double major in economics and Russian language studies. He says he has discovered the importance of interdisciplinary work since arriving at Dartmouth, and says the faculty cluster initiative and the global perspective of the plan is “fantastic for Dartmouth.”

Lisa Jackson, a graduate student in the masters in public health program, says the gift is simply incredible.

“It’s a really exciting time for the college,” she says. “President Hanlon has done a great job in laying down goals for the college.”

Jackson, who is president of the Graduate Student Council, says she hopes the infusion of money will also benefit the graduate student experience at Dartmouth. “Graduate students make up almost a third of the student body at Dartmouth and contribute so much to the institution through research and teaching support,” she says. “I know President Hanlon has spoken about developing a graduate school, and that would bring together resources that are now soloed in separate programs now.”

Building on a history of bringing faculty together around an important societal issue, “Dartmouth will invest in the implementation of new ideas and empower interdisciplinary teams from across the institution to take courageous steps to conceive of solutions that can make a fundamental difference for the good of the world,” Hanlon says.

The Matching Challenge

Half of each new gift will be matched by the commitment, with the $50 million eventually bringing in matching funds of another $100 million over the course of the challenge, which runs through December 31, 2015. The combined result will provide $200 million in support of this first piece of Hanlon’s vision.

“Dartmouth faculty and alumni have played a leadership role in global issues throughout the College’s history,” says Bob Lasher ’88, senior vice president for advancement. “This momentous gift inspires us to do more and come together as a community to make a difference in the world. I have no doubt that other donors will show support for the ambition President Hanlon has brought to Dartmouth.”