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Academic year will emphasize student experience, reconnections with global community
After more than a year of forced distance brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to an 80% vaccination rate among students, faculty, and staff, Dartmouth is celebrating the re-opening of campus and welcoming the entire Dartmouth community back to Hanover with "A Year of Homecoming."
The Year of Homecoming is rooted in the beloved intergenerational tradition of Homecoming Weekend that brings much of the Dartmouth community—students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends—back to campus every fall.
Harnessing the Dartmouth's profound sense of place and dynamic role as a basecamp to the world, A Year of Homecoming will span the 2021-22 academic year and feature events that will allow community members to reconnect with one another and with the campus. All classes and research operations will resume in person, and all faculty and staff will be back on campus, as well.
"The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for everyone," says President Philip J. Hanlon '77. "This year, our first priority will be to renew our relationships with one another and the Dartmouth we know and love, mark the transformative milestones that shaped who we are today, and celebrate the resilience and spirited curiosity that will define who we are tomorrow. We are coming back; we are re-opening—and we want you to come home to Dartmouth."
A Year of Milestones to Celebrate
The Year of Homecoming will feature a variety of on-campus events, in addition to the traditional homecoming, including winter carnival, Green Key, commencement, and reunions. These in-person events will be enhanced with virtual components to ensure that all community members, wherever they live, are able to be part of the experience.
Students will return in the fall to experience time-honored traditions including first-year trips and homecoming, as well as a special series of one-time programs designed to bolster connections after a long period apart and strengthen bonds for those who have not yet had the full Dartmouth experience on campus. The president's office plans to convene a group with representation from across campus focused on planning events for students, faculty, and staff throughout the year. Faculty will participate in house community programs throughout the year. A special grant will offer undergraduates an unlimited opportunity to participate in the Take a Professor to Lunch program to encourage connections between students and Dartmouth's teacher-scholars.
In addition, Dartmouth will celebrate several important anniversaries: 2022 marks 50 years of co-education, the rededication to Native American studies, and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association—all launched during the era of then-president John Kemeny, who served from 1970 to 1981. Special celebrations throughout the year will mark these milestones with campus programs to foster reflection and connection between today's student, faculty, staff, and alumni and encourage participation of the entire community.
"The beginning of an academic year brings with it the thrill of returning to campus and reconnecting with friends and colleagues you may not have seen for a term or more," says Board of Trustees Chair Liz Lempres '83, Thayer '84. "This year that homecoming will be more profound because of what we've experienced during the pandemic. Stepping back on the Green and hearing the familiar toll of the Baker Bells will be more meaningful and emotional than ever before."
Events for Wherever 'Round the Girdled Earth You Roam
While the vaccination rate of students on campus now exceeds 80% and continues to rise, Dartmouth's global community will emerge from the pandemic at different times over the course of the next year. The years-long program will offer remote participation for those who cannot return or who plan to visit campus later in the year when their local conditions have improved.
And extended to all alumni, families, friends, and members of the Upper Valley community is an invitation to enjoy Dartmouth's campus at their leisure, to reconnect with all that the campus and Hanover have to offer.
"This is a year to remember that our strength as an institution relies on our bonds as a community," says Trustee Ellie Loughlin '89. "Every day this year is a day of homecoming—and there is no place like Dartmouth to come home to."
Schedule of Events
More information and an expanded schedule of events for A Year of Homecoming will be available in August 2021. Highlights will include:
First-Year Trips, Summer 2021: Students in the Class of 2025 will learn the Salty Dog Rag and join the Dartmouth student community as the most beloved of orientation traditions resumes. Trips will continue through early September.
Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 8-9, 2021: Homecoming will be back and will include the Dartmouth Night parade and bonfire, home football game, mini reunions, Wearers of the Green induction ceremonies, and informal class gatherings throughout the weekend. Members of the classes of '24 and '25 will be able to enjoy their time at the bonfire.
Fall Family Weekend, Oct. 22-24, 2021: This special weekend is dedicated to welcoming parents and families of the Classes of 2023 and 2024, who did not have the opportunity for a family weekend in the past two years due to the pandemic. Special programming will be scheduled throughout the weekend to welcome families into the Dartmouth community and introduce them to the liberal arts undergraduate program.
West End Festival, May 12–22, 2022: The festival will serve as the grand opening and celebration of the reimagined West End district, bringing together the new Center for Engineering and Computer Science, the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society, and the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship, with Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business. Two weeks of programming will include building dedications and a series of in-person and online programs featuring student and faculty achievement in innovation, design, problem-solving, and leadership.
50th Commemorations Kickoff Winter 2022 (ongoing): The Dartmouth community commemorate the anniversary of women at Dartmouth, rededication of the Native American studies program, and 50 years of BADA.
Commencement Summer 2022: Families and friends will be welcomed to celebrate the commencement of the Class of 2022 on the Green. Members of the Class of 2020 will also celebrate their own commencement. Dates are under review for early summer 2022.
Undergraduate Reunions June 2022: Celebration of back-to-normal reunion events across One Dartmouth. A special series of regional gatherings will convene reunion classes of the past two years for recognition and community.
A Full Year of Digital Programming: While the Year of Homecoming will have many scheduled in-person celebrations, it also will also feature favorite online events, including "Great Issues/New Perspectives," the livestreamed series featuring alumni and faculty from a variety of liberal arts disciplines in engaging and open conversations; and "Short Talks on Big Ideas," which explores faculty members' academic passions. All major on-campus events, including homecoming, reunions, commencement, and building dedications will also have virtual component. Should the need arise for increased caution at in-person gatherings during the year, all scheduled on-campus events will continue in a virtual format.
More information will be available at alumni.dartmouth.edu.