Closing Festivities Planned for Dartmouth’s 250th Birthday

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Two celebrations are planned for Charter Day, Dec. 13.

Dartmouth Hall lit green
Dartmouth Hall was lit green last January at the start of Dartmouth’s celebration of its 250th year. (Courtesy of Dartmouth Alumni Relations)

Dartmouth will commemorate Charter Day on Dec. 13 with two events—one in Hanover, the other in Boston—to conclude a yearlong celebration of its 250th anniversary.

Dartmouth Library’s Rauner Special Collections Library will display the College’s charter from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In a ceremony beginning at 9 a.m., Dean of Libraries Sue Mehrer will make welcoming remarks, followed by statements by President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, Vice President for Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’81, and Don Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities. A reception with light refreshments will take place following their welcome.

Pease has noted that the 250 commemoration involved both “critical thinking and celebration.” A case in point: Associate Professor of Sociology Deborah King’s course last term, “Lest We Forget, Collective Memory and Slavery,” which examined the College’s pre-Civil War history. It was one of several courses offered this year to students connected to the Dartmouth’s past. An exhibit curated by King’s students, “The Ties that Bind: Slavery and Dartmouth,” is on display through March 13 in the library’s Class of 1965 Galleries.

For those who can’t make the trip to Hanover, there is still a way to participate in the library’s commemoration. A riddle quiz consisting of clues written in verse by Hugh Mac Neill ’20, a research and teaching assistant in the library, will challenge visitors to test their knowledge of campus landmarks—some prominent, others tucked away. The brain teaser will be posted on the Dartmouth 250 website on Charter Day.

On Friday evening in Boston, President Hanlon, Bascomb, and Pease will address attendees of the Dartmouth on Location 250th event commemorating the special day. CNN news anchor Jake Tapper ’91 and actress, comedian Rachel Dratch ’88, and other guests will also make presentations during the program, which will be followed by a reception and a skating party.

“It has been a terrific year of celebration, much of it exploring what Dartmouth is today and how our history has shaped the institution and the Dartmouth community,” says Bascomb. “Charter Day invites us to reflect on the College’s history and honor those who came before us. It is an ideal moment to recognize our community’s role in shaping Dartmouth’s evolution and setting its future course.”

The birthday celebration ends with several notable spots being lit green, including Niagara Falls, Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row, city hall in Los Angeles and Boston, and Torre Interbank in Lima, Peru. Alumni and friends of the College are encouraged to share their view of these green lit landmarks or pictures of themselves wearing green by using the hashtag #Dartmouth250 on social media.

Katie Hamlin can be reached at

Katie Hamlin