New Gifts Commit $22.5 Million for Scholarships, Dartmouth Hall

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The gifts show the power of women’s collective philanthropy with a dollar-for-dollar match.

Dartmouth Hall
The renovation of Dartmouth Hall is supported by two new gifts from alumnae. (Photo by Jeff Woodward)

Dartmouth announced a pair of gifts Wednesday—totaling $22.5 million in support from Dartmouth women—that will benefit two of the College’s distinguishing features: the Collis Scholars program, which has transformed more than 160 students’ lives over the past five decades, and the renovation of Dartmouth Hall, a crucial center for the liberal arts on campus.

Speaking to more than 400 guests at a regional campaign and 250th anniversary celebration in Boston, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 announced a $10 million gift for scholarships from Ellen Collis, who, with her late husband, Charles Collis ’37, has generously given to help students who need financial support to attend Dartmouth.

“In 1973, proud Rhode Islander and loyal Dartmouth son, Charlie Collis, Class of 1937, created a scholarship fund at Dartmouth, inspired by his own transformation as a first-generation student,” said President Hanlon. “Over the years, he and his wife, Ellen, kept building the fund, making it bigger … and bigger … and bigger. Today, thanks to the Collises’ generosity, more than 160 young men and women have been given the gift of a Dartmouth education.”

A Proud Tradition of Support

After Charles Collis died in 2014, Ellen Collis continued the couple’s tradition of meeting regularly with recipients of their scholarship fund and staying in touch with many former Collis Scholars long after they had graduated.

Collis Scholars have included more than 40 Phi Beta Kappa honorees and 62 students who have gone on to earn graduate degrees.

“Through Ellen’s extraordinary leadership, the vision behind the Collis Scholars program shines brighter than ever,” said Hanlon. “Ellen, thank you for a lifetime of truly extraordinary leadership and for your unparalleled generosity in support of so many of Dartmouth’s most promising students.”

Dartmouth Hall and Women’s Philanthropy

Laurel Richie ’81, chair of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees and a co-chair of The Call to Lead campaign, announced that a group of women leaders in the Dartmouth community have pledged $12.5 million as part of a dollar-for-dollar match to renovate Dartmouth Hall, long the hub of a liberal arts education at the College.

Dartmouth intends to transform learning spaces throughout the building, making it fully accessible to all members of the Dartmouth community, providing new teaching technologies, reconfiguring classroom, office, and common spaces to allow for more innovative research and teaching, and bringing together language programs and the Guarini institute for International Education.

“Women of Dartmouth are banding together to raise $25 million to outfit this grande dame of Dartmouth Row with 21st-century teaching technologies and to ensure that this center of learning is accessible to the entire Dartmouth community,” said Richie. “I am thrilled to announce that a number of women are offering an opportunity to their Dartmouth sisters—alumnae and students alike—to join them in building this legacy.

“When a Dartmouth woman makes a gift of any size to the renovation of Dartmouth Hall, this cadre of women will match that gift—dollar for dollar—up to $12.5 million.”

A Boston Celebration

The event in Boston, the third in a series of 12 taking place across the country as Dartmouth enters its 250th year, provided a lively overview of The Call to Lead campaign—its vision, projected impact, and progress.

The Call to Lead aspires to raise $3 billion overall to realize three overarching goals: advancing Dartmouth’s distinctive educational model to its fullest potential; making discoveries that improve the human condition; and preparing students for lives of wise leadership. To date, more than 81,600 donors have committed a total of $1.84 billion to the campaign through gifts of all sizes.

Wednesday’s celebration was hosted by The Call to Lead New England Regional Committee, co-chaired by Anne Craige McNay ’80 and Jonathan Paul ’86, Tuck ’90.

In addition to updates on the campaign and the gift announcements, the program featured presentations from faculty and recent graduates on the research and experiential learning that helps define the Dartmouth experience.

Katherine Clayton ’18 and Jeremy DeSilva, associate professor of anthropology, described how anthropology students on a trip to South Africa discovered a fossilized piece of bone likely to have come from a 2-million-year-old human ancestor.  

Charlotte Blatt ’18 and Jeffrey Friedman, assistant professor of government, discussed Blatt’s award-winning analysis of military strategy in the Iraq War. Her work started as a paper for Friedman’s class and was later published in Parameters, the top peer-reviewed journal of the U.S. Army War College.

Dartmouth is holding a dozen regional campaign and 250th anniversary celebrations through May 2019. The next three are scheduled for Feb. 5 in Seattle, February 7 in Palo Alto, and March 27 in Washington, D.C. See the full schedule or email to learn more. These events are open to all members of the Dartmouth community.

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