Dartmouth College

From New World Encyclopedia

Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College Baker building.jpg
Motto Vox clamantis in deserto
(The voice of one crying in the wilderness.)
Established December 13, 1769
Type Private
Location Flag of United States Hanover, NH USA
Website www.dartmouth.edu

Dartmouth College is a private, coeducational university located in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. It is a member of the Ivy League and is one of the nine colonial colleges founded before the American Revolution. Its founding mission included the Christianization of Native Americans as well as providing an excellent education to all young people. Originally a men's college, Dartmouth became coeducational in 1972, when women were first admitted into the degree program. Regarded as one of the most innovative of Liberal Arts colleges, Dartmouth offers special programs on Native American, Asian, and black studies, as well as the environment and urban affairs. Its motto, "A voice crying in the wilderness," is a reference to John the Baptist bringing the message of God to the people, as well as to the college's location on what was once the frontier of European settlement.

Dartmouth prides itself on diversity of students, while maintaining high selectivity in academic promise and achievement. The goal of Dartmouth education is to prepares students for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge. However, for Dartmouth to provide the best education to its students, attention must be paid not only to the mastery of knowledge and skills, but also understanding of the heart and spirit of humankind. In that way, it can truly fulfill its motto and bring the "message of God" to its students and through them to the world.


The Charter of Dartmouth College on display in Baker Memorial Library. The Charter was signed on December 13, 1769 on behalf of King George III of Great Britain.

Dartmouth's original purpose was to provide for the Christianization, instruction, and education of "Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land … and also of English Youth and any others."[1] Ministers Nathaniel Whittaker and Samson Occom (an early Native American clergyman) raised funds for the college in England through an English trust among whose benefactors and trustees were prominent English statesmen, including King George III's future Secretary of State for the Colonies in North America, William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, for whom Dartmouth College is named. The fundraising was meant to support Wheelock's ongoing Connecticut institution of 1754, Moor's Indian Charity School,[2] but Wheelock instead applied most of the funds to the establishment of Dartmouth College. Wheelock established a collegiate department within Moor's Charity School in 1768 that he moved to Hanover with the rest of the school in 1770.[3] The College granted its first degrees in 1771, obtaining a seal to affix on them in 1773. Dejected and betrayed, Samson Occom went on to form his own community of New England Indians called Brothertown Indians in Oneida country in upstate New York.[1]

Mission statement and core values

Dartmouth operates according to the following set of six core values:[4]

  • Dartmouth expects academic excellence and encourages independence of thought within a culture of collaboration.
  • Dartmouth faculty are passionate about teaching our students and are at the forefront of their scholarly or creative work.
  • Dartmouth embraces diversity with the knowledge that it significantly enhances the quality of a Dartmouth education.
  • Dartmouth recruits and admits outstanding students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial means.
  • Dartmouth fosters lasting bonds among faculty, staff, and students, which encourage a culture of integrity, self-reliance, and collegiality and instill a sense of responsibility for each other and for the broader world.
  • Dartmouth supports the vigorous and open debate of ideas within a community marked by mutual respect.

These core values are derived from the mission statement, revised in 2007, that represents the ideology of the school. "Dartmouth College educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge."[4]

Honor principle

Dartmouth has a well-established Honor Principle that binds all students to be responsible for each other's learning. Exams are not proctored, take-home exams are common, and students are entrusted with the responsibility not to cheat. "On February 1, 1962, a majority vote of the student body adopted the principle that 'all academic activities will be based on student honor' and thereby accepted the responsibility, individually and collectively, to maintain and perpetuate the principle of academic honor."[5]


Founded in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, with funds partially raised by the efforts of a Native American preacher named Samson Occom, it is the ninth-oldest college in the United States.

Dartmouth was the final colonial college given a royal charter when King George III granted its charter in 1769, mostly as a result of the efforts of Eleazar Wheelock, a Puritan minister, and his patron, Royal Governor John Wentworth. (Queen's College, now Rutgers University, was granted a charter slightly earlier but did not begin operation until after Dartmouth.)

In 1819, Dartmouth College was the subject of the historic Dartmouth College case, in which the State of New Hampshire's 1816 attempt to amend the College's royal charter to make the school a public university was challenged. An institution called Dartmouth University occupied the college buildings and began operating in Hanover in 1817, though the College continued teaching classes in rented rooms nearby.[1] Daniel Webster, an alumnus of the class of 1801, presented the College's case to the Supreme Court of the United States, which found the amendment of Dartmouth's charter to be an illegal impairment of a contract by the state and reversed New Hampshire's takeover of the College. Webster concluded his peroration with the famous and frequently-quoted words, "It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it."[1]

Dartmouth was a men's college until 1972, when women were first admitted as full-time students and undergraduate degree candidates.[6] At about the same time, the college adopted its unique "Dartmouth Plan," described by some commentators as "a way to put 4,000 students into 3,000 beds."[6] Also known as the "D-Plan," it is a schedule of year-round operation, designed to allow an increase in the enrollment (with the addition of women) without enlarging campus accommodations. The year is divided into four terms corresponding with the seasons; students are required to be in residence during their freshman year, sophomore year summer term, and senior year. Although new dormitories have been built since, the number of students has also increased and the D-Plan remains in effect.

