Launch of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society

To the Dartmouth community,

A year ago, I appointed a task force to study the possibility of developing an energy institute at Dartmouth. Today, I am thrilled to announce the creation of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. This forward-looking center is the result of many hours of hard work put in by a great number of faculty and staff from across the institution. I am thankful for your advice, research, dedication to Dartmouth, and for your support.

There are many to thank, beginning with the original task force members Bob Hansen, Jay Hull, Jon Kull, Chris Levey, Ross Virginia, and Mike Zubkoff. I also owe a debt of thanks to a second group, the task force now meeting to help us find an executive director and begin activities on which to build. Joining Bob, Chris, and Ross in this current group are Rosi Kerr, Erin Mansur, April Salas, Andrew Samwick, and Mukul Sharma.

I also need to give profound thanks to our donors. More than $113 million in private gifts have been committed to name the institute in honor of energy industry leader Arthur L. Irving, including the foundational gift of $80 million from Irving Oil, the Irving family, and their foundation. The College will raise a total of $160 million to fund this institute.

I told you when I arrived at Dartmouth that I wanted to launch a select set of major initiatives to enhance Dartmouth's reputation for taking on some of the world's great challenges. This is one.

With this institute, we will harness the exceptional talent of all of our faculty, staff and our current and future students to advance the knowledge and understanding of energy. Meeting our energy needs is one of the most complex and urgent challenges we face. We need abundant, affordable energy to allow for continued economic growth, particularly in developing nations, so that millions of people can be lifted out of poverty. Yet our global energy systems have led to global warming and climate change. How we produce and provide access to sustainable forms of energy will shape life far into the future. Our success defies simplistic solutions. It requires an approach that integrates science, technology, public policy, geopolitics, ethics, and business. It requires bringing the power and rigor of the liberal arts to bear on this complex problem.

The institute will offer support for faculty and students to elevate research, teaching, and learning. It will provide resources for students, including undergraduate research opportunities; curricular development funds; and create a visible infrastructure that will help us secure new grants. The institute will help our community soar.

Undergraduate and graduate students will be full partners in the work of the institute, building on our rich history of student-faculty collaboration and creating a center of excellence that is distinctly Dartmouth. New research and programs will involve nearly every academic department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and faculty in our professional schools in an integrated, cross-disciplinary manner.

I look forward to working with all of you to build the Irving Institute. I encourage you to read the announcement story on Dartmouth News ( and to visit the institute's website (, where you can see a video ( in which several of our faculty talk about the important work this institute will bring to Dartmouth.


Phil Hanlon '77