Campus leaders provide a variety of perspectives on Philip Hanlon '77's appointment as Dartmouth's 18th president.
President-elect Hanlon will bring to Dartmouth the vision of an accomplished administrator, the heart of a dedicated teacher and the mind of a renowned scholar all supreme qualities that will allow Dartmouth to thrive under his leadership.
Our institution finds itself at a unique juncture. Dartmouth must strategically adapt to great changes facing higher education while ensuring that it does not deviate from its core mission. By selecting an individual who has helped lead a top public university, which boasts 40 academic departments ranked in the top 10 nationally, the search committee has chosen a leader who understands how to create academic excellence amidst a changing higher education landscape.
What distinguishes Hanlon is not merely his professional record of excellence but also his deep humility, passion and drive. I am elated by the arrival of a son of Dartmouth who was shaped by a formative undergraduate experience and aspires to bring his alma mater to new heights. As an alumnus, his longstanding ties with the College give him a strong understanding of our institution and ensure that he will occupy Parkhurst for a lengthy period, which is the sine qua non of a successful presidency.
Perhaps what excites me most about our next president is his sincere passions for scholarly research and teaching undergraduates. An accomplished mathematician, Hanlon has continued to teach a freshman calculus course despite his significant duties as Michigan's provost. He plans to continue teaching here at Dartmouth. I am thrilled that Hanlon will regularly walk the halls of Kemeny and teach students in the classroom a welcome change for our student body.
With his impressive record of achievement and longstanding connection to Dartmouth, our next president will not disappoint. I look forward to seeing Hanlon lead Dartmouth to even greater eminence.
Suril Kantaria '13 is the president of Student Assembly.
The selection of Hanlon as Dartmouth's 18th president raises a number of questions for the Greek community. As a former Dartmouth fraternity member, will Hanlon have a nuanced understanding of Greek issues? Will he capitalize on this understanding to positively engage with the Greek system? Or will he stay above the fray and leave student life issues to others in his administration?
Hanlon enters at a crucial time. This fall, the administration began implementing a series of harm reduction policies, including random Safety and Security walkthroughs and increased penalties for violations of the College's Social Events and Management Procedure policy. These policies form the early foundation of the current administration's attempt to confront the challenges of hazing, excessive drinking and sexual assault.
Fortunately, Hanlon is an ideal candidate to lead Dartmouth as it takes on these serious challenges. His wide-ranging experience as a Dartmouth student, math professor and University of Michigan Provost gives him broad and unique insight into issues of Dartmouth student life. Just as important is Hanlon's palpable enthusiasm for the "College on the hill." Dartmouth "transformed my life. I know it can transform the lives of others," he said.
This combination of pride and perspective gives Hanlon the credibility to bring together faculty, students and administrators to effectively deal with the big student life issues. It is my hope that Hanlon will take a leading role in his administration's efforts to combat hazing, sexual assault and excessive drinking in a way that makes sense for Dartmouth. Most importantly, I hope Hanlon will work to positively reorient the conversation about Greek life. Too often, the dialogue surrounding Greek issues gets stuck in the morass of hostility and resentment. If he chooses to engage, I have no doubt that Hanlon will make Dartmouth student life as robust as ever.
Tim Brown '13 is the president of the Interfraternity Council.
Over winter break, I found my copy of the 2009 Freshman Issue of The Dartmouth a collection of seemingly essential bits of wisdom about "where to rage" and "what not to wear." While I will unabashedly own the fact that I read that newspaper cover-to-cover (several times) the summer before coming to college, seeing it again four years later reminded me how little those sage pieces of advice helped me in my own transition to Dartmouth.
The inclination to dispense advice to the newest members of our community is understandable. As a sophomore, I led a DOC First-Year Trip with that goal in mind; I wanted to share my own transition experience with new students in hopes that their own move to college would be just a little easier.
