50th Anniversary of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association

President Hanlon addresses the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association (BADA) on its 50th Anniversary.

Good evening. It's great to have you back on campus for this special weekend to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of BADA. What an important milestone! Thank you all for being here, and welcome home!

We are incredibly proud of the contributions you've made both to our campus and to the world beyond throughout your distinguished careers. 

Indeed, the profound impact of so many Black alumni of Dartmouth is an inspiration to us all.  From the pioneering biologist E.E. Just, to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, to acclaimed television showrunner Shonda Rhimes and respected Wall Street executive Grace Chionuma…just to name a few…Dartmouth's Black graduates have risen to leadership positions in nearly every area of human endeavor.

And so many of you have given your time and talents in service to this institution. You've served as Trustees, as Alumni Councilors, as Class Officers and provided an incredible network of support for generations of students that followed. You've worked to make Dartmouth a better place.

Yet we all know that Dartmouth is a human institution and as such, it sometimes soars and sometimes disappoints. 

There have been many times, throughout our history and to this very day, when we've fallen short of our aspirations on the diversity, equity and inclusivity front. Too often still, students are not safe from sexual violence in our social spaces.  And faculty wish for a home for Black Intellectual life.  What's more, faculty, staff and especially students are unsure of where to turn for support. 

When we fall short in these ways, you motivate us to act. Your advocacy, guidance, and leadership have made a meaningful difference in our efforts to make the Dartmouth experience more accessible, welcoming and supportive for all.

You've helped inspire the generosity of our community through the Call to Lead campaign, and together we have made the highest level of investment in financial aid in institutional history. That includes the establishment of our extraordinary Trailblazers Scholarship Program in honor of pioneering Black Americans, Native Americans, and women from Dartmouth history.

You've supported a significantly expanded First-year Student Enrichment Program for first-gen students and helped fund our E.E. Just Program, which is designed to increase the number of Dartmouth students from underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Its community-based approach has nearly doubled the rate of retention for Black, Hispanic and Native American students completing degrees in STEM at Dartmouth.

And with focused effort, you've helped us make notable strides on recruitment and retention of faculty of color, with 24% of faculty across the institution currently identifying as people of color, up from 17.5% just a decade ago.

But we aspire to go beyond 24%, so last spring, we committed to reallocating 15 existing faculty lines – three per year for each of the next five years – towards a cohort hiring program for BIPOC faculty and faculty who study racial justice, systemic racism and inequality. 

And with a full year left to go in the campaign, we are focused squarely on raising the funds needed to support the Mellon-inspired early career fellowships for faculty of color and to pilot a new Center for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life on campus. This center will serve as a home for Black scholarly life at Dartmouth while also fostering dialogue and community engagement on the impact of anti-Black racism, which persists in our nation and society as the tragic events in Buffalo remind us so vividly.  

These are just a few examples of our efforts to build a more just and equitable campus for future generations…not in words, but in actions. In this work, you have been steadfast partners and I cannot thank you enough for your support.

So as we celebrate 50 years of the Black Alumni at Dartmouth Association, let us look ahead to the next 50 with clear-eyed understanding of how far we still have to go and excitement for the progress that's still to come.

On behalf of everyone at Dartmouth, I want to extend my sincerest thanks to:

  • Ricki Fairley '78, Tee Lotson '82, and the amazing group of volunteers they've engaged in planning this reunion over the last two years (and for anyone who's not heard it, I would strongly recommend Ricki's inspiring podcast as part of the 50 for 50 series);
  • Your BADA leadership, including president Karim Marshall '03 and president-elect Maria Cole '84; 
  • My distinguished colleague and co-host of this reception, Shontay Delalue; and of course
  • All of you.

Thank you for always pushing our beloved College on the Hill forward and for being here to celebrate this very special reunion. 

I wish you a weekend full of good times, good friends and the inspiration and strength that comes from the Dartmouth fellowship as we look to a bright future ahead. 

Here now to offer a special toast to all of you is an esteemed leader in her field, a fellow member of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, and a proud graduate of the great Dartmouth Class of 1985 and Geisel '89: Dr. Joyce Sackey.