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Why does CNN have a large satellite relay truck parked on the Green?

CNN Truck.jpg

Maybe they have heard than another announcement about diversity and inclusiveness is coming. Oh, joy!

Addendum: A reader writes in:

That’s not a CNN satellite truck on the Green … It’s the replacement for Dartmouth Winter Carnival’s no-snow sculpture.

The D reports on the demise of another fraternity:

SAE Suspended1.jpg

Addendum: The Valley News has the story, too.

Just as when the College fails to note the loss of a top professor to another institution (leaving the job to this space: here, here, and here, etc.), so the administration fails to announce the demise of once-much-trumpeted initiatives, in this case the Masters in Management (MiM) program at Tuck. The program was supposed to be a one-year top-up for undergrads who had finished college and, well, just didn’t understand figures (an affliction easily as widespread as undergrads who don’t write well). It would prepare them for the real world by teaching the basic business skills that a liberal arts curriculum had failed to cover.

Phil announced in early November 2013 that the College would be creating a 4+1 degree: four years of undergraduate education and a year at Tuck. The Dartmouth Now description of his idea was as follows:

The new initiatives Hanlon envisions for Dartmouth include:

… New programs at Tuck, including a 4+1 degree program that would provide a master’s in management following a fifth year at Dartmouth…

Bloomberg followed up with a story on the idea:

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business will explore adding a new master’s in management program aimed primarily at undergraduates earning liberal arts degrees. The earliest that the program could launch is September 2016, says Tuck Dean Paul Danos…

Anyone with an undergraduate degree could apply to this one-year master’s that Danos describes as a “high-level introduction to business.”…

Danos envisions it to include 100 to 120 students taught in two sections of about 60 each. Around 25 percent of them would probably come from Dartmouth and 75 percent from other institutions in the United States and abroad…

The Financial Times noted the increasing number of MiM programs — real money-makers for their institutions — and Poets & Quants quoted Paul Danos again saying that he hoped to debut the MIM program in 2016.

And then, silence, even though we are now in 2016. Last month I received the following e-mail:

Current Tuckies MiM1.jpg

A little digging confirmed that the Current Tuckies’ fears of an imminent announcement are unjustified. It seems that Dean Slaughter has announced on several occasions — most recently at Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting at Tuck — that the MiM won’t happen. It’s passed on! This program is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!!

As to the reasons for this decision, there is no word. But the idea of 120 newly graduated students running around Tuck Mall amongst 571 full-fledged Tuckies — almost all of whom have 3-4 years of real world business experience — could not help but dilute Tuck’s position in the MBA world. Way to go Tuck. Fight to protect your market share and keep a good thing going.

Addendum: Of course, the popular six-week Tuck Bridge program will continue.

Addendum: A loyal reader picked up on the Monty Python parrot sketch reference above, and sent in a link to the esteemed Margaret Thatcher using the Python’s words in a political context.

Those Dartmouth guys from way back were mighty men of old from the lone and silent North. On Monday when I wrote about the demise this year of the center-of-the-Green Winter Carnival snow sculpture, I noted that in my day as a student, the fraternities each produced a memorable ice statue. Well, it turns out that in prior years, individual dormitories did so, too. In 1960 the theme was Swiss Holiday. Here is Woodward Hall’s ten-foot-tall award winner:

Sculpture 1960.jpg

Woodward was given a prize of $50 by the reigning Carnival Queen, the lovely Miss Suzanne Horney (I kid you not.)

Addednum: An alum writes in:

Dormitory ice sculptures continued at least into the early 1970s. At McLane Hall (now Judge), we completed sculptures in 1970, 1972, and 1973. We started one in 1971, but did not finish it because I was also heavily involved that year in building the statue in the center of the Green.

The College has announced the appointment of a new Dean of Admissions: Lee Coffin of Tufts:

Lee Coffin to Lead Enrollment, Admissions and Financial Aid

Lee Coffin.jpgLee Coffin, dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management for Tufts University, has been appointed to the newly created position of vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, Provost Carolyn Dever announced today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lee to Dartmouth,” says Dever. “He brings a track record of success and a deep appreciation for how to build an innovative, highly strategic, and statistically supported enrollment plan that attracts a talented, diverse, and exceptional class of students year after year.”

