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Alumnae-led effort hits momentous milestone, seeks additional donors for renovation.
The most ambitious women's fundraising effort in Dartmouth history has secured $25 million to restore the heart of the College's undergraduate academic experience—Dartmouth Hall.
Through the generosity of more than 1,700 alumnae and others in the Dartmouth community making gifts through The Call to Lead campaign, Dartmouth Hall will be renovated to meet the needs of future generations of students.
Dartmouth has received more than 1,300 gifts and pledges since November, when Trustee Emerita Denise Dupré '80 pledged $5 million to the renovation project once 1,000 alumnae had made gifts of any size toward Dartmouth Hall.
Gifts ranged from $10 to $1 million and were received from members of every Dartmouth class from 1969 onward, including current undergraduates.
"We often say you should never underestimate the power of Dartmouth women, especially when working together, but we may have surprised ourselves," says Dupré. "The magnitude of what has been achieved this quickly, with so many talented women taking on leadership roles and generating action, has really caught people's attention."
Energized by Dupré's challenge, alumnae, students, and friends topped the 1,000-donor mark in under a month—and the momentum continued into the new year, with the gift tally topping $25 million early this month. The donors will be recognized on a wall of honor in the renovated Dartmouth Hall.
The cost of the comprehensive renovation project is $42 million, and alumnae leaders have announced their intent to continue fundraising for Dartmouth Hall with a new goal of having 2,500 women participate in this historic endeavor by 2023, when the renovated building is scheduled to open.
"From alumnae who were on campus half a century ago at the start of coeducation to current first-year students, women across the generations have come forward to take ownership of this project on behalf of Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students," says Beth Cogan Fascitelli '80, a trustee and member of The Call to Lead Campaign Executive Committee. "We're pausing to celebrate this unbelievable achievement with the community—but only briefly. We hope more and more alumnae will spread the word."
National Leaders in Philanthropy
Kathleen Loehr, a senior consultant at the Aspen Leadership Group and an expert on women's philanthropy, says Dartmouth alumnae are at the forefront of a national trend toward bolder alumnae involvement in collegiate fundraising.
"For decades, alumnae-led philanthropy set modest goals. Only recently are we seeing alumnae taking on significant philanthropy challenges, particularly in campaigns, and Dartmouth women are unquestionably leaders in this shift," says Loehr.
Exceeding the $25-million mark for Dartmouth Hall is the latest in a series of achievements recorded by Dartmouth alumnae, who are redefining the role of women in higher education philanthropy. The Centennial Circle of Dartmouth Alumnae now has 259 members, each of whom has donated at least $100,000 to go to financial aid through the Dartmouth College Fund or another annual fund. In addition, 78 women have committed to give at least $1 million to date to Dartmouth through The Call to Lead campaign. The campaign goal is for 100 women to give at least $1 million.
All alumnae serving on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, Campaign Executive Committee, and the Dartmouth College Fund Committee have made a gift toward Dartmouth Hall's renovation.
"When we launched The Call to Lead campaign, we knew this ambitious undertaking would strengthen our entire community," says President Philip J. Hanlon '77. "Beginning with the creation of the Centennial Circle, we realized this was a transformative moment in Dartmouth's history, with our alumnae coming together to proudly proclaim their role in shaping the future of the College."
Home to the Humanities
The renewal of Dartmouth Hall, one of the most iconic buildings on campus, will preserve the building's traditional exterior while giving the interior an extensive update to meet the needs of current and future students and faculty.
Classrooms and meeting spaces will be fitted with modern technology and the building will be made accessible to all. Open, flexible spaces will encourage collaboration across the humanities. In addition to housing several foreign language departments, the renovated building will be home to the Leslie Center for the Humanities and to a new writing center. The auditorium, Room 105, will once again become a venue for high-profile gatherings and community discourse.
"For more than two centuries, Dartmouth Hall has represented and embodied the College, serving as its center of its academic life," says Elizabeth Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Honoring the building's remarkable history and embracing the new possibilities that we'll realize through this renovation, the reimagined Dartmouth Hall will produce an intellectual energy that reaffirms its centrality as the crossroads of the campus."
Dupré said she has been particularly moved by the giving of younger women and added that she hopes their participation in Dartmouth Hall's renovation will provide the foundation for them to become regular donors who support the College for many decades.
"So many young alumnae and current students are part of this effort," she says. "If this has engaged them meaningfully early on in their Dartmouth alumnae days, how good is that? This perhaps becomes the spark that lights new bonfires."