Hood Museum of Art Dedication

Good afternoon! It is such an amazing moment to be here with all of you at today's dedication.

Stunning is the only word to describe this monumental achievement, and grateful is the only word to encapsulate how I feel to be serving as President of Dartmouth upon its completion. The fact that we're unveiling it to the world in our 250th year is kismet.

Make no mistake - Gail and I are by no means experts when it comes to art. But we are moved by art and recognize its profound value, both as an expression of the creator's vision and talent, and as a reflection of time and place, a commentary on society through the artist's eyes.

Yet the Hood has always been more than a place to see great art. It is, at its core, a place to learn from great art.

Indeed, the museum's founding benefactor, Harvey P. Hood, recognized that art is as instructive as it is inspirational. And nothing gives me more pleasure than to see the Hood fulfill the aspiration held by those who initiated the project all those years ago: to establish the Hood as the world's preeminent teaching museum.

The Hood's extensive collection has long been the envy of institutions of higher learning everywhere, yet as a destination on campus, it has always been a bit of a hidden gem. Heck, even finding the front door used to be a formidable challenge!

That changes today!

Today, the gloriously reimagined and expanded Hood boldly claims its place as a crown jewel at Dartmouth.

It sparkles and shines, beckons visitors from the green and beyond, and is as precious and priceless as the artistic works that grace its gallery walls.

Deservedly so, the Hood now has a physical presence that matches the magnitude and majesty of the collection inside. For that, we have a lot of people to thank.

First, I'd like to thank the Hood Board of Advisors for their generosity, vision, and work on behalf of the arts at Dartmouth and the museum, in particular. I especially want to thank:

  • Claire Foerster & Daniel Bernstein;
  • Pete and Winkie Kelsey; and
  • Tom and Gina Russo

Collectively, they've been a driving force behind this project, and we deeply appreciate the leadership role they've played in getting us to this day.

I also want to express my sincerest gratitude to John Stomberg and the staff at the Hood, who went to great lengths not only to prepare for and weather three years of construction, but to carry on with a fantastic slate of programming at the Hood Downtown, ensuring continuity in our community while construction was underway.

And while there are many more people to recognize throughout today's program, I hope you'll indulge me in one more thank you that is extra special to me and to all of us at Dartmouth, and that is to Judy Deitrich Hood and the entire Hood family, many of whom are here to celebrate with us today.

Without the sweeping vision of Judy's father-in-law, Harvey Hood, member of the Great Dartmouth Class of 1918, and the humbling generosity of Judy, Charles, and generations of Hoods that followed, this museum would not exist, let alone hold the level of prominence it does today.

To all of the members of the Hood family, we cannot thank you enough for your enduring legacy and for all that you've done – and continue to do – for Dartmouth.

Perhaps what I cherish most in the renovated and expanded Hood Museum is that so many of Dartmouth's core values are inherent in its design.

It is welcoming, inclusive, and diverse. You'll feel it as soon as you step into the Russo Atrium and see it as you explore the galleries beyond.

It is experiential learning at its best, with dedicated object study rooms that allow students to experience art, first hand, in a way that no other institution can match.

It is a window on the world for all who enter, symbolized by that striking 14' glass aperture you'll find in the Engles Family Gallery, and reflective of our global ambitions.

And it is a project made possible by the generosity and love of our community that has enabled us to thrive for 250 years and will do so for 250 more.

The significance of this project in the life of the college and in the lives of our students cannot be overstated. And I cannot wait for you to regale in the beauty that awaits you inside.