Coffin has led undergraduate admissions at Tufts since 2003. During his tenure, he has overseen an increase in application volume by 37 percent, the doubling of applications from under-represented minorities, and the development of two summer bridge programs for students from under-resourced high schools. This year, under his leadership, Tufts received a record number of applications, up 6 percent from last year’s record pool.

In addition, Coffin designed a set of predictive yield models for Tufts, increasing yield—the percentage of students who accept their offer of admission—by more than 12 points as well as improving the academic profile of enrolling classes. He also led two comprehensive studies that helped to enhance Tufts’ standing among high-achieving college applicants.

“As the first member of my family to graduate from college, my work as an admissions officer celebrates the transformative power of a liberal arts education and need-based financial aid,” says Coffin.

“My career has been dedicated to shaping a multifaceted undergraduate community from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives, and I am honored to have the chance to do so at Dartmouth. The College clearly has the reputation, resources, and will to act on its aspirations, and its commitment to intellectual excellence, diversity, access, and inclusion is evident. Those objectives reflect my core values as an admissions officer, and make Dartmouth an especially good fit for me,” he says.

Coffin will begin his new role at Dartmouth on July 1.

“With the accessibility of so much data and new technology to identify and recruit prospective students, there has been a sea change in the admissions profession over the past several years,” says Dean of the College Rebecca Biron, who chaired the search committee that selected Coffin. “Lee has shown a mastery of his craft that I am confident will serve Dartmouth well and position us for success in the years ahead.”

The vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid will provide strategic and operational leadership to undergraduate admissions and financial aid and will partner with the provost, deans, and other academic leaders to bring to the division an increased analytical focus and greater coordination and integration of institutional priorities, says Dever.

The vice provost will also oversee the allocation of College resources of more than $80 million of Dartmouth scholarship funding to advance the mission of enrolling the most talented and promising students regardless of their financial resources.

Coffin’s appointment follows a national search facilitated by the firm Witt/Kieffer in collaboration with the search committee chaired by Biron. On the search committee were Trustee Caroline Kerr ‘05; Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer; Associate Provost for Institutional Research Alicia Betsinger; Registrar Meredith Braz; Associate Professor Solomon Diamond, chair of the Faculty Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid; Advancement Chief Operating Officer Ann Root Keith; Director of Financial Aid Dino Koff; Director of Athletics Harry Sheehy; Associate Professor of Mathematics Craig Sutton; and Vice President for Finance Mike Wagner.

The search for the vice provost began this past fall after Maria Laskaris ‘84 left the post of dean of admissions and financial aid to work as special assistant to the provost for arts and innovation. Paul Sunde, director of admissions, will continue to serve as interim dean of admissions and financial aid until Coffin takes over in July.

Coffin will be joined in the Upper Valley by his partner, Steve Moore. [Emphasis added]

Addendum: Wikipedia defines the Tufts Syndrome as follows:

Yield protection is an alleged admissions practice where a university or academic institution rejects or wait-lists highly qualified students on the grounds that such students are bound to be accepted by more prestigious universities or programs. This is also referred to as Tufts Syndrome.

Actually, despite my headline, I think that the Tufts Syndrome has been a feature of life in Hanover for a while.

Some people, how naive of them, wrote in to ask if the College really gives preferences to big donors these days. Ha! The truth is that if you are a muckymuck like Sony CEO Michael Lynton, there is a dedicated staffer in the Dartmouth Development Office to show you and your daughter around campus. How solicitous of the College:

Wikileaks Admissions Comp.jpg

And such gentle phrasing: “I work with families as they go through the admissions process at Dartmouth.” That’s interesting. Nobody worked with my family. Did someone work with yours? Wait! Don’t answer that!

You can fairly expect that the College’s care extends to more than guided visits to Hanover. I just wonder if there is a set price list for an admittance, something like: you’ll need to make an upfront donation of a $1 million, plus $10,000 for every point your kid’s average SAT score is below 700. Score only 600, pay two million smacks, in you come. Or perhaps the price is higher?

If you want Jeff Sassorossi to work with your family, you can find out the details of the assistance that he can provide by calling him at 603-646-3657, or just drop him an e-mail: It will be interesting to see if he has time for you if your family’s net worth is anywhere south of $100 million.

Of course, Leon Black ‘73 is a former Trustee (and #105 on the Forbes 400; net worth: $3.5 billion) and the benefactor of the Black Arts Center.

