Ric Lewis’ Election Email

The campaign email sent to alumni from Ric Lewis ’84.

Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 17:06:31 -0600
From: Association of Alumni
Subject: First Candidate Email–Richard Lewis ’84

According to procedures set forth by the Balloting Committee, each candidate for alumni trustee may choose to send up to two emails to the alumni body during the balloting period. This email is the first such communication from Richard Lewis ’84.

Comments made by the candidates in these e-mail communications represent their individual perspectives on different issues pertaining to the trustee elections. They have not been edited by the College or the Balloting Committee of the Association of Alumni. While the Committee may contact candidates to discuss any concerns it may have about the accuracy of the text of the email, the candidates have the final decision as to the content of their messages.

Message from Ric Lewis ’84
Candidate for The Board of Trustees

Dear Fellow Alumni,

As you no doubt noticed by now, we, as alumni, will elect two trustees in the election process that began on Monday and will continue through April. I want to call your attention to this election and ask that you find the few minutes it takes to cast your vote.

Historically, only 20 to 25% of us have voted in past Trustee elections. This seems to me to be to an unfortunately small percentage of us given how many of us care for Dartmouth and its future. I think it’s even more important this year as Trustees who are elected in this election to serve eight year terms will join a Board that may be asked to choose a new President of the College during that tenure.

Some of you may remember that I was chosen by the Alumni Nominating Committee to stand election to the Board of Trustees two years ago. While the actual results were not published in detail, I want those of us that supported my candidacy in that election to know that I lost that election by a handful of votes! In fact, I was told it was only 12 votes. So, regardless of your allegiance, please vote! I know very well that every vote counts!

When the Alumni Nominating Committee asked me again this year to consider standing for election again, I agreed because I care deeply about the future of the College and believe that I owe Dartmouth a significant unpaid debt for how my College experience has enriched my life. Most importantly though, I agreed to stand election again because I feel I have witnessed a growing divide between too many of us with whom I am contact regularly and the College and its leadership. Some of this growing divide is based on fact. Some is based on mis-communication or lack of effective communication and some of it is based on a real divergence of views on what’s most important to Dartmouth’s future. I have spoken to a great many of you and I think I understand these issues even better than I did two years ago. I agreed to run again as a candidate in this election because I believe I can play a meaningful role in making the changes that will cure this unnecessary but serious divide.

Below you will find a few thoughts that describe what I believe are among the most important priorities for Dartmouth in the coming years. You will also find my official Personal Statement for the election. My biography can be found on the Alumni Website at http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/trustee/lewis.html.

Additionally, if you have not received your paper ballot* yet or your electronic password to vote on the election website, you can contact the Alumni Help Desk to get instructions and your password at +1 603 646 2258 or by emailing: darthelp@ealumni.com

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my candidacy.

Best Regards,

* Paper ballots should be in your mailbox in a week’s time.

Briefly, here are my priorities for the future of Dartmouth :

* I want to increase the College’s commitment and ability to attract, secure, encourage, measure and reward the most talented and “relevant” educators in the world.

I would like to see Dartmouth do this so well that academics fight to be asked to teach at Dartmouth. I know we already have some spectacular educators at Dartmouth, but we need more, many more. Let’s find them and get them to Dartmouth, measure their passion and effectiveness at teaching and reward them handsomely when they excel at it. Let’s create a “club” that others aspire to: one where our professors (and students!) feel so grateful, supported and well-cared for that they once again become “apostles” spreading the word about the College in the same numbers and with the same passion that has always been the hallmark of the Dartmouth community;

* I want to stem the feeling of disenfranchisement experienced by too many of our alumni and stop the fracturing of alumni support, monetary and otherwise, for the College. It is clear that there’s a well-crafted plan for the future of the College but too many of have felt that we don’t know its specifics and have not had a role in crafting that vision or plan. I don’t see many justifiable reasons for this since we’re asked to provide the bulk of the funding to make it happen. We need to open up the communication, dialogue and planning to a larger group of us (as alumni), stop the disenfranchisement and get all of us (or at least most of us) back onto the same team.

* I want us to stop losing our fair share of the best student and student athletes to schools that are supposedly operating under the same constraints and rules as ourselves. I don’t want to see us fail to admit students because they’re not academically gifted enough for us and find that they got admitted to Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Columbia (and even worse, find that we end up competing against them on the field, court or in the pool!). Equally, I want to be sure that Dartmouth remains a place where students come for excellent academics and to acquire that larger set of life skills that will serve them repeatedly throughout their lives; a place that’s known for students, faculty and alumni that take their success very seriously but themselves far less so. Hasn’t that always been at the core of Dartmouth’s ethos?

* I want to ensure that the rising cost of Dartmouth education does not unduly determine who we attract and admit as students to the College. I like to see us set ourselves some outrageous goals (like guaranteed scholarship funding for all admitted students) like other leading institutions have done. I realize that Dartmouth’s economic situation and that of Princeton and Harvard differ but I believe if you don’t set big goals, you don’t achieve big goals.

Here’s the official version that will get published as part of the Election process. As always, if you have any questions, fire away.

Ric Lewis: Personal Statement:

Those who know me well know that I was the first in my extended family to attend college and my choice of Dartmouth was a relatively naive one. All I was sure about when I visited the College for the first time after admission, was that Dartmouth was exactly what I thought a college should look and feel like. However naive at the time, it remains one of the best choices I have ever made. I understand on a very personal level the impact that the style and type of educational experience provided by Dartmouth can change the course of your life and I want to preserve the best elements of this experience so others benefit from the College in the same ways and in the same magnitude as I did.

There is no doubt that Dartmouth is a prestigious and truly special place in the world. Yet, I’m unsettled at times because I struggle, like more than a few of us, to understand clearly what Dartmouth wants to be truly great at as it continues to evolve: what are our most important goals? What unique status will we hold in higher education?

For me, the priorities that most deserve our focus and investment are two-fold: those that ensure Dartmouth continues to find, attract, admit and support the world’s most qualified and well-r
ounded student population; and those that ensure that these students are provided every opportunity to learn from the most inspired, accomplished and relevant educators in the world.

To accomplish this, my primary focus would be on those initiatives that ensure:

* that the College establishes and maintains an unparalleled commitment to teaching excellence;

* that the size and style of the College is preserved to maintain our intimate and collegial but competitive learning experience;

* that more than our fair share of the world’s best student and student athletes are attracted to, admitted and choose to enroll at Dartmouth;

* that we make immediate improvement to the breadth and quality of communication, dialogue and planning for Dartmouth with what I consider our most important constituents in building the College’s future greatness: our alumni; and

* that we maintain or improve the affordability of a Dartmouth education so that these rising costs do not unduly determine who we attract and admit as students to the College.

Almost all alumni return to Dartmouth to see if it has changed from the Dartmouth they knew and loved. I’m open to that change: new faces, new ideas, new techniques, new rules. But I won’t ever compromise on my commitment to one aspect of “old Dartmouth”: that it remains committed to those values that make it the special place that breeds fierce loyalties among its students and alumni to the College and to each other.

I used to joke with my friends that when I had children they would be able to choose any college, but if they didn’t choose Dartmouth, they would have to pay their own way. I’ve softened by rhetoric, but I still hope that when my daughters get to college age, they will choose Dartmouth.

Ric Lewis
Chief Executive
Curzon Global Partners