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The Crown Jewels

Investment Manager Doug Tengdin ‘82 comments on the possible sale of the Hanover Country Club in a post on his Global Market Update blog:

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Addendum: The Valley News has an August 23 editorial on the HCC closing. An excerpt:

Simply put, the country club generates significant good will for the college in the community, and it’s hard to assign a price tag to that. In recent years, the college’s ambitious building program has increasingly bumped up against the interests of neighboring residents, as the battle over an indoor athletic practice facility proposed for South Park Street demonstrates. Closing the country club would certainly do nothing to win new friends for the college and might discourage some old ones. As a recent Forum correspondent pointed out, other universities have ended up investing far more to promote good relations with the community than Dartmouth loses on the country club…

Of course, Dartmouth is bound to do what its leaders deem is in the best interests of the institution. But assessing those interests in the broadest terms involves recognizing that old institutions that play a central role in the life of a community, such as the Hanover Country Club does in the college’s hometown, are irreplaceable. They may sometimes need to bow to other priorities and pass into history, but they are almost impossible to replicate. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

Addendum: An alumnus shares his letter to President Hanlon:

Dear Phil:

I received your form letter response in defense of this land sale. Trotting out weaknesses in the business model of Upper Valley golf shows a massive failure of imagination on your part. It is appalling that our president is so disconnected from what makes Dartmouth special. This isn’t about golf: This is about Dartmouth’s sense of place.

How dare you sacrifice significant open space adjacent to campus in order to satisfy a cash flow problem of the moment. Our College is unique because intense intellectual bonds are forged in a rugged rural setting. The Hanover Country Club property contributes to that nurturing environment.

Go raise new dollars. That’s your job. Don’t sacrifice historic and characteristic assets. That’s the easy, timid path. You are failing in your duty as chief steward of all that makes Dartmouth authentic and distinctive.

Sincerely,

Addendum: An alumna writes in:

Simply put, Hanlon and the Trustees are stewards of the College, and to contemplate selling the largest parcel of undeveloped land adjacent to campus for a pittance in the scheme of the operating budget borders on gross negligence.

At a smaller level, does HCC offer out of town memberships? Surely the large number of alumni no longer giving to the annual fund might enjoy taking an out of town membership - and helping to save a unique treasure for the college. Why not put the clever Tuck students in charge of creating a new business plan for HCC and see if we can put this asset back in the black column? (Then perhaps next year the young Tuckies can be put in charge of reorganizing the bloated administration).

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