Dartmouth Celebrates Alumni ‘Lives of Impact’

News subtitle

Shonda Rhimes ’91, Keith Dunleavy ’91 inducted into new Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame.

People at Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame
At the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame ceremony on May 9 in New York are, from left, Jake Tapper ’91, inductee Shonda Rhimes ’91, Magnuson Center Board of Advisors Chair Jeff Crowe ’78, inductee Keith Dunleavy ’91, Martin Weinstein ’81, incoming Magnuson Board of Advisors Chair Andrea Reisman Johnson ’91, and Magnuson Executive Director Jamie Coughlin. (Photo by Julia Levine ’23)

As the sun began to set over Manhattan Thursday night, 130 members of the Dartmouth community gathered at Peak Restaurant atop Hudson Yards, enjoying, from the 101st floor, panoramic views of the city as they welcomed Keith Dunleavy ’91 and Shonda Rhimes ’91 into Dartmouth’s new Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame

The initiative was launched last summer by the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship, which sponsored and organized the awards ceremony as well as the Sept. 7 event in San Francisco when James Coulter ’82 and Steven Hafner ’91 were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Kicking off the gala celebration in New York City on Thursday, Magnuson founding Executive Director Jamie Coughlin thanked attendees, including several Dartmouth trustees and notable alumni, for helping to “recognize those in our community who, through entrepreneurial spirit, through entrepreneurial conviction, have contributed to a better world.”

Joining Coughlin on stage, Jeff Crowe ’78, a Dartmouth trustee and outgoing chair of the Magnuson Board of Advisors, said he hoped the Hall of Fame would inspire future pioneers, including many students invited to the event.

“Our first four inductees come from media and entertainment, health care, finance, and technology. Future Hall of Famers could come from education, energy and climate manufacturing, social entrepreneurship—whatever field of endeavor they’re interested in, at any age. That is what tonight is all about. We want the world to know how Dartmouth inspires and equips our community to embark on lives of impact,” said Crowe, who will remain on the board of advisors.

Introducing Dunleavy, Martin Weinstein ’81, a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in Washington, D.C., spoke about the daunting personal crises Dunleavy faced before founding Inovalon, a cloud-based software and data-analytics company that has revolutionized health care. 

Dunleavy as a young child suffered serious injuries from an accident but recovered and went on to attend Dartmouth. Tragedy struck again when his older brother died in an ice-climbing accident. But Dunleavy soldiered on, attended medical school, and founded a company “with the audacious goal of leveraging data and analytics to improve patient outcomes and to improve the economics of our entire health care system,” Weinstein said.

Keith Dunleavy '91 at a podium
Inovalon founder and CEO Keith Dunleavy ’91 addresses the crowd during his induction to Dartmouth’s Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame. (Photo by Julia Levine ’23)

Weinstein said Dunleavy was “the first one in the office in the morning, and the last one to leave the office at night. He employed creativity, courage, tenacity. And he has built something remarkable. Yet none of that defines Keith’s superpower. Those magical traits that we talked about are truly exceptional, but nothing when compared to the desire to make life better for others.”

Dunleavy thanked his family and friends for their unwavering support, and spoke about the interlocking building blocks of entrepreneurship. 

“It’s not the market timing, it’s not the regulatory system, it’s not the clarity of your personal direction, your moral compass—it’s not any of that,” he said. “It’s not the support you got from others, whether financial or emotional. And it’s not even your drive or your perseverance, because in fact, it’s all of them. It’s every single one of them, every single moment of the time.”

Next, Jake Tapper ’91, a Dartmouth trustee and lead Washington anchor for CNN, introduced Rhimes.

“What to say about Shonda Rhimes that wasn’t better said last week when Variety called her in a cover story ‘TV’s most powerful showrunner’ and the first woman showrunner to make three TV dramas that achieved the 100-episode milestone: Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice and Scandal, to say nothing of the countless little girls that she inspired to go into medicine because of Grey’s Anatomy?” 

Against all odds, facing stiff opposition from network executives, Rhimes proved “that shows that feature characters of color are actually more financially powerful in terms of advertising dollars and audiences than the shows we used to watch in which every character was white,” Tapper said. “They made more money, they were more successful, more people watched them. And that’s why TV network television today looks like America.”

Rhimes, an English literature with creative writing major who was director of Dartmouth’s Black Underground Theatre and Arts Association as an undergraduate, then offered a spirited account of the central role that Dartmouth, where she is now a trustee, has played in her career trajectory. 

Shonda Rhimes speaking with a group
TV showrunner and Shondaland founder and CEO Shonda Rhimes ’91 speaks with, from left, Cleo De Rocco ’24, Tamhidul Islam ’26, Krishnachandra Nair ’24, and Aran Flaherty ’25, at the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York. (Photo by Herb Swanson)

“I mingled with professors and I befriended people from wildly different backgrounds, and I learned to advocate for myself,” she said. “I was introduced to new interests. And for the first time I began to think of myself as a global citizen. But most of all Dartmouth, embedded in me the belief that hard work is necessary. That obstacles are not obstacles, they’re just to be climbed. That determination and grit and intelligence made me feel unstoppable.”

Proposing a champagne toast to the inductees, Magnuson Board Vice Chair Andrea Reisman Johnson ’91 thanked the gathering “for being here tonight to hear the stories that have inspired us and for continuing to grow this healthy family into the next generation.”

Cleo De Rocco ’24, a New Yorker majoring in computer science with a minor in English who serves on Magnuson’s student leadership board, said the Hall of Fame presentations showed how important it is to communicate clearly. “Networking can be scary, but Magnuson has taught me to put myself out there, even though I am shy, and tonight reminded me again how many amazing people have graduated from Dartmouth and will graduate with me.”

Thursday’s ceremony was part of a two-day series of events, including the annual meeting of Magnuson’s Board of Advisors at which Crowe, the founding member and chair, passed the reins to Reisman Johnson. 

In a surprise coda to the induction ceremony, Coughlin paid tribute to Crowe with a touching song he had composed especially for the occasion, I’m GreenThank You, Jeff Crowe. As it poured out of the speakers, diners waved green glowsticks in the darkened room. 

The crowd at the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame enjoys music
Attendees at the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame induction ceremony celebrate a song written and performed for the occasion by Magnuson Center founding Executive Director Jamie Coughlin. (Photo by Julia Levine ’23)

As guests departed, Coughlin said, “Our Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame event was one for the history books. It was a culminating moment, high above the city lights of New York, that represented a decade of work in building the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship into what it is today. And what it is today can be seen in its founders, such as our inaugural Hall of Fame inductees, Shonda Rhimes and Keith Dunleavy—founders that are bold enough to chase a vision and bring it to life. And most importantly, Shonda and Keith’s stories will serve as the inspiration and proof of what’s possible for future generations of Dartmouth entrepreneurs.”

In addition to the induction dinner, Magnuson on Friday held the annual Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum at CUNY Graduate Center. The speaker and panel sessions foster networking among hundreds of Dartmouth alumni. Registration for Thursday and Friday’s events topped 800. 

For the first time, this year’s forum presented nine teams of climate entrepreneurs who have been participating in Dartmouth’s new accelerator, Greenshot, a joint project of Magnuson and the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society

Following panel discussions about the demands and rewards of entrepreneurship, including an afternoon fireside chat with Rhimes moderated by Alex Bernadotte ’92, the teams were participating in a two-stage pitch competition. The winner or winners will receive from Magnuson a $75,000 grant to take their enterprises to the next level of development and marketing.

Meet the new Hall of Fame inductees:

Keith Dunleavy ’91, founder, CEO, and director of Inovalon

Dunleavy, a physician, is the founder and CEO of Inovalon, a cloud-based health care software and data analytics company headquartered in Bowie, Md. 

Driven by a desire to help empower a data-driven transformation of health care, Dunleavy has led Inovalon from its founding to its current industry-leading position utilizing advanced, cloud-based software platforms to empower improvements in clinical outcomes and economics for more than 20,000 health plan, hospital, provider system, pharmacy, and life sciences customers across the entire health care ecosystem. Uniquely designed to aggregate and leverage the industry’s largest connected primary-source health care dataset, Inovalon’s software and analytics are trained and informed by data pertaining to more than one million physicians, 640,000 clinical facilities, 372 million unique patients, and 78 billion medical events.

After founding the origins of Inovalon in 1998 while in residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dunleavy grew the company to become the nation’s largest pure-play health care SaaS and data analytics company, taking Inovalon public on the NASDAQ in 2015. In 2021 Inovalon was acquired by a consortium of investors led by Nordic Capital at an all-time stock price high for $7.3 billion.

Dunleavy received a bachelor’s degree in biology modified with engineering, with high honors, from Dartmouth. He earned his doctorate in medicine from Harvard Medical School, completed his medical residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and practiced and was board certified in internal medicine.

Shonda Rhimes ’91, TV creator, producer, author, and founder and CEO of Shondaland

Rhimes is an award-winning television creator, producer, and author, as well as the CEO of the global media company, Shondaland. Rhimes is the first woman to create three television dramas—Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal—that have achieved the 100-episode milestone. For five TV seasons, award-winning Shondaland shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder occupied ABC’s entire Thursday night schedule, creating a powerful brand well-known to fans and advertisers as “TGIT.” 

In 2017, Rhimes shifted the entertainment industry’s business model when she left network television to exclusively produce streaming content in partnership with Netflix. Bridgerton, Shondaland’s first scripted series with the streamer, has become a worldwide franchise. Seasons of Bridgerton currently hold two of the 10 top spots among English-language programming for Netflix. Rhimes also scripted the popular Bridgerton prequel series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the limited series Inventing Anna based on the popular New York magazine article about the fake German heiress Anna Delvey, and executive produced the documentary Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, highlighting the legendary choreographer Debbie Allen.

Rhimes broadened her company’s content landscape when she launched the culture website Shondaland.com in partnership with Hearst Digital Media as well as Shondaland Audio in partnership with iHeartRadio. She’s a New York Times best-selling author for her memoir Year of Yes and has built multiplatform partnerships with such leading brands as Dove, Peloton, St. John, Masterclass, Microsoft, and Mattel.

Rhimes has three times been included in the TIME 100 list of most influential people, has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her service to US/UK relations, and her work has been celebrated with numerous awards including induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Charlotte Albright