This is all so very cosy. Who says that America does not have an aristocracy with its attendant privileges?

Addendum: Maisie Lynton ended up going to Brown.

Addendum: A reader sends in a link to The Unz Review:

Here’s some fun gossip I heard from a fellow about the Harvard Number. He’s a reasonably well connected gentleman. On the other hand, he’s my only source for this and I don’t have the connections to check up on this, so take it for whatever it’s worth.

The Harvard Number is the amount of money Harvard would want as a donation for accepting your kid as an undergraduate. It’s not the kind of information they post on their website. You have to ask the right people in the right manner.

He said he just found out that the current Harvard Number — assuming your kid’s
application was “competitive” (i.e., there’s some chance your kid would get in even if you didn’t write a check) — is $5 million.

If your kid’s “not competitive,” then it is $10 million.

If there are about 1,800 freshmen at Harvard each year, then Harvard could admit, say, 100 competitive applicants whose fathers (typically, hedge fund guys) write the Harvard Number on a check — without tangibly lowering the quality of the class. That’s, theoretically, a half billion per year in virtually free money. How could an institution resist that temptation?

Quid pro quo arrangements aren’t supposed to be tax deductible as charity, but how often does the IRS get the goods on this? In practice, a big chunk of the Harvard Number gets refunded by the taxpayers.

Oh, brother. Not more of the same. Don’t Carolyn and Phil have anything of greater interest in their professional lives than to gas on about the commonplace ideas that come from the pens and mouths of all the other right(left)-thinking bureaucrats in the land? Of course, they do; it’s just that they don’t see the College’s pressing needs all around them.

Diversity Letter1.jpg

Diversity Letter2.jpg

Note the chairs of the committees: Denise Anthony, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives; Rebecca Biron, Dean of the College, and Inge-Lise Ameer, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, co-chairs; and Ahmed Mohammed, Director of Talent Acquisition, Human Resources. I don’t know Ahmed Mohammed, but the three other chairs are just shills for any administration that gives them a cushy, non-teaching job. Denise Antony brought us Carol Folt’s more-than-lamentable strategic plan. Rebecca Biron is now the czarina of the intimate, 700-student-each house system. And Inge-Lise Ameer is, well, the enabler of all that is wrong and bloated and stupid about the College.

Addendum: Here is the official Dartmouth Now announcement of this week’ exciting new diversity initiative.

Addendum: On November, 25, 2014 I wrote a well received post on Carolyn’s favorite (only?) topic: Diversity Schmiversity.

Here’s a video that is getting some attention: a Syracuse University student, Alex Purdy, talks about why she left her sorority. Kudos for her honesty:

Dartmouth’s Greek scene is not without such behavior. On October 4, 2010, I wrote a post entitled Girls Just Wanna Have Some.

Well, at least, it’s not “blue blood” candidates. Money is somewhat more meritocratic. But I still find it troubling to see this kind of dealing so bluntly discussed:

Kemeny Admissions.jpg

For as long as we waste money by the boatload on a mismanaged, over-compensated bureaucracy (remember that faculty compensation is only 10% of the budget), and despite the enormous size of the endowment ($4,663,491,000 as of June 30, 2015 — fourth in the Ivies after HYP on a per-student basis), we are going to have to sell admissions slots to big donors. Money is certainly not the root of all evil, but its egregious waste in Hanover puts irresistible, corrupting pressures on the College.

Addendum: Rauner’s files are filled with correspondence about donor preferences in admissions. A student of history would have a field day there.

Addendum: As you will recall, with the Class of 2014, the Kim administration hiked the number of legacies from about 11% to 14% of the incoming class — a level where it remains today. That decision was not made out of an excess of good feeling for alumni. You can fairly surmise that the children of alumni did not become substantially smarter on average that year and henceforth. The change was just a way to say thank$ to a greater number of generous alumni.

We have written before about the preferential admissions treatment that can be bought from the College in exchange for a consequential “gift.” Where I come from, that’s called corruption: the distortion of a fair-minded system with cash.

