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The Big Guns Are in Town

Presidential Summit Pavilion.jpgIf you have been curious about the fancy cars, the big tents and the extra lighting on Baker, then wonder no more. Phil Hanlon has convened a Presidential Summit: The Call to Lead, a significant event in the run-up (or is it limp-up, in both senses of the world limp) to the always-on-the-horizon capital campaign. This is his latest effort to reverse the sharply declining trends (here and here) in alumni donations.

The heavy hitters are in town, and methinks that Phil is under the gun this weekend. Either he secures some seriously large pledges, or he will have to start thinking of retirement (or the Trustees will certainly start thinking about it for him).

The administration is parading all of its leaders in an effort to wow big donors. But who knows if Phil will be talking honestly in the presidential keynote address today about his 100-year, Michigan-on-the-Connecticut vision for the College, the one that doesn’t care a wit about today’s students, faculty and alumni:

Presidential Summit Comp.jpg

The last group of speakers includes some of the College’s most prominent alumni. I hope that they have been talking to faculty and students on campus to take the pulse of Phil Hanlon’s Dartmouth. With fundraising in the doldrums, you have to figure that the big donors are now regularly talking among themselves in concerned tones.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

This is what happens when you can’t look someone in the eye and explain why you want them to give you $20,000,000.

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