However, even in my role as a trip leader, I often found myself not just sharing my experience as an upperclassman at Dartmouth, but also unintentionally propagating social norms and my own opinions about them to my trippees.
As I have remained involved with DOC Trips over the past several years, it has become clear that prescriptive advice about how to "succeed" at Dartmouth is not in short supply for the newest members of our community.
When Hanlon assumes his new role at Dartmouth this June, he brings not just the welcomed perspective of an alumnus, but also years of experience as a well-respected administrator and leader outside Hanover.
Moreover, he brings his own set of personal values, viewpoints and priorities to both this role and this campus. In our desire to welcome new members of this community presidents and trippees alike it becomes all too easy to just provide instructions for being at Dartmouth, as if we ourselves have somehow determined the best path to take, while neglecting who somebody is as a person.
Voicing our opinions about Hanlon's upcoming presidency is both legitimate and very much welcomed, but it is essential that we recognize the role his own values and experiences from outside of Dartmouth will undoubtedly play in shaping who he is as both a part of this community and as our president-elect.
Chris O'Connell '13 is the director of 2013 DOC First-Year Trips.
As we prepare to welcome President-elect Hanlon, Dartmouth has a range of expectations and hopes for a new administration. Given recent publicity on hazing and the prevalence of sexual violence, many are looking for change. Simultaneously, few at the College are discussing the sacrifices that we can make to enhance the quality of this community. Dartmouth and its leadership appear eager to set lofty goals but unable to accept their cost.
Despite the rhetoric and investments of former College President Jim Yong Kim and Interim President Carol Folt's administrations in issues of sexual assault, they have failed to produce substantive change. As a peer adviser and student advocate, I see firsthand the futility of a strategy that only targets "low-hanging fruit."
Every week, I hear new stories of rape of Dartmouth students, by Dartmouth students. Many survivors feel that their assaults are too commonplace to report. The most empowered of this group, who are able and willing to undergo the Committee on Standards adjudication process, still encounter their rapist on campus, even when he is found responsible.
Hanlon claims that reducing hazing and sexual assault are priorities of his presidency. I applaud these sentiments, but the time for grandiose statements has passed.
To realize these goals, his administration must pursue the path that is right instead of what is easy. It falls on our leaders to ensure that Dartmouth values interpersonal respect, individual integrity and group accountability.
These must no longer be buzzwords, but rather defended pillars of our community. As President Kim knew, we need cultural change and it must be transformative.
If his administration is serious about these standards and the safety of students, Hanlon should be ready to make difficult and perhaps unpopular choices. The cost of the change we deserve is high.
Elizabeth Hoffman '13 is a co-chair of the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault.
As a graduate student, I had high hopes that the Presidential Search Committee would find a strong leader who understands the value of research and graduate education at a special institution like Dartmouth. In Hanlon, I recognize these traits and more. Hanlon is a model of excellence in research and teaching, and I am optimistic that he will support graduate education as a vital branch of Dartmouth's international leadership. The graduate programs at Dartmouth are diverse, amounting to 1,985 students in 22 departments at four schools. The record shows that Hanlon is of our ilk. He has admirable achievements in research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. In the video interview posted on Dartmouth's website, Hanlon clearly integrates research into his vision for the institution, stating that knowledge creation "is an important part of how [Dartmouth] prepare[s] students to go out and change the world." His successes in research did not come at the expense of his dedication to teaching and mentorship he has advised 16 graduate students and earned recognition at University of Michigan for impacting the lives and intellectual development of students. As an alumnus, Hanlon brings with him much enthusiasm and dedication to the Dartmouth community. The graduate programs have grown substantially since he was an undergraduate, but I imagine that his tenure at Michigan gives him an appreciation for the value of graduate programs and what they bring to the Dartmouth community. In a very generous gesture of community, Hanlon has invited graduate students for a coffee hour during his visit to campus. It will be an honor and delight to meet him and share experiences and donuts. I am very happy to join the campus-wide excitement as we welcome Hanlon back to Dartmouth.