Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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The Genesis of the Tucker Foundation
Dartmouth’s President from 1945-1970, John Sloan Dickey, is best known on campus today for a phrase that I cannot bear to hear any longer, but the man had a great deal more to say than that. In light of the present controversy over the appointment of Bishop Tengatenga to head the Tucker Foundation, we would do well to recall the origins of that institution. As Dickey described in a lengthy article in the Atlantic Monthly in April 1955, he created Tucker to fill the lacunae left in college life by those things that had previously served what he called “the needs of conscience.” They were: “1) the tradition of preacher presidents, 2) a curriculum heavy with religion and moral doctrine, and 3) compulsory church and chapel.” He called these elements “constitutional,” and said that “their influence permeated all that these institutions were and did.”
With the evident passing of these features from Dartmouth (and virtually all other institutions), Dickey sought to create a new center for moral reflection:
In his article, Dickey further defined the broad role of the Tucker Dean:
Finally, here in the deanship of the Tucker Foundation is a position of both scope and prestige which, while rooted in the religious spirit, could open to its occupant the kind of intimate but wide-ranging relationship to the campus that our highly departmentalized colleges so badly need.
Given Bishop Tengatenga’s problematic past remarks concerning homosexuality, it is hardly clear that he can meet the test of “wide-ranging relationships.”
The current dispute over Tengatenga has also led to some discussion over whether the Tucker Dean can properly be called Dartmouth’s “moral spokesperson.” I don’t think that John Sloan Dickey would have chosen this term. I used the phrase “conscience of the College” in a recent post, and I like to think that I wrote it from some vestigial memory of the words of one of Dartmouth’s great Presidents.
Addendum: Dickey’s entire Atlantic Monthly piece bears reading for its forceful, yet graceful style.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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