Spalding Named Vice President for Alumni Relations

An email sent out to all alumni this afternoon announces that David Spalding ’76 has been appointed Dartmouth’s Vice President for Alumni Relations and will take over that position in October.

Spalding’s career started in Finance, with Chase, and continued through the First National Bank of Chicago, GE Capital, Lehman Bros., and the Cypress Group. For all the details, see the College’s press release. Notably, Spalding is now Chairman of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York—no minor position in a city of big philanthropy.

The chief goal of the Alumni Relations, of course, is to increase alumni giving. Under that come several secondary goals, such as maintaining goodwill and building alumni involvement in current goings-on.

It is no secret that large numbers of alumni—both recent alumni and alumni going back to classes from the 1950s and 1960s—are upset at the College’s recent course, though, to be sure, relations have improved over the past year or so as the College has seemingly backed away from several of its earlier, more radical proposals, such as putting an end to student fraternities and sororities. As results from the past two Trustee elections show, a large portion of the alumni base rejects the status quo. Relative to what’s possible, this must impact alumni giving.

To a large extent, however, Alumni Relations’ hands are tied—it cannot change the policies that have caused many alumni to delay their donations or withhold them entirely. That power rests only in the hands of the Trustees.

Given his background, Spalding is a big catch for the College, but it is not clear what he will be able to do to soothe alumni discontent. Do you have any suggestions—perhaps fewer lengthy letters or better-timed phone calls (how do they always ring when I’m sitting down for a drink?!)? Post them below, and perhaps word will make its way to the Vice President Elect.

Here’s mine: I like the pictures, but the Life-meets-Pravda-style reporting in Dartmouth Life makes me suspicious that the College is up to no good each time I read it. Take this:

Jhilam Biswas ’05 and Shivani Parmar ’05 tend to finish each other’s sentences. “Where I have weaknesses,” says Biswas, “she has strengths, and vice versa.” Biswas is the founding director of the Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health, and Parmar is editor-in-chief of the Coalition’s journal, Standpoints
What lies behind this emerging impulse to address global health issues? “Everyone’s going to get sick at some point,” says Parmar. “The difference is that we live in a world where individual illness can quickly translate into a massive public health issue.”

That just sounds…so sinister