The Board of Trustees, in town to attend the June 11 Commencement and weekend celebrations at the graduate and professional schools, and to hold their annual June meeting, bestowed an honor on now-President Emeritus Philip J. Hanlon ’77, who concluded a decade of service to Dartmouth as he marched off the Green with more than 2,000 newly minted graduates.
They also heard reports on undergraduate student satisfaction, energy, and the new compliance office. Their packed weekend had trustees attending investitures at the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, Thayer School of Engineering, and Tuck School of Business. (Two weeks ago, trustees attended the Geisel School of Medicine Class Day.) They also observed the annual ROTC military commissioning ceremony, the multifaith baccalaureate service, undergraduate Class Day, the Phi Beta Kappa induction of 182 students, and greeted members of the Class of 1973, back on campus for their 50-year reunion.
“We are always so delighted to witness the joy of Commencement, to see proud families and friends, and greet the 50-year class. There’s no better time to be at Dartmouth,” says Trustee Chair Elizabeth Cahill Lempres ’83, Thayer ’84.
Bidding Farewell to Hanlon
The trustees established a named professorship, the Dartmouth Trustee Chair, and surprised Hanlon with the news. In addition to his emeritus status, he is now the inaugural Dartmouth Trustee Professor of Mathematics. Hanlon, who is beginning a sabbatical year, will be a member of the mathematics faculty upon his return. Also at Commencement, Hanlon and his wife, Gail Gentes, received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees.
At the start of his decade as president, trustees told Hanlon that his job was “to make Dartmouth one of the bright lights on the horizon, an institution that we not only love, but are proud of,” says Lempres. “And that he certainly did.”
During his tenure, Hanlon advocated for academic excellence and encouraged innovation in scholarship and teaching. He launched initiatives to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration; expand opportunities for experiential learning, research, and creative endeavors; and promote diversity and inclusivity. Under his leadership, Dartmouth has seen record levels of giving through the $3.7 billion Call to Lead campaign.
Thanking Retiring Trustees
Trustees paid tribute to board members Dan Black ’82, Beth Cogan Fascitelli ’80, Caroline Kerr ’05, and Carlos Rodríguez-Pastor, Tuck ’88, who are retiring from the board. Next month three alumni will become new board members. David McKenna ’89, Shonda Rhimes ’91, and Todd Sisitsky ’93 will serve four-year terms on the board, beginning July 1.
Lempres said Dartmouth owes a great debt to the four retiring trustees for their dedicated service.
“Dan, Beth, Caroline, and Carlos have enriched Dartmouth with their exceptional contributions to the board’s work. We are grateful for the expertise and thoughtfulness they brought to their time on the board,” says Lempres. “And we look forward to starting work with David, Shonda, and Todd.”
Student Satisfaction Survey
The initiatives put in place during Hanlon’s tenure and their impact on the undergraduate student experience were reviewed by trustees. Undergraduates expressed a high level of satisfaction with the many ways they learn inside and outside the classroom.
“It is gratifying to know that the Dartmouth experience is resonating with our students,” says Kerr, who has chaired the board’s Student Experience Committee.
Ninety-four percent of undergrads said faculty members were helpful outside the classroom, compared to 88% of other Ivy students. And 95% of Dartmouth students expressed satisfaction with the quality of instruction, compared to 88% of their Ivy counterparts. Additionally, the survey showed that 80% of students had internships in the United States, 60% had done research with a faculty member, and 40% did volunteer service in the U.S.
Compliance and Ethics Office Update
Board members heard from Alejandro Diaz, chief compliance officer, who began work in January. He explained that the office is working to build a coordinated approach to ethics and compliance that fosters a culture of integrity, effectively manages compliance risk, and provides senior leaders and trustees with the information necessary to confidently discharge their oversight roles.
“Our goal is to eliminate existing information silos, enable continuous improvement, gather and leverage enterprise-wide risk data, and collectively ensure we meet or exceed the established standards for effective compliance,” Diaz said. An initial risk assessment of the current state of the most critical compliance areas is underway, with completion expected in the first part of 2024.
Trustees heard about Dartmouth’s energy transition and ongoing work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with green energy goals Hanlon set in 2017, which are currently being updated.
Board members approved a $6.1 million energy retrofit for Burke Hall, home of the chemistry department, and a $175,000 hot-water conversion for Morton Hall, an undergraduate student residence hall. Both projects will convert mechanical systems from steam to hot-water heat.
Also coming up is a geo-exchange pilot project that will put wells under the Green, with a test area slated for the northeast corner of the Green beginning this fall. Trustees approved spending $2.4 million on the planning and piloting phase of a three-part geothermal project, which would eventually install wells under much of the Green, and then return the land to its current state. Geo-exchange systems extract thermal energy from the ground and are typically paired with heat pumps to heat and cool buildings.
“We are excited about making the Green greener with the addition of underground geothermal technology, which we hope to develop at other campus locations as well as we continue to transition to clean sources of energy generation,” says Josh Keniston, vice president of campus services and institutional projects.
The board also continued a conversation on housing and the strategic imperative of increasing its quantity and quality in the Upper Valley to ensure Dartmouth can continue to recruit and retain outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, as well as faculty and staff.
Trustees approved spending $12.7 million to build a new sailing facility to replace the existing building, located on Mascoma Lake in Enfield, N.H. Funds for the project will come from gifts to the College. They also agreed to spend $6.5 million for restoration work on the exterior of the Rauner Special Collections Library building.
In addition, board members voted to approve transitioning the Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages Program to department status and to establish the Department of Radiation Oncology and Applied Sciences at Geisel.