Dartmouth alumnus A. George “Skip” Battle ’66 and his family have made a $5 million challenge gift to support the construction of the new lodge at Mount Moosilauke.
Battle, a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute and former CEO of Ask.com, describes the gift as an invitation to other alumni to ensure that the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge remains a vital element of the Dartmouth outdoor experience for future generations of students.
At more than 77 years old, the current lodge—located in the White Mountains about 45 miles northeast of Hanover in Warren, N.H.—is nearing the end of its useful life.
“Moosilauke was an important part of my introduction to Dartmouth—as it was for my kids,” says Battle, the parent of two Dartmouth alumni. “I believe that no other school has the insight into the physicality of nature and the world like Dartmouth, and I hope my gift will get us to the $17 million necessary to build the lodge to ensure the continuity of a tradition that can’t be matched by any other institution.”
The Battle family gift will match all major contributions toward the lodge rebuilding project—up to $5 million. If the entire match is realized by the June 30 fundraising deadline, the $10 million raised through the challenge will provide more than half of the funds needed to construct and endow the new building. Construction would begin in September 2016, after First-Year Trips wrap up, and would be completed before 2017 First-Year Trips commence.
Originally built in 1938 for use as a ski resort, the lodge has been a vital part of the Dartmouth undergraduate experience since the day it opened. In addition to hosting more than 90 percent of every incoming Dartmouth class as part of First-Year Trips, the lodge hosts orientation programs for the Geisel School of Medicine and the Tuck School of Business, and is popular among students, faculty, staff, and alumni as a venue for any number of events, from weddings to retreats.
The gift to support Moosilauke is the latest major gift the Battle family has made to Dartmouth. Previous gifts include support of a new rugby field and creation of The Battle Family Fund for Ethics Across the Curriculum. President Phil Hanlon ’77 praised Battle for his commitment to the College over many years.
“Dartmouth alumni carry with them a profound sense of place. I know Moosilauke has special meaning for Skip, as it does for me and for so many of our alumni,” says President Hanlon. “Skip’s challenge gift represents philanthropy at its finest. It advances an important project and will galvanize other alumni to come forward and support a vital part of the Dartmouth experience.”
Project architects have heard from students, alumni, faculty, and staff about preserving the character of the existing lodge in planning for its replacement. The post-and-beam construction of the new lodge will retain many characteristics of the original building—including a large, central stone fireplace, lodge memorabilia, and views of the mountain. The new lodge will also have increased space for dining, dancing, meetings, and social events, as well as many upgrades, including a more functional kitchen, new spaces for outdoor use, improved accessibility, and dramatically improved energy efficiency.
“The project will enable us to continue the lodge tradition of welcome and mountain hospitality for generations to come,” says Director of Outdoor Programs Dan Nelson ’75. “The new lodge will maintain the warmth and atmosphere Dartmouth students have loved for years, and it will guarantee that these exceptional student experiences continue far into the future.”
Battle graduated from Dartmouth with an AB in economics in 1966, and received an MBA in 1968 from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., and serves on the board of directors at several companies, including FICO, Expedia, LinkedIn, Netflix, and Workday. Battle served with Andersen Consulting in various roles, including worldwide managing partner, and market development, and was director of PeopleSoft until its acquisition by Oracle. He is also the former chief executive officer and executive chairman of Ask.com.