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Let’s Ask the Valedictorians

Joe has already pointed out the senior class’ broad satisfaction with the College’s faculty. Our distinguished teachers and scholars are beloved by their students. In case we need some more proof, how about we hear from this year’s top honors students, the four class valedictorians (mercifully down rather than up in number from last year’s eight)?

Notice how many of the top seniors name specific faculty members who made an impact on their academic careers.

Yerin Yang ‘17, who delivered an eloquent and insightful valedictory address, cites Stephen Brooks of the Government Department. Academic rockstar Ran Zhou ‘17, who has won essentially every award in economics and is headed off to a Ph.D. in Business at Harvard, names Dorothy Wallace in Math and Chris Snyder in Economics. Yours truly mentions Bill Fischel of the Economics Department (featured in Dartblog’s Guide to the Stars here).

valedictorian photomontage.png

What is the similarity between these superficially very different professors? Like so many other Dartmouth faculty, these faculty members are not just good classroom instructors, but accomplished scholars as well. That’s important for top students, who are unlikely to be satisfied with learning by rote from a textbook. They want to see and hopefully become involved with cutting-edge scholarship. No doubt the active scholarship of these professors was instrumental in allowing them to be as influential as they are with students.

Addendum: Stephen Brooks recently published a new book, America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century, with William Wohlforth. Bill Fischel recently came out with Zoning Rules! The Economics of Land Use Regulation. Dorothy Wallace and Chris Snyder publish frequently as well.

Joe Asch Addendum: A few days before May 17, a campus listserv announcement went out that Stephen Brooks would be speaking at House Center A on the theme of U.S. global leadership. The event was an example of the intellectual activities that are an integral part of Phil’s new house system. Three students and I showed up that evening, and Brooks — rather than cancelling the event for lack of attendance — gave us the better part of two hours on international relations; America’s past, present and probable future role in the world; and why it is important that the U.S.A. stays fully engaged. We enjoyed a Dartmouth moment with a dedicated teacher, who seemingly would have stayed with us for hours longer had we offered more questions.


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