I was noodling through some of the College’s archives the other day and a couple of particularly egregious examples of favoritism to big donors came to light. This letter dated March 9, 1978 from Addison Winship ‘42, Director of Development, shows how bald the horsetrading can be for the children of donors. “Lu” Sterling was special assistant to President Kemeney, and Eddie Chamberlain and Al Quirk were, respectively, the outgoing and incoming Deans of Admissions:

Winship Letter Comp.jpg

“Some pretty important people of ours”? “A very important situation to us”? What could be clearer?

That said, sometimes an underlying honesty surfaces in the system, kind of. Only two of the “no way” applicants above ended up matriculating at the College; and only one of the eight “possibles” came to Hanover. One of the other “possibles” went to Yale, undoubtedly for reasons of intellectual merit, right?

The applicant who was the object of the below letter from College VP Paul Paganucci (a local luminary who, among other feats, co-founded the Ledyard Bank, and was the College’s CFO, Treasurer and a professor at Tuck) had the support of Kenneth Montgomery (who funded the Montgomery Endowment) to the tune of $800,000:

Admissions Donor.jpg

Incredibly, the applicant did not matriculate (Did he not get in?). He went to Haverford instead. I expect that the College kept the dough.

Addendum: In perusing numerous documents of the above type, it seems that the Old Boy/Rich Boy network had a lot less pull under Al Quirk than under Eddie Chamberlain. Such a transition is worth keeping in mind as Phil Hanlon looks for a replacement for Maria Laskaris ‘84.

Addendum: It should be obvious to everyone that such a cynical sale of admissions slots could never occur at the College today.

Addendum: For Sale, Gothic Revival Bridge Linking Manhattan and Brooklyn.

If you had any illusions that the Hanlon administration was thinking of reducing the size of the College’s ever-growing staff, think again. The latest mega-project is a large parking garage at the entrance to town just off of East Wheelock after you come over the Ledyard Bridge. The Valley News reports:

Hanover — A zoning amendment proposed by Dartmouth College would allow the school to build a parking garage along West Wheelock Street as part of a planned expansion.

The amendment would push the campus “institutional” district out to the intersection of West Wheelock and Thayer Drive, and would accommodate a building up to 60 feet high, with setbacks of as little as 15 feet. Current zoning rules there set the maximum height at 35 feet and side and rear setbacks at 75 feet.

Dartmouth officials say they have not settled on a final height for the garage, which is intended to replace parking spots displaced by the anticipated construction of a new building for the Thayer School of Engineering on the hill above.

Great. A “60 feet high” parking garage could be five or six stories in height. Just what we need in a pretty New England town. Why don’t they just pave over Paradise?

Seuss Sculpture.jpgLet’s start with a little history of the Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture from Dartmouth Now:

At Dartmouth, the craft has been practiced in a semi-official capacity for the past 90 years. In the late 1920s, a new student position responsible for a “Center of Campus Statue” was appointed for Winter Carnival, Dartmouth’s legendary event that in its heyday drew thousands of visitors and television crews to campus. One of the first “all campus” sculptures—a lovely castle on Occom Pond—was created by H. Pennington Haile ‘24, likely for the 1925 Carnival.

Since then the sculptures have ranged from the elaborate, such as a fire-breathing dragon (1969) or a whale with a snow spout (1982), to the simple yet imposing—such as a castle to celebrate 100 years of Carnival (2011). Most are based on the Carnival’s theme, chosen by students every year since the 1950s. (Carnival posters are also based on these themes.) A 20-foot tall young maiden, for example, is the sculpture for the 1967 Carnival, “A Midwinter Night’s Dream.”

One of the most celebrated sculptures was “The Cat in the Hat” for the 2004 Carnival, “Oh, the Places It Snows: A Seussentennial.” The image of the sculpture was featured in USA Today and other media.

Savor those memories because it seems that there will be no center-of-the-Green snow sculpture this year, despite the Geisel family’s visit. The administration will say something about a lack of snow — though everyone knows that snow has always been brought in by truck in years when Mother Nature has not been generous with Mother Dartmouth. Of course, many people will wonder if disappointed BLM protesters made threats against the sculpture after their proposed theme was rejected. But those two excuses are not the impetus for the change. The real reason is simpler and more dispiriting: not enough students were willing to take on the work. How sad. There was an expressive response to such apathy during my time in Hanover: weak tit!

Another old tradition fails.

Addendum: Back in the day, all of the fraternities on Webster Avenue built their own great sculptures, too.

