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Phil Hanlon the History Student

Jere Daniell2.jpgLike any Dartmouth student, Phil Hanlon ‘77 had to fulfill liberal arts distributive requirements beyond his mathematics major. One of the ways that he did so was to take two history courses from Professor Jere Daniell ‘55: History 35, “Colonial America,” which Hanlon took in the fall of 1975, his junior year; and History 36, “The American Revolution,” which he took during his senior spring. Daniell, in addition to being the College’s unofficial historian, is a fine scholar of New England history (if you ever get the chance, ask him to tell you how almost all New Englanders were able, with the help of their towns, to buy themselves out of serving in the Civil War). By his own count, and it is a fairly precise one, he taught over 5,000 undergraduates during his 40-year teaching career — he has hand-written grade-books with details of each and every course to prove it.

Below is Daniell’s grade-book page for History 35 from the fall term of 1975 (with all students’ names, but one, obfuscated to protect the guilty). Note that Phil Hanlon (in yellow) received a final grade of “A” in the course, a score he achieved after getting two “A-” grades during the term. The “+” sign in the third column of the grade-book denotes an exemplary final exam, a result that lifted his grade to one of only three “A” grades in a class of 42 students. Today Professor Daniell wonders if Phil is perhaps the only math major ever to achieve an “A” in one of his courses. He remembers that Hanlon was both “pragmatic and smart,” though he admits that he does not recall Hanlon’s appearance.

Hanlon Daniell1.jpg

Parenthetically, in the History department today, the median grade for all students is 3.46-3.50, depending whether you take the raw median or the weighted one, virtually smack dab between a “B+” and an “A-.”

In his senior spring, AD brother Hanlon achieved only a “B” in Daniell’s History 36. In that course he wrote an independent research project on Gouverneur Morris, the “Penman of the Constitution,” who gave his name to Hanlon’s hometown of Gouverneur in upstate New York, not far from the Canadian border.

Another gold star for Phil Hanlon ‘77 — the College turns its lonely eyes to you.


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