Matriculation 2020

A message from President Hanlon to members of the Class of 2024 as they matriculate at Dartmouth.

Greetings!  Welcome to Parkhurst and to the office I call home.  In a normal year, you would be gathered here in person with your freshman floor-mates.  This year, so much is different, including this matriculation.

First, I want you to know that my door is always open.  Just because the word "Administration" is engraved above the entrance to the building, that doesn't mean that Parkhurst is a place reserved only for faculty and staff.  To the contrary, we're here for you

I have open office hours every week. No topic necessary. This term, I'll hold them by zoom – just call or e-mail my office to make an appointment.  And I look forward to the day, in the not so distant future, when I can once again welcome you to my office in person!   

As you eagerly anticipate your first week of classes at Dartmouth, I ask you to stop, and think for a moment: why did you choose Dartmouth?

As you know, I chose Dartmouth twice—once as a student and again as an administrator.  As a student, the decision was easy.  I was on a College tour with my mom, visiting Dartmouth because of its outstanding academic reputation.  We drove across the Ledyard Bridge, up the hill and I looked out over the Green and the majesty of Baker Tower.  And I knew in an instant that this was it.  This was the place where I wanted to spend my next four years.  It was meant to be.  And when the opportunity arose, many decades later, to serve Dartmouth as its President, I jumped at the chance because it was an institution that I love, an institution that transformed me into the person I am today.  

You elected to be here for many different reasons…reasons as diverse as our campus community and each of them perfectly valid.  Those reasons comprise your collective expectations of us, and I can assure you that we are committed to doing our very best to meet and exceed every one.

But today, I want to remind you that Dartmouth also chose you.  And we did so because there was something about each of you—beyond all of your academic and extracurricular achievements to date—that led us to believe you have the capacity to become citizen leaders. 

A "citizen leader" … someone who is kind and courageous … who acts boldly and with integrity…who can look outward as well as inward … who is committed to making a positive difference in every community of which they are a part.

That brings me to my personal expectations of you.  Without a doubt, I expect you to perform well academically – make no mistake, intellectual growth and learning are why you are here.  But I also expect you to contribute to a vibrant campus community and to help and look after one another. 

There will be lots of opportunities for you to do this in your physical and virtual classrooms, in your living quarters, on the athletic and artistic stage, and in other campus settings—as well as, of course, in the broader Hanover community.  Take advantage of them all!  Doing so will help you hone your skills as citizen leaders at Dartmouth, learning that will prepare you to become citizen leaders of the world.

Over the next four years, I pledge to do everything I can to ensure that Dartmouth lives up to your expectations.  I know you'll reciprocate and live up to mine. 

I look forward to getting to know you during your time at Dartmouth, to supporting you in whatever way I can, and to watching the remarkable growth you're about to undergo. So, please make it a point to share your experiences along the way, and I promise to do the same.

Welcome to Dartmouth, and have a great Fall term.