Dartmouth Hall, as of 2005.

Dartmouth's motto is "Vox Clamantis in Deserto." The Latin motto is literally translated as "The voice of one crying in the wilderness," but the College administration often translates the phrase as "A voice crying in the wilderness," which, while not technically correct in Latin grammar, attempts to translate the synecdoche of the phrase. The motto is a reference to the Christian Bible's John the Baptist as well as to the college's location on what was once the frontier of European settlement.[7] Richard Hovey's Men of Dartmouth was elected as the best of all the songs of the College in 1896, and today it serves as the school's alma mater, although the lyrics and title have since been changed to be gender-neutral.


Hopkins Center for the Creative and Performing Arts

The Hopkins Center

The Hopkins Center ("the Hop") houses the College's drama, music, film, and studio arts departments, as well as a wood shop, pottery studio, and jewelry studio which are open for use by students and faculty. The building was designed by the famed architect Wallace Harrison, who later modeled Manhattan’s Lincoln Center front façade after the Hopkins Center.[8] Facilities include two recital halls and one large auditorium. It is also the location of all student mailboxes ("Hinman boxes") and the Courtyard Café dining facility. The Hop is connected to the Hood Museum of Art and the Loew Auditorium, where films are shown. The Hopkins Center is an important New Hampshire performance venue.

Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center is a center for interaction and discussion on public policy. Dedicated in 1983, the center stands in tribute to Nelson A. Rockefeller (Class of 1930). Known on campus as Rocky, the Center provides students, faculty, and community-members opportunities to discuss and learn about public policy, law, and politics. Sponsoring lunch and dinner discussions with prominent faculty and visitors, the Center aides provides close interaction and discussion.

The Rockefeller Center has established a Public-Policy Minor at Dartmouth College and an exchange program on political economy with Oxford University (Keble College). In addition, the Center provides grants to students engaged in public-policy research and/or activities.

The Rockefeller Center's Policy Research Shop is an innovative program that provides research upon the request of elected policy makers and their legislative staff throughout the year. The Center hires students to work under the direction of faculty members, who then produce reports that are typically between 5–15 pages long. The intent is to produce useful information in a timely fashion so that the information can be used in legislative deliberations.

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding was established in 1982 to honor Dartmouth's twelfth president (1945–70), John Sloan Dickey. The purpose of the Dickey Center is to "coordinate, sustain, and enrich the international dimension of liberal arts education at Dartmouth." To this end, the Dickey Center is committed to helping Dartmouth students prepare for a world in which local, national and global concerns are more strongly linked than ever. It strives to promote quality scholarly research at Dartmouth concerning international problems and issues, with an emphasis on work that is innovative and cross-disciplinary. And it seeks to heighten public awareness and to stimulate debate on pressing international issues. The Dickey Center also hosts several student-run organizations, such as the Dartmouth World Affairs Council (WAC) or the War & Peace Fellows, which foster undergraduates' awareness of international affairs. Several grants and awards are also administered by the Dickey Center, including the prestigious Chase Peace Prize, conferred annually to the senior thesis that contributes most significantly to an understanding of the causes of peace and war.

Aquatic facilities

Alumni Gym hosts two pools, the Karl Michael Competition Pool and the Spaulding Pool. Together they comprise a total of fifteen 25-yard lanes and two 50-meter lanes. The Karl Michael Pool, constructed in 1962, was designed by former Dartmouth College Men's Varsity Swim Team Captain R. Jackson Smith, class of 1936. In 1970, it was formally named the Karl Michael Pool, after the coach of the men's varsity swim team from 1939–1970. The pool features eleven 25-yard lanes, with a special bulkhead that can be lowered to create two 50 meter lanes. The pool area has a seating area for 1,200 spectators. The Michael Pool hosted the 1968 Men's NCAA Championships, in which several American records were set. The pool also features one and three meter diving boards, with a water well 12 to 14 feet deep.

Adjacent is the Spaulding Pool. Spaulding Pool is a 10 by 25 yard pool constructed during 1919 and 1920 and designed by Rich & Mathesius, Architects. The Spaulding Pool is one of the oldest continuously operating pools in the United States. The pool's interior walls feature original encaustic tiles designed by noted ceramist Leon Victor Solon, although a later mezzanine housing locker rooms has obscured some of the designs. The pool has seating for several hundred spectators. Both pools are used by the Men's and Women's Varsity Swim Teams, as well as a host of other programs within the college.

