Topping Off Ceremony for the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society

President Hanlon marks a major construction milestone for the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society as the final beam is put in place, a celebration known as a "Topping Off" ceremony.

Welcome! Thanks for joining us today as we raise the final beam for the new home of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth.

Four years ago, on a bright, crisp autumn day, we announced the creation of this Institute. We did so to galvanize the intellectual might of this institution around a truly global ambition: to advance an affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy future for the benefit of society.

We dedicated ourselves to this field of interdisciplinary scholarship because we believe it's an area where Dartmouth can have global impact.

  • Indeed, we are a college committed to preparing wise leaders who have the ability to shape our energy future.
  • We are a place where the liberal arts are dynamically engaged with the professional fields of engineering, business, technology, and entrepreneurship, a combination that makes our faculty and students uniquely positioned to formulate innovative solutions for our energy needs and to do so responsibly, ethically and sustainably.
  • We are a community of outsized alumni accomplishment in the diverse fields of energy production, technology, and policy, allowing us to convene global conversations that few others can match.

This is Dartmouth.

In its name, the Institute honors a global leader in the energy field and great friend of Dartmouth—Arthur Irving.

Arthur, his wife Sandra, and their daughter Sarah, a graduate of the College and of Tuck, were moved to help us establish this Institute because of their conviction that there is something inherently special about our students and the power of the Dartmouth community.

Arthur has made a career focused on the highest standard of service and based on a deep-seated interest in people, including those in his community in Saint John and across New Brunswick, Canada. With this Institute, he is helping to create something for the ages with worldwide reach.

We're honored to have Arthur, Sandra, and Sarah Irving with us today, and we're looking forward to hearing from them in just a few moments.

We'll also hear from the inaugural director of the Arthur Irving Institute, Elizabeth Wilson, as well as the project architect Roger Goldstein of Goody Clancy, and students and faculty who are engaged in learning and research through the institute today.

But before I invite Elizabeth to share a few words, let me just say this: There's no site on campus more symbolic of our commitment to solving the global energy challenge and preparing future energy leaders than the Institute's new home. Standing proudly at the end of Tuck Mall, between Thayer and Tuck and only a short walk from all the offerings of the Arts and Sciences, the physical location of the Arthur L. Irving Institute reflects the centrality of its mission to Dartmouth—and to the world.

This Institute is a crossroads—a place for students and faculty from all disciplines to apply their expertise to the study of our energy future —and to embrace the topic of energy and society while expanding the boundaries of knowledge within their fields.

This is a place where students and faculty will come together, inviting alumni and industry leaders into the fold, to take on one of the great challenges facing humankind – how we meet the energy demands of the future in a way that sustains the planet while combatting climate change.  We will examine these issues through a multitude of lenses, including the arts, humanities and health, to name a few, in rigorous pursuit of insights and solutions.

This is our unique ability—and our sincere commitment.

At the same time, the Institute is setting a new standard for responsible building practices at Dartmouth. I'm so proud that this building, for which we'll seek LEED-Platinum certification, will be the most energy-efficient building on campus to date. Every element of its construction and operation is designed to meet the highest environmental standards.

And if we were holding this ceremony in person today, you'd see that we're just steps away from the site of the new Center for Engineering and Computer Science.

Yet what we're creating in the West End of campus is so much more than a set of new buildings—it's a nexus of collaboration…a revolution in how we think, teach, learn, and lead.

Here now to tell you about all the Institute has achieved to date and all that lies ahead is my esteemed colleague, Elizabeth Wilson.


When I first discussed the concept of an energy institute at Dartmouth with Arthur and Sandra Irving, they were immediately engaged. Having seen their daughter Sarah earn both her undergraduate degree and MBA here, they were already familiar with our strengths – namely:

  • Our breadth of expertise and our ability to respond nimbly to complex challenges;
  • Our commitment to experiential learning for all students; and
  • Our willingness to think big and take chances.

And ever since that first discussion, they've been all in.

With the Arthur L. Irving institute already enabling faculty and students to explore the energy space in myriad ways, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Arthur, Sandra and Sarah Irving.


Today's celebration gives us hope and signals our unwavering resolve to serve society with the best of what Dartmouth has to offer. So, I'd like to close by thanking all those who have so generously invested in this enterprise.

Remarkably, the Arthur L. Irving Institute will be realized entirely through philanthropy. To date, we've raised an extraordinary $140 million of the $160 million needed to construct this exceptional facility and to endow a dynamic program of education, research, and outreach.

I especially want to thank Irving Oil, Limited; the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation; and Arthur L. Irving, Sandra Irving, and Sarah Irving for their historic investment and leadership.

And I am equally grateful for the scores of Dartmouth community members who have joined them in gifts large and small to bring us to this exciting juncture.

I'd also like to thank the talented construction crews, architects, and members of our Planning, Design, and Construction shop who have done such an incredible job on the building to date.

In just one more year, I expect we'll be assembled together in person to officially dedicate the new home of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. What a day that will be!

So if you're inspired to help Dartmouth create an institute of singular impact in the field of energy and complete our funding goal before next fall, I invite you to join us.

Dartmouth, like all of society, is negotiating a series of complex challenges in the current moment.

In spite of it all and in the spirit of our 250-year heritage, we remain committed to preparing students who use what they learn here today to shape a better tomorrow. And I can't wait to see the positive impact of this institute's work for generations to come.

Thank you all again for joining us today. And please, stay healthy and safe.