Letter from AoA President

April 21, 2008

Dear Dartmouth alumnus or alumna,

I am president of the Dartmouth Association of Alumni, an official College organization comprised of all alumni, whose primary responsibility is conducting the elections that determine the association’s nominees for Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees.

Recently you may have received a letter purporting to be from the Association of Alumni. The College did not send or pay for this letter, nor was it approved by a vote of the leadership of the Association of Alumni. Neither I, nor the full Executive Committee of the association, was consulted about this communication. It was signed by the six members of the association Executive Committee who have sued the College in the name of all alumni in order to halt the Board from implementing changes it deemed necessary to its makeup. I believe that the letter was produced and funded by the same interest groups that are supporting this group’s lawsuit against the College and that supported the proposed legislation (recently defeated) attempting to give the State of New Hampshire control over Dartmouth’s charter.

Among many other falsehoods, the letter from the six members erroneously states that Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees refused to meet with the association’s Executive Committee prior to the Board’s decision in September 2007 to increase the number of trustees from 18 to 26. To the contrary, within hours of our one and only official request to speak with the Board, they agreed to meet with us. The next business day, members of the Board, including Chairman Ed Haldeman ’70, met with the association’s Executive Committee. We had a full and frank discussion and the Board acknowledged our concerns. And, as you may recall, beginning in June 2007, the Board solicited and considered input from thousands of alumni concerning the Board’s structure before issuing their 57-page report to the alumni. The implication that the Board did not actively seek and fully understand alumni sentiment (in its varied complexity) is wrong. In addition, members of the Board frequently have contacted me during the past year in my capacity as president of the association to discuss matters concerning the alumni.

As your president, and as a fellow alumnus, I strongly oppose the lawsuit. I believe it is not the proper way to resolve differences among alumni or between alumni and the College. As your association president, I have repeatedly asked those who sued the College in the name of the association to disclose who is funding the litigation and whether they are alumni. I am told only that it is the Hanover Institute, an anti-administration political action committee, and not whether the money comes from within the Dartmouth family.

Despite the harmful lawsuit pursued by those who sent the letter and the misleading and divisive rhetoric they use, I see great promise ahead for alumni relations with Dartmouth. The Board of Trustees has created a new, permanent committee dedicated to improving alumni-College communications. The Alumni Council, the body representing Dartmouth’s alumni, has created a new Alumni Liaison Committee to ascertain and convey alumni sentiment to the Board of Trustees, and the trustees have committed to working with this group.

Constructive support of and engagement with the College is the way for us all to help the College we love. I trust that you share that belief and that we can work together to keep Dartmouth strong.


William L. Hutchinson ’76

President, Association of Alumni of Dartmouth College