Housing clusters

As opposed to ungrouped dormitories or residential colleges as employed at such institutions as the University of Chicago and Yale and Rice University, Dartmouth has several housing clusters located throughout campus. The College experienced a slight housing crunch due to the unusually high yield of the class of 2005. Partially as a result, the College erected temporary housing, and two new dormitory clusters were completed in the fall of 2006. Also since 2006, the College guaranteed housing for students during their sophomore year, in addition to their freshman year.


Dartmouth hosts many athletic venues. Alumni Gymnasium, the center of athletic life at Dartmouth, is home of the Dartmouth College aquatic facilities, basketball courts, squash and racquetball courts, indoor track, fencing lanes as well as a rowing training center. The College also maintains the Memorial Field football stadium, Edward Leede Arena (basketball), and Rupert C. Thompson Arena (hockey and figure skating), as well as a rowing boat house and a tennis complex. The Boss Tennis Complex was recently awarded national tennis center of the year.

Dartmouth's original sports field was the Green, where students played cricket during the late eighteenth century and Old Division Football during the 1800s; some intramural games still take place there.


Dartmouth is governed by a Board of Trustees. The board includes the College president and the state governor (both ex officio), eight trustees appointed by the board itself (Charter Trustees), and eight trustees (Alumni Trustees) nominated for board appointment by members of the Association of Alumni of Dartmouth College, a body created in 1854 that represents over 60,000 alumni. (Specifically, trustee candidates may be nominated by an alumni council or by alumni petition, then an election is held, and finally the winner is, by longstanding agreement, appointed to the board by all Trustees. Three recent petition candidates have become Trustees in this manner.)

Student life


Dartmouth's varsity athletic teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, in the eight-member Ivy League conference. Some teams also participate in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). Dartmouth athletes compete in 34 varsity sports. In addition to the traditional American team sports (football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey), Dartmouth competes in many others including track and field, sailing, tennis, rowing, soccer, skiing, and lacrosse. Many are highly competitive at the national level, earning berths into NCAA championships and tournaments.

As is mandatory amongst all Ivy League schools, Dartmouth College does not offer athletic scholarships. Despite this restriction, it is home to many student athletes. As many as three-quarters of Dartmouth undergraduates participate in some form of athletics, and one-quarter of Dartmouth students play a varsity sport at some point during their undergraduate years. The percentage of varsity athletes and varsity sports are thus disproportionately greater than at many much larger colleges in the country.

In addition to varsity sports, Dartmouth students may also participate in several club sports, such as rugby, water polo, figure skating, men's volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and cricket. These teams generally perform well in their respective regional and national competitions. The figure skating team has performed particularly well in recent years, winning the national championship in four consecutive seasons.

Since the 1920s, the Dartmouth College athletic teams have been known by their unofficial nickname "The Big Green." The nickname is based on students' adoption of a shade of forest green ("Dartmouth Green") as the school's official color in 1866, leading to the nickname "The Green" soon after. Until the early 1970s, teams were also known as the "Indians," and athletic uniforms bore a representation of an Indian warrior's head. That representation and similar images, called collectively "the Indian Symbol," as well as the practice of a cheerleader dressing in Indian costume to serve as a mascot during games, came under criticism. During the early 1970s the Trustees declared the "use of the [Indian] symbol in any form to be inconsistent with present institutional and academic objectives of the College in advancing Native American education."[9] Some alumni and a minority of students, as well as the conservative student newspaper, The Dartmouth Review, have sought to return the Indian symbol to prominence, but no team has worn the symbol on its uniform in decades. (Representations of Native Americans do remain on the Dartmouth College Seal, the Dartmouth Coat of Arms (see above), and the weather vane of Baker Library.)

Student groups

Dartmouth hosts a large number of student groups, covering a wide range of interests. Students are commonly involved in more than one group on campus. As of 2006, the College hosted at least 11 literary publications, eight a capella groups, ten other musical groups, and over 200 organizations recognized by the "Council of Student Organizations." Notable student groups include The Dartmouth, America's oldest college newspaper and the campus's independent daily (established in 1799), The Dartmouth Review, an independent conservative newspaper, the Dartmouth Free Press, a liberal newspaper, The Dartmouth Film Society, the nation's oldest college film society, and award-winning a cappella groups like The Dartmouth Aires, The Dartmouth Cords, and The Dartmouth Dodecaphonics.