Addendum: If you want to shed a silent tear at the sight of the empty Green just a little while before Carnival weekend, take a look in real time using the Class of 1966 Webcam:

Class of 1966 Cam.jpg

Addendum: There is no truth to the rumor that the snow sculpture has been cancelled because a twenty-story graduate student research complex is to be built where the Green is now — much as Phil and Carolyn might want that to happen.

Addendum: A young alum writes in:

How disappointing. My freshman year, the “Ravine Lodge sculpture” collapsed due to warm temps, and we worked all night to get a “Mt Moosilauke” up. Sledding down the mountainside was quickly ended by the college, likely due to safety reasons. Looks Dartblog had an article about it on Feb 12, 2009. You’ll notice that the mountainsides are chopped off…to prevent those dangerous sledders from hurting themselves! Hah!

The tree that fills out the small public square off of the rue Croix de Petits Champs in the 1st arrondissement completes the space almost as if it had been trained — when it was only searching for light:

Prettiest Tree in ParisB.jpg

I shall have to schedule a return visit in the springtime when the tree will be blessed with the light green leaves that usually signal the definitive end of winter.

Addendum: The square is named in honor of Henri Karcher (1908-1983), a surgeon, politician and Free French fighter who accepted the surrender of Paris by German General Dietrich von Choltitz at the Hôtel Meurice in the rue de Rivoli in August 1944. Von Choltitz’ gesture is a fine human moment from WWII.

Addendum: I wonder if the apartment on the top of the building in the background is a fantastic duplex or even triplex penthouse with a huge terrace?

Rachel Richardson1.jpgThe NY Times Magazine now runs a weekly poem selected by Natasha Trethewey, the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014.

On January 22, Trethewey chose a work by Rachel Richardson ‘01, in which an intrepid woman, Amelia Earhart, fights for her life on a dangerous flight; her desperate radio messages are recorded by a diligent little girl, whose pleas and Earhart’s plight are ignored by an unfeeling male Coast Guard Officer:

Rachel Richardson.jpg

Hmmm. Why did I get a taste of socialist realism from this poem?

Addendum: The Times notes that “Richardson is the author of two poetry collections, the second of which, ”Hundred-Year Wave,” is being published next month by Carnegie Mellon University Press”:

The fact that Phil is a member of the Class of 1977 filled me with hope upon his appointment, but we should all now understand that he really is a son of the Univerity of Michigan — Ann Arbor (the #1 Public Research University in the U.S. according to the National Science Foundation). Twenty-seven years at Michigan have trumped four years in Hanover. From the Dartmouth Now announcement.

Grad School Trustees.jpg

Read ‘em and weep. I was about to label this post, Dartmouth College (1769-2016) RIP. Not a mention in the announcement of the undergrad program.

We are about to spend scads of money — of course, the exact amount is a deep secret — on becoming the Harvard of New Hampshire, yet we have many dorms that are an embarrassment; the second highest tuition in the Ivies; no money to provide need-blind admissions for international students; insufficient funds for kosher dining; and if you ask faculty on campus, the phrase “no budget, no budget” is the standard response that they receive to almost any idea to improve the undergraduate program. At this rate in a few years there won’t be much left of Dartmouth College, except a distant memory of when we weren’t at the very bottom of the Ivies.

Addendum: A faculty member writes in:

Despite his undergraduate years here, Phil Hanlon has no idea of what has made Dartmouth great. And Provost Dever, too, seems never have had a clue.

Over the past fifty years, Dartmouth earned a reputation as a preeminent undergraduate institution that also aspired to develop a world class research faculty in many departments (in selected STEM areas, history, economics, government, languages, and elsewhere). But pouring money into a bevy of poor and costly (science) graduate programs represents precisely the wrong way to go. Had these two administrators understood Dartmouth’s niche and strengths, they would have committed to building faculty across the board (not to say meeting with them!). They would have also championed innovative academic initiatives and an educationally supportive residential experience.

How unfortunate that after the Kim disaster, when reconstruction was needed, Hanlon and Dever have thought only of bricks and mortar—for the wrong building.

Addendum: Great software, Steve Jobs used to say, is the result of an endless series of small improvements — problems solved and then more problems solved. He noted that people could become afflicted with “the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work,” rather than comprehending that incremental progress has to be your focus. The College has lost that understanding over the past twenty years.


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