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BREAKING: Fundraising Meltdown: Participation and Contributions Drop
As ye sow, so shall ye reap, Phil Hanlon. Four years of ineptitude are being reflected in fundraising numbers so dismal that people all over higher education are talking. Rather than accelerating in the run-up to the formal announcement of the capital campaign, donations to the College are dropping precipitously.
Numbers at the Dartmouth College Fund are causing fundraisers to shake their heads, though the surprise is limited, given that at a springtime meeting between student leaders and DCF organizers, the students let the alumni muckymucks have it in no uncertain terms. They confirmed in words what the senior survey stated in numbers: Phil Hanlon and his administration are deeply unpopular.
Participation in giving by alumni dropped over the past year to about 39% — the first time in Dartmouth’s history that involvement has fallen to such a low level — from 42% and 43% in the two most recent years. In my day, the College and Princeton were neck and neck at about 70% giving; Princeton’s most recent figure was a healthy 56.8%. (The only major school to currently approach the old-time numbers is Tuck, where 70% of living alumni contribute money annually.)
Beyond the drop in giving by individuals, total giving is way down, too, by double digits below the year’s target according to several sources. The shortfall would be in the order of tens of millions of dollars.
The administration’s high-handed treatment of fraternities, AD in particular (here and here), seems to be motivating many loyal alumni to turn away from the College. One story making the rounds is that this spring Phil received an envelope with checks from ten of his Class of 1977 Alpha Delta brothers. Each one was for the same amount: $0.00.
Will the Trustees finally act, now that the numbers are clear? Certainly the Board has long received deeply troubling qualitative reports regarding the Hanlon administration. Today the Trustees can assess the results in incontrovertible quantitative form.
How can anyone not see what a disaster the current administration is?
Addendum: As a low-energy guy, Phil Hanlon is hardly an inspiring fundraiser. And he has little to share in the way of new ideas or initiatives when he talks about his plans for the College. That he has not fired his ineffective and much-disliked direct report, Senior VP for Advancement Bob Lasher, speaks volumes about Phil’s inabilities as a manager. He does not recognize talent, or its absence, and he can’t cut loose a failing administrator.
Addendum: The College’s sad results come against the backdrop of a stock market that hits new highs week after week (including yesterday). In addition, the capital campaigns of institutions like Harvard and USC have set all-time records in the past year; both schools surpassed their ambitious goals. Why not the College? You know why.
Addendum: An older alumnus writes in:
If the latest numbers on alumni giving aren’t the last straw, there may not be one. 39 freakin’ per cent! That’s unthinkable for anyone who was in Hanover in our time.
But regarding your suggestion that the Trustees defenestrate Phil: and then what comes next? After a three-decades-long parade of Freedman, Wright, Kim, (Folt), and Hanlon, you might reasonably ask if we can do any worse. The horror is that these same Trustees may be up to that challenge.
If this were a business or political organization, one of the first sources of candidates to succeed Phil would be promotion from within, especially when there appear to be two excellent leaders running the graduate schools of business and engineering. Nah — too rational.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
Not looking forward to being a head agent going into a Reunion Year in this environment. Our class participation fell 7%, almost entirely due to war on AD and SAE, against backdrop of placating #BLM, Duthu fiasco, etc.
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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