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Dartmouth U. cont’d

An alumnus well and truly versed in the history of the College writes in to educate President Kim and Provost Folt on the many reasons why Dartmouth University will never be.

HI Joe,

Thanks for all you do with Dartblog, I am a regular subscriber and frequently share/discuss your posts with my fellow alumni…

I had to respond to the latest entries about the name of the College:

It is frequently a mistake of the general public to assume Dartmouth is a university, and the error is easily and lightly corrected in conversation. If memory serves, it may have once been a Jeopardy! question: “The only Ivy League school to be a College in its name.” (Also, Dartmouth is the only school to remain in continuous operation throughout the Revolutionary War; the others were each at one time or another occupied as barracks for troops on both sides.)

But it is unforgivable for the College’s administrators to be mistaken here, whether inadvertently or deliberately. And that is because of the historical and emotional import of the name change, which all students, alums and administrators should know. (Certainly anyone who took Government 60 with Professor Vincent Starzinger would know.)

Daniel Webster’s renown as a Supreme Court litigator rests in part on his argument of the Dartmouth College Case (Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 1819), and most still know his famous closing line, “It is a small college, and yet there are those who love it.” But too often forgotten is the entire reason or trigger for the lawsuit — The State of New Hampshire passed a law seizing (nationalizing, if you will) the College, making it a State-owned and -run institution, and as part of the law, redesignating it formally as “Dartmouth University.”

Webster successfully represented the dispossessed Board of Trustees seeking return of control of the College (symbolically, returned by court order was the Seal of the College and title to all its assets).

So the maintenance of the name Dartmouth College is tied up in the preservation of its identity as an independent and private institution. Which somehow doesn’t seem to weigh much on Great Leader Kim and his cohorts.

Best regards,

Class of 1984


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