$100 Million Gift Boosts Hanlon’s Vision for Scholarship

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Bold move includes challenge to double momentous investment

Dartmouth today announces an unprecedented investment in the College’s academic enterprise. President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 accepted an anonymous gift of $100 million, the largest single outright donation in the College’s 244-year history, which also includes a 2-to-1 challenge to double the investment’s size to $200 million.

(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

The gift is offered as an unqualified endorsement of Hanlon’s sweeping vision for Dartmouth, where interdisciplinary faculty teams collaborate at the leading edge of discovery and students are given uncommon access to new ideas around the globe through course work and research opportunities.

“I am deeply honored and grateful for this extraordinary act of generosity,” says President Hanlon. “This historic gift is an exceptional vote of confidence as we embark on an exciting journey to ensure Dartmouth remains the preeminent undergraduate institution in the nation; a magnet for human talent; and a college that cultivates a culture of ideas, discovery, and solutions to problems that will make the world a better place.”

Dartmouth Shield

Coming in the first year of Hanlon’s presidency, this powerful endorsement launches a broad vision to advance Dartmouth’s teaching mission at the forefront of scholarship in a rapidly changing higher education landscape. Dartmouth is moving to strengthen its faculty, nurture a new generation of emerging scholars, and fortify an innovative interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research.

“The investment arrives at a pivotal moment in Dartmouth’s history,” says Steve Mandel ’78, chair of the Board of Trustees. “It marks the start of a remarkable era propelled by President Hanlon’s vision for Dartmouth, a vision that has as its foundation the unparalleled academic excellence of a most distinct liberal arts college.”

This first step to secure the future of Dartmouth’s academic enterprise will be put to use in support of President Hanlon’s recently announced Cluster Initiative and will create approximately 30 to 40 endowed faculty positions over the next decade through this measure alone. To date, 29 cluster proposals—involving as many as eight faculty members each and more than 100 faculty in total—have been submitted to the Office of the Provost.

In addition to expanding the impact of Dartmouth’s faculty, Hanlon has already advanced in his inaugural year a host of programs and ideas to enrich Dartmouth’s intellectual and scholarly life including:

  • Increasing the flow of young scholars to Dartmouth’s campus and strengthened support for interdisciplinary research programs through the creation of a Society of Fellows. This cohort of approximately two dozen post-PhD academics will bring new ideas, international perspective, and intellectual energy to campus attracting students and faculty.
  • Significantly expanding Thayer School of Engineering to build on its innovative use of experiential education and provide majors and non-majors alike a strong foundation in technology.
  • A commitment to experiential learning, which emphasizes learning by doing to maximize the development of wisdom. Active engagement in and out of the classroom rather than the passive receipt of information allows Dartmouth students to develop the critical thinking skills, creativity of the mind, and the confidence to innovate that will make them successful in a world that values what you can do over what you know.
  • An embrace of learning technologies that will extend Dartmouth’s expertise and commitment to teaching across the globe and enhance the rigorous, highly personal experience that is the hallmark of a Dartmouth education, as faculty bring instructional content and insight developed through online courses and analytics back to the classroom.

“President Hanlon’s pursuit of interdisciplinary excellence will bring Dartmouth’s already outstanding academic programs a new level of distinction,” says incoming Provost Carolyn Dever. “I was drawn to Dartmouth by its unique scale and the ease of collaboration among different disciplines and different schools. With engineering, business, and medicine so strongly represented alongside the nation’s premier liberal arts environment, Dartmouth offers just the right combination of schools to investigate challenges of global complexity. An infusion of new faculty and ideas, combined with the incredible achievements in teaching and discovery already occurring on the campus each day, will be instrumental to creating the Dartmouth of the future.”

Michael Mastanduno, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, says, “By adding talented scholars in new areas to work alongside current faculty, we have the ability to strengthen our research efforts as well as develop interdisciplinary curricula around these global issues for undergraduates. The cluster initiatives will also enhance the number and types of opportunities for students to work with faculty on independent research.”

Focus on impact

All of Hanlon’s academic initiatives are meant to position Dartmouth as a major force contributing to the understanding of emerging global issues and advancing solutions to tomorrow’s most vexing challenges. Strategic hiring of new faculty in areas such as health care, education, the world economy, creativity and the brain, and energy and the environment over the next decade will enhance Dartmouth’s impact in the world.

Building on a history of bringing faculty together around an important societal issue, Hanlon says “Dartmouth will invest in the implementation of new ideas and empower interdisciplinary teams from across the institution to take courageous steps to conceive of solutions that can make a fundamental difference for the good of the world.”

The matching challenge

Half of each new gift will be matched by today’s commitment, with the $50 million eventually bringing in matching funds of another $100 million over the course of the challenge, which runs through December 31, 2015. The combined result will provide $200 million in support of this first piece of Hanlon’s vision.

“Dartmouth faculty and alumni have played a leadership role in global issues throughout the College’s history,” says Bob Lasher ’88, senior vice president for advancement. “This momentous gift inspires us to do more and come together as a community to make a difference in the world. I have no doubt that other donors will show support for the ambition President Hanlon has brought to Dartmouth.”