The Great Class of Dartmouth 1966
The Road Continues...

Address to the Class of 1966
at the 50th Reunion Class Dinner
June 10, 2016
Delivered by Martha J. Beattie ’76, Vice President for Alumni Relations

Thank you, Bob. It’s funny. If someone had said that I would come to Dartmouth and fall in love with a guy on a bubble gum card, I would probably have said — I don’t think so. But marrying my Dartmouth classmate and having some amazing experiences in the world of sports certainly has kept life interesting.

Standing here, in front of one of the most beautiful settings in the world for many of us, speaking to a group of people whom I admire greatly, allows me to reflect on the incredible privilege I have serving Dartmouth in my role of VP for Alumni Relations. Thank you for inviting me to join you tonight to celebrate the 50 years since the Class of 1966 was in this very space being handed your diplomas.

As Bob Lasher stated in his remarks at Moosilauke on Thursday night - greatness happens when there is great leadership, and I could not agree more. I want to start by thanking the great leadership of the Class of 1966. Please join me in saluting your Class President Al Keiller.

I keep telling him that he needs to be sure that he enjoys this weekend along with all the rest of you. Together, let’s all make sure that happens!

And heartfelt thanks to your Reunion planning chairs Jim Lustenader and Bob Serenbetz, and their fellow reunion giving committee members “Budge” Gere and Bob Spence. And last but not least, thanks to Doug Hill, again along with Jim Lustenader, your Bunkhouse Advisory Committee Members.

It has been a delightful challenge to think about what words I wanted to share with you tonight. As I thought about 1966, the College and the country, and 2016, the College and the country, I saw some remarkable parallels.

Obviously, these years were and are milestone years for you, the great class of ’66, in terms of your Dartmouth experience. And I see that both times represent a moment when three things were same.

  1. There was political and social unrest that was prevalent across the country and it was making an impact on many college campuses including Dartmouth.
  2. The decade that followed 1966, and the decade that will follow 2016, was, and I believe will be, a ten year period of transformative and innovative change, under great leadership.

    These decades, 50 years apart, share a laser focus on maintaining the great strengths that have long defined our College and aspirations and innovations that will position it for the future.

    The changes from 1966 to 1976 — the year I was standing in this very space receiving my diploma— secured Dartmouth’s place among the great academic institutions in the world.

    It allowed Dartmouth to serve the entire population of the world, as it brought women to Dartmouth - perhaps one of the most historic changes for the College ever but certainly my favorite - and equally important it brought some of the world’s finest teacher scholars to Dartmouth, setting the course for the unique position we hold today.

    We occupy that rare space where the best teaching faculty in the world are fully accessible to their students, and full partners with them in learning.

    And at the same time, along with their students, are doing cutting edge research, solving the world’s problems as your president, John Sloan Dickey, instructed us all to do. President Dickey, as you may know, is credited with raising the College to a much greater caliber of academic excellence during his presidency, what at that time was termed “university caliber excellence”. Obviously, that is all how you came to be accepted to attend Dartmouth. This was an aspiration that was then bequeathed to President Kemeny in 1970.

    So too, for the next 7 to 10 years, President Hanlon is focusing on innovative change that grows our areas of strength but redefines some of our basic practices, particularly in the area of academic excellence, and in bringing greater diversity of all kinds to our campus.

    Our peers are upping their game across the world and we must too. This will ensure that Dartmouth continues to maintain its elite stature in academia and to be one of the top ten most enduring institutions in the world, a title given to it by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton just a few years ago.

    The only other academic institution on that list of enduring institutions was Oxford, and on that list we are in the company of the American Constitution and the Rolling Stones! And we want to stay there!

    So what is the third thing that is the same, both in 1966 and 2016? 1, we have some political and social unrest that is creating disruption on campuses today and 2, we have a decade of change.

  3. It is the Class of 1966, and your understanding that better only comes with change. You have been forward looking in all that you have done and do, and you have a long history of bringing people together. Fascinating — you represent both leadership and innovation — the essence of these decades following ’66 and ’16.

Your class projects of the first electronic scoreboard for Memorial Field, the web cams, the Class of 1966 Lodge, the just dedicated spectacular Class of 66 bunkhouse, which is extraordinarily beautiful and superbly functional — a legacy created by all of you the next 100 years and more - your Dickey Fellow scholarships - all of these are truly “Dartmouth Green” endeavors but with a twist of modern thinking.

They represent remarkable service and commitment to Dartmouth, along with a never forgotten purpose of fun and fellowship.

A perfect example of this — and what has brought so many back for this special night in front of Baker tower — is the original and visionary thinking that had the class investing in zero coupon bonds long ago and bringing classmates back for this core reunion for free.

Treasurer Bill Higgins — on the job from 1991 — 2001 — started saving for this event long ago. Thank you, Bill.

And I thank you all for being the Innovative thinkers who “get Dartmouth” and who totally and completely get the power of being together…

Thank you again for inviting me to be part of your togetherness this weekend. I hope it is as memorable as this weekend was 50 years ago when you began your remarkable journey of showing generations of Dartmouth students how to be alumni of Dartmouth College.

With gratitude and admiration,
Martha J. Beattie ’76
Vice President for Alumni Relations