Dartmouth Dedicates New Home for Global Energy Institute

News subtitle

Event celebrates five-year, $160 million investment in the Arthur L. Irving Institute.

Irving building at dusk
(Photo by Dave Cowley)

Dartmouth today dedicated the inaugural home of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society, a nexus for interdisciplinary research and teaching that will harness the College’s liberal arts strengths and research excellence to shape a more sustainable, equitable energy future for humankind.

The ceremony capped off a $160 million initiative led by President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 to prepare Dartmouth students to engage with one of the most important issues of the coming decades.

Birds-eye-view of Tuck Drive
(Photo by Dave Cowley)

Located on the West End of campus at the intersection of the Tuck School of Business and the Thayer School of Engineering, and with an expansive view east to Baker Library, the 55,000-square-foot building will be a meeting place where students from across campus and energy experts from around the world gather to develop a deeper understanding of how energy production and consumption affect all facets of society. The research, data, and solutions produced in this landmark building will help policymakers, entrepreneurs, technologists, and individual citizens across the globe make wise energy decisions and enable the energy transition.

“This incredible new building is a physical manifestation of our distinctive vision for this institute as we strive to develop a sustainable global energy system for our future,” said President Hanlon. “There is no more consequential or complex challenge needing the full intellectual resources of our extended community. From this day forward, Dartmouth graduates will be prepared to lead on energy solutions at every level of community, nation, and world.”

A Global Dedication

In a ceremony featuring speakers from six nations on three continents, the institute’s virtual dedication included members of the Irving family, President Hanlon, Faculty Director Elizabeth J. Wilson, key contributors, and multiple students who have participated in institute activities.

“We’re very proud of our partnership with Dartmouth to help bring the institute and its mission to life,” said Irving Oil Chairman Arthur Irving, an adopted member of the Class of 1972 and an honorary degree recipient in 2010. “We hope that the institute brings students together to learn about the energy issues facing our society, that it inspires the leaders of tomorrow to find solutions for a more sustainable energy future, and that it drives change to make our world a better place.” 

See President Hanlon and the Irvings speak at the dedication ceremony.

His wife, Sandra Irving, also an adopted member of the Class of 1972, added, “It’s a very special day as the vision for the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is realized. From the beginning, it was our greatest aspiration that the institute would be a beacon of light—in its structure and its meaning in the life of a student and the impact it will have. Today we’re so proud to see this vision realized in the institute’s formal dedication.”

Hanlon said Dartmouth was honored to recognize Arthur Irving for his dedication to education, environmental stewardship, and leadership in the energy industry, and he thanked the Irving family for their active participation and encouragement at each stage in the institute’s successful launch.

“May this institute inspire in the next generation a passion for the field to which Arthur dedicated his life and career, and for the power of change that can come in working together,” he said.

Largest Interdisciplinary Institute in Dartmouth history

The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is a centerpiece of The Call to Lead campaign and significantly advances Hanlon’s vision to position Dartmouth as a global institution addressing many of the world’s most complex issues. It is the largest of the interdisciplinary institutes to emerge from the campaign, and the only one so far to have a dedicated facility for teaching and research. Dartmouth’s institutes channel pan-university resources and, uniquely to Dartmouth, provide undergraduates with a central role in each institute’s research work.

U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster ’78, who has participated in multiple institute events, said Dartmouth is positioned to focus its educational strengths on improving the well-being of societies through changes in the energy sphere. “With the establishment of the Irving Institute, and now with the dedication of a brand new, state-of-the-art building to house the institute’s many exciting activities, Dartmouth will be a key player in driving critical conversations around our clean energy future.”

The philanthropic investment for the building and the institute’s endowment for research and programming is $160 million. Together, Irving Oil, the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation, Arthur L. Irving, Sandra Irving, and Sarah Irving ’10, Tuck ’14, provided an $80 million commitment.

Scores of Dartmouth community members have generously invested in the institute’s realization. Leadership commitments have been received from Constance Burke and the late Walter Burke ’44; the Carson family; D. Stephen Hafner ’91; William W. Helman IV ’80; Kathryn and Richard H. Kimball ’78; M. Hadley Mullin ’96 & Daniel M. Kalafatas ’96; Jana Neff ’00 and Brian Neff ’99; Kristin and John Replogle ’88; Lori and Martin J. Weinstein ’81; a collective gift from the Arthur L. Irving Institute Board of Advisors; and numerous anonymous contributors.

Already Preparing Students to Be Energy Leaders

Dartmouth announced the establishment of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society in September 2016 and recruited Wilson within a year. She assembled a team that quickly launched faculty and student grant programs, created new courses, supported experiential learning opportunities, and developed an extensive mix of seminars, symposia, and other events.

“Over the past five years, the institute has helped connect the Dartmouth community around the critical energy and society issues that define our global energy transition,” said Wilson. “While many other university energy institutes have a specific technical focus, the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society leverages Dartmouth’s strengths in interdisciplinary teaching, learning, and research to center the ways in which society shapes and is shaped by our energy systems.”

Hundreds of students have already tapped into the institute’s resources to explore energy issues. Bridget McCarthy, Tuck ’22, said she connected with the institute because the global challenge of climate change requires economically sound ideas.

“I truly believe that by harnessing the power of every student on this campus who is passionate about energy issues, solutions will come from right here,” said McCarthy. “That’s my dream for this place.”

Due to its size and history of collaboration, Dartmouth offers an exceptional opportunity to investigate energy issues from multiple perspectives and prepare broadly educated energy leaders. The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society has awarded dozens of grants to faculty and student projects that span the arts, humanities, social sciences, medicine, and business—helping faculty secure more than $6 million in external funding and aligning with Dartmouth’s distinctive model of interdisciplinary education.

“The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is woven into the fabric of Dartmouth, leveraging the College’s greatest strengths: its world-class liberal arts approach, its focus on students, and its global network,” said Scott Fisher ’93, Thayer ’93, Tuck ’98, chair of the institute’s advisory board. “This institute provides every student with powerful opportunities to engage in our world’s energy and society issues, while bringing together expertise from all disciplines to develop the holistic solutions needed to address these challenges.”

Exceptional Energy Efficiency

Designed by Goody Clancy of Boston, the institute will be the most energy efficient facility on campus, and Dartmouth will seek LEED Platinum certification for the building. An innovative natural ventilation system will serve more than 80% of the building, and more than 90% of its work areas will receive natural daylight. Other high-performance features include triple-glazed windows, radiant heat, and rooftop solar panels.

The building’s atrium level features a café, the Dartmouth Sustainability Office, a project lab, and multiple places for students, faculty, and staff to study and connect.

Institute staff, who will move into the building in January, and Tuck’s Revers Center for Energy will occupy offices on the building’s second floor, which will also house research labs, meeting spaces, and a kitchen and gathering space known as The Commons. Additional labs—the building features nearly 5,000 square feet of lab space—faculty offices, and the institute’s boardroom will occupy the third floor.

As part of the construction work, crews installed new heating/cooling, lighting, fire alarm, and sprinkler systems for the attached Murdough Center, Feldberg Library, and Cook Auditorium.

Springtime Celebration to Thank the Community

The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society will have its grand opening to the public on May 20, during the West End Festival of Ideas, a celebration of the reimagined West End of campus to be held over two weekends. The grand opening will feature building tours, student and faculty presentations, and hands-on learning opportunities addressing energy systems and sustainability.

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