The Top Stories of 2022 at Dartmouth

News subtitle

The year in review includes celebrations and a repatriation.

A collage of photos from the year of 2022

The year 2022 might be remembered as the great comeback. With most of the pandemic restrictions of the past two years finally loosened, the Dartmouth campus came roaring to life as students, faculty, and staff reveled in renewed opportunities to gather, work, and learn together.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights Dartmouth News covered in 2022.

Winter Transitions

First the big news: In January, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 announced plans to step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, spurring reflections on his accomplishments over his past decade in office. But Dartmouth’s 18th president had no intention of resting on his laurels, instead outlining an ambitious five-point agenda for the remaining 18 months of his tenure and announcing a historic gift to extend need-blind admissions to international students.

Philip Hanlon speaking with Kamala Harris in the White House
President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, shown here attending a roundtable discussion at the White House with Vice President Kamala Harris, announced in January that he will step down in June 2023 after leading Dartmouth for 10 years. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) 

Meanwhile on campus, winter carnival was back in its full glory, polar-bear swim and all. Students made letterpress valentines in the Books Arts Workshop. And students, faculty, and staff rallied on the Green in opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the arts, students performed in Rentthe theater department’s first live musical production in three years, and the Hopkins Center for the Arts staged the avant-garde opera The Force of Things, composed by Associate Professor of Music Ash Fure. The community also watched as eight athletes and two coaches with Big Green ties competed in the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Highlights of Dartmouth student and faculty research included student linguists conducting field work via social media, construction of a Bronze Age-style oven, a study of how Earth’s atmosphere became oxygenated 2.3 billion years ago, an investigation of the scientific basis for climate liability claims between nations, and a senior thesis featuring interviews with members of Egypt’s Jewish community. And to encourage the next generation of researchers in science, technology, engineering, and math, graduate students from the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies prepared science kits for local middle school classrooms.

A major gift is helping Dartmouth and Dartmouth Health create a new cancer research institute. Guarini’s Master of Liberal Studies program piloted a fellowship for aspiring secondary school teachers.

Twenty-eight scholars joined the faculty this year. Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith signed up for a second term as head of Arts and Sciences, Duane Compton was reappointed dean of the Geisel School of Medicine, and Nancy Vogele ’85, a former director of religious and spiritual life, returned to Dartmouth as College chaplain and director of the William Jewett Tucker Center for Spiritual and Ethical Living.

Spring Flowering

Spring term was bookended by two profound events: Dartmouth’s formal repatriation of the papers of Samson Occom, the 18th-century scholar and minister who helped raise funds for the school that would become Dartmouth College, to his Mohegan descendants; and the return of the annual commencement celebration to the Green, this year headlined by NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and featuring an address by a valedictorian who was the first in her family to attend college.

The Mohegan Tribe and Dartmouth members outside Mohegan Church
Members of the Mohegan Tribe and a delegation from Dartmouth gather outside the Mohegan Church in Uncasville, Conn., in April. In the foreground is the wampum belt that the tribe presented to President Hanlon as Dartmouth repatriated Samson Occom’s papers to his Mohegan homeland. (Photo by Erin Supinka)

In between, the community commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dartmouth’s recommitment to the education of Native American and Indigenous students with numerous events—including the return of the annual Powwow—and in June more than 300 alumni returned to campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association.

The Hop hosted a festival of new music, sponsored by the Department of Music and the Digital Musics Program. Sixty years to the day after Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on campus, his son delivered the keynote for the Social Justice Awards in Spaulding Auditorium. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan returned to campus for a Dickey Center-sponsored forum on international security. And the debate team won the national championship for the second year in a row.

After a pandemic hiatus, off-campus programs resumed, including Green City, a Berlin-based interdisciplinary program combining German language study and sustainability engineering. Undergraduates participating in the Dickey Center’s War and Peace Fellows Program traveled to Washington, D.C., in April, where they had a surprise opportunity to meet with U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power.

Dartmouth researchers published an investigation into the mating songs of wood frogs, built an artificial intelligence model for detecting mental health issues in social media conversations, and developed a one-of-a-kind lab that creates a “tunable” superfluid circuit using ultracold electron-like atoms.

Dartmouth named a new athletics director and a chief financial officer and a vice president for finance and controller. The Guarini School appointed a new director for the Society of Fellows. The community got its first insight into the incoming Class of 2026, and the College announced the elimination of student loan requirements for undergraduates on financial aid.

The spring also saw the official opening of two new buildings in the West End: the Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center and the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. And Dartmouth published renderings for the renovation and expansion of the Hop, set to begin in 2023. Irving and the Revers Center at the Tuck School of Business launched TuckLAB: Energy to introduce undergraduates to the complexities of modern energy systems.

Members of the Ukrainian Students Association displayed toys on Baker Lawn to remember the children killed in the Russian invasion.

Hanover Summer

After a nationwide search, the Board of Trustees made history, electing Sian Leah Beilock to be Dartmouth’s 19th president. When she takes office in July 2023, the cognitive scientist and current Barnard College president will be the first woman to join the Wheelock Succession.

Sian Leah Beilock
President-elect Sian Leah Beilock received an enthusiastic greeting when she visited campus after her appointment was announced in July, including exchanging high fives with a group of women outside the Class of 1996 reunion tent. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

In other gender-equity news, Katie Colleran joined the Outdoor Programs Office as its director, and Dartmouth celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the law that protects people from discrimination based on sex. Members of the community had strong reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, and President Hanlon joined leaders of other colleges and universities at the White House for a discussion about how the ruling may affect students and higher education institutions.

The VoxLab summer theater residency celebrated its 10th anniversary, and Dartmouth welcomed back participants in the Young African Leadership Initiative after a pandemic pause. The Hop’s director talked to Dartmouth News about her vision for the arts as preparations for the expansion began. Dartmouth Dining Services expanded its local food sourcing, the Tuck School of Business received a major gift for a new summit, and one of Dartmouth’s oldest remaining elm trees lost the battle to Dutch elm disease.

Dartmouth researchers used new techniques to study supermassive black holes, and an undergraduate helped develop a new theory of quantum subsystems. For lighter reading, members of the faculty recommended some of their favorite books.

In August, members of the Class of 2020, many of whom had not been back to Hanover since the pandemic began, at last returned to campus for a long-delayed commencement ceremony.

Fall Remembrances

In a season that saw the loss of several members of the Dartmouth community—including President Emeritus James Wright—students, faculty, and staff rallied to support one another. President Hanlon declared Oct. 21 a Day of Caring, suspending classes and inviting community members to take time to explore personal and collective well-being. Dartmouth continued to strengthen mental health services.

At the same time, the new academic year brought the Class of 2026 to campus, as well as four new postdoctoral members of the Society of Fellows. Dartmouth announced Toward Equity, a three-year strategy to unify diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across campus.

The Hop premiered The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist, an operatic collaboration between faculty at Dartmouth and Stanford that explores the search for justice in the wake of racist violence. September saw an influx of major contemporary poets on campus for a symposium on the legacy of poet Robert Hayden.

Several scholars from war-torn Ukraine found refuge in Hanover, thanks to some extended application deadlines and new scholarship and fellowship opportunities, and two world-renowned human rights activists spoke at a “Voices of Dissent” forum sponsored by the Dickey Center. The vice president of the student government was invited to a White House summit on reproductive rights.

Neuroscientist David Silbersweig ’82 and novelist Pico Iyer were in residence as Montgomery Fellows, and President-elect Beilock met members of the community and shared her research at a Geisel forum.

Dartmouth researchers found the earliest known evidence of rice harvesting in early Neolithic China and analyzed how fungi disperse. Senior lecturer Ezzedine Fishere collaborated with Brandon Mioduszewski ’25 on a podcast about the Middle East.

At homecoming, Dartmouth celebrated 50 years of women’s athletics, and in November, women’s rugby took the national title for the second year in a row. More than 500 alumnae returned to Hanover to commemorate 50 years of coeducation and to witness the rededication of Dartmouth Hall, whose renovation was funded by Dartmouth women.

Alumnae in front of Dartmouth Hall
Dozens of alumnae and others on hand for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Dartmouth gather in front of the newly renovated Dartmouth Hall in early November. (Photo by Kata Sasvari)

Scott C. Brown was tapped as dean of the College and April Salas was named head of the Irving Institute, both after serving in those roles in an interim capacity. The Tucker Center hired a new Muslim chaplain and multifaith adviser, and Tracey Brant was named College ombudsperson. Plans to build apartment-style undergraduate housing on Lyme Road were presented to the Hanover Planning Board after several community listening sessions, and three new house professors were tapped to lead School House, East Wheelock House, and West House.

Finally, Dartmouth announced a $100 million program—anchored by a $25 million gift from Penny and James Coulter ’82—to increase leadership opportunities in STEM for historically underrepresented groups. A gift from the Donahoe family funded the inaugural E.E. Just Faculty Fellowship, which is recruiting faculty committed to advancing diversity in STEM fields across the institution.

Dartmouth Women's rugby hoisting trophy
The Big Green women’s rugby team celebrates after repeating as National Intercollegiate Rugby Association Division I champions with a 15-10 victory over No. 2 Harvard in November. 

The Year in Honors

Among the notable recognition members of the Dartmouth community received in 2022:

Three professors—César Alvarez, Brendan Nyhan, and Amie Thomasson—were tapped for Guggenheim Fellowships. Alvarez also won the Kleban Prize for most promising lyricist in American musical theater. Zhiying Li, a postdoctoral research associate in geography, won the first annual Women in Science Incentive Prize from Story Exchange for her research on hydroclimatology. The National Science Foundation gave early career awards to six members of the faculty. And alumnus K. Barry Sharpless ’63 won his second Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The U.S. Department of State appointed Tuck’s Emily Blanchard chief economist. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine named Robyn Millan to the 2024-2033 Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey. Five Dartmouth professors joined colleagues from a dozen universities to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives as the inaugural cohort of Ivy+ Faculty Fellows. And Thayer’s Charles Sullivan and Geisel’s Charles Sentman were named as fellows of National Academy of Inventors.

Twelve students and alumni received Fulbright grants to study or work in countries around the world. Adaeze Nduaguba ’17 and Michelle Wang ’21, Thayer ’22, ’23, won Schwarzman Scholarships to study in China.

Five members of the Class of 2023 won Goldwater Scholarships. Two students—Matt Gannon ’22 and Cecelia King ’23—were named John Robert Lewis Scholars. Two members of the Class of 2022 won Barry Scholarships, and Campus Compact awarded Aditi Gupta ’23 a yearlong Newman Civic Fellowship.

Finally, Thayer PhD candidate Arthur Petusseau came in second in the 2022 Collegiate Inventors Competition. Music major Tanaka Chikati ’25 was featured in a multimedia show on Google Arts and Culture. And Gus Guszkowski ’22 competed in the Jeopardy! national college championship.

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