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The PR Boys at Work

Occom Teacher Scholar Model.jpgThe Advancement Office and the Office of Communications are desperately trying to kickstart the College’s floundering fundraising. It seems that when Bob Lasher ‘88 tells donors of Phil’s plan for Michigan-on-the-Connecticut (with the views of current alumni, students and faculty be damned), wallets do not fly open as if by magic. In fact, fundraising data show that they mostly snap shut.

The administration has now changed tack. The PR folks have picked up on a set of forceful comments by Art History Professor Mary Coffey during the October 23 faculty meeting in which she exalted the College faculty’s traditional deep commitment to both teaching and research: what she called the teacher/scholar model. The winter edition of Occom, A Chronicle of Dartmouth Philanthropy, rightly celebrates the faculty’s ongoing commitment to undergraduates, and if the newsletter were telling the complete story of the Hanlon administration’s emphasis and strategy, it should be applauded.

But, of course, Coffey evoked the teacher/scholar paradigm as being under an existential threat from Phil’s plan to expand the student body by up to 25% — at an already overstretched institution that is having trouble keeping to its historic promise. Occom includes neither a mention of Phil’s plans for a huge increase in the number of students nor of the construction of huge new dorms in College Park.

Will donors be taken in?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism expressed in various ways, including “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Addendum: And another:

It is a killer to root against your own beloved (when I was there) College, but now the cards seem to have been turned over and it WILL become a University and IT WILL become much bigger. I do not know how the level of ignorance in the alumni/ae body can be maintained forever, but it has been and IS, especially in classes out a bunch of years, like mine.

The cadre which uses internet and has followed my advice to read Dartblog daily is PLUGGED IN, but I gotta tell ya, PHIL depends on keeping 60% or more in the dark. Our ‘55 Fund this year was only 37%…worst in our 60+ year history….but most attrition due to old age, fixed income, expensive health issues, parasitical kids and grandkids (yes). And that simple feeling at age 80 “I’ve paid for that education 100x over. I’m done.”

However, reading TODAY’s blog. I had the deja vu “what if they had a massive fund raising campaign and nobody gave?” That thought must permeate in Parkhurst every single day that this drags on….


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