Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« HYP Radicals Speak to Left Radicals | Home | A Memory of Lady Di »

Another Year Without a Convocation

Members of the faculty and administrators often complain about the consumerist attitude towards education displayed by today’s students. Undergraduates seem to bring a marketplace mentality to Hanover with them, and if the College doesn’t deliver the goods, a phone call from parents or even a lawyer is not far away.

Beyond lamenting such approach, is the administration going to do anything about this development? Anything to set a different tone, to educate new students about their responsibilities as members of the Dartmouth community? Doesn’t look like it — except to host a community barbecue to begin the new academic year:

No convocation 2017.jpg

How about bringing back Convocation, where incoming freshmen can be treated to pomp and circumstance and some shock and awe about what is expected of them as they join a community of scholars (not whiners) that has existed for close to 250 years now? The massed, berobed faculty and though-provoking speeches used to do a good job in helping special snowflakes understand that Dartmouth does not exist only for their benefit:

Convocation 2005.jpg

In canceling Convocation, Phil has abdicated his responsibility to a valuable tradition and also passed over an opportunity to set his own tone at a small college. Of course, the entering class at Michigan is six times the size of the freshman class at Dartmouth, so Phil can’t be expected to comprehend how important Convocation can be at the College (though one might think he’d recall the event from his time as a student in the 1970’s). He needs to shift gears in understanding that certain things can be done in Hanover that were not possible in Ann Arbor.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I agree strongly with your comments on the loss of Convocation. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, I arrived in Hanover in 1946 for Convocation a mere two weeks after getting out of the Navy following the war. Having grown up in Minnesota in the depths of the Great Depression, and gone directly into the service after high school in the small town of Hopkins, finding myself sitting in front of colorfully robed scholars and hearing John Sloan Dickey say, “Gentlemen, your business here is learning,” really got my attention and actually inspired me.

A middling student up until then, I graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. I have the horrible feeling that everything that made Dartmouth great for my generation is slipping away inexorably under present management. Many thanks for Dartblog.


Featured posts

  • 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…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




May 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31