Greek life

Dartmouth College is host to many Greek organizations and a large percentage of the undergraduate student body is active in Greek life. In 2000, nearly half of the undergraduate student body belonged to a fraternity, sorority, or coeducational Greek house. First year students are not allowed to join Greek organizations, however, so the actual fraction of Dartmouth students that become active in Greek life during their studies at the College exceeds half of the student body. Dartmouth College was among the first institutions of higher education to desegregate fraternity houses in the 1950s, and was involved in the movement to create coeducational Greek houses in the 1970s. In the early 2000s, campus-wide debate focused on whether or not the Greek system at Dartmouth should become "substantially coeducational," but most houses retain single-sex membership policies. The college has an additional classification of social/residential organizations known as undergraduate societies. These organizations are not part of the official Greek system, but serve a similar role on campus.


Technology plays an important role in student life, as Dartmouth has been ranked as one of the most technologically-advanced colleges in the world (as in Newsweek's ranking of "Hottest for the Tech-Savvy").[10] BlitzMail, the campus e-mail network, plays a tremendous role in social life, as students tend to use it for communication in lieu of cellular phones or instant messaging programs.[11] Although there are more than 12,000 computers available for use on campus, student reliance on BlitzMail (known colloquially as "Blitz," which functions as both noun and verb) has led to computer terminals being installed all around campus, so that students can check their "blitz" in between classes or while away from their rooms.[12]

Dartmouth was also notable as the first Ivy League institution to offer entirely ubiquitous wireless internet access.[10] With over 1,300 wireless access points, the wireless network is available throughout all college buildings as well as in most public outdoor spaces.[13] Other technologies being pioneered include college-wide Video-on-Demand and VoIP rollouts.[14][13]

Native Americans at Dartmouth

The charter of Dartmouth College, granted to Eleazar Wheelock in 1769, proclaims that the institution was created "for the education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land in reading, writing and all parts of Learning … as well as in all liberal Arts and Sciences; and also of English Youth and any others."[15] The funds for Dartmouth College were raised primarily by the efforts of a Native American named Samson Occom.

While Dartmouth's students since have mainly been white, the college still claims to have a long history of involvement with Indian education. In 1970, the school established Native American academic and social programs as part of a "new dedication to increasing Native American enrollment."[15]

Wheelock, a Congregationalist dedicated to converting Indians to Christianity, was head of Moor's Indian Charity School (1753) prior to establishing Dartmouth. It was this institution that Mohegan preacher Samson Occom raised money for; Occom was bitterly disappointed to see Wheelock transform it into an English college.[1]


Dartmouth is home to a variety of traditions and celebrations:

  • Homecoming and Dartmouth Night: Each fall term, a bonfire is constructed by the freshman class, a tradition stemming from the late 1800s. Freshman run around the bonfire in accordance with their class year (for example, the class of 2009 ran 109 laps).
  • Winter Carnival: Started in 1909 by the Dartmouth Outing Club to promote winter sports, this celebration includes a snow sculpture on the Green and a variety of outdoor events. Winter Carnival was the subject of the 1939 motion picture comedy Winter Carnival, starring Ann Sheridan.
  • Green Key Weekend: The spring Green Key Weekend began in the 1920s with a formal function related to the Green Key Society, but the importance of the Society in the weekend is largely diminished. Green Key is today a weekend devoted to campus parties and celebration.
  • Tubestock: Tubestock was an unofficial summer tradition in which the sophomore class used wooden rafts and inner tubes to float on the Connecticut River. Begun in 1986, Tubestock met its demise in 2006, when Hanover town ordinances and a lack of coherent student protest conspired to defeat the popular tradition.
  • Fieldstock: The class of 2008, during their summer term on campus in 2006, attempted to replace the now-defunct Tubestock with Fieldstock. The student government coordinated with the college to organize a day of events in the Bema (a raised platform of stone from which orators in ancient Greece addressed the citizens and courts of law, now a tongue-in-cheek acronym for Big Empty Meeting Area) and on the Green, including a free barbecue, live music, and the revival of the 1970s and 1980s tradition of racing homemade chariots around the Green. Unlike Tubestock, Fieldstock was college funded and supported, though whether or not it becomes a true college tradition will depend on future classes.
  • Freshman trips: Prior to matriculation, the Dartmouth Outing Club sponsors four-day freshman outing trips for incoming freshman. Each trip concludes at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.
  • Dartmouth Pow-Wow: A two-day ceremony is marked by traditional dancing, crafts, music, and art, held every spring since 1973. The Pow-Wow is organized by the student group Native Americans at Dartmouth.

Notable alumni

Notable graduates and students at Dartmouth include:

  • Salmon P. Chase—Chief Justice of the United States
  • Robert Frost—poet who won four Pulitzer Prizes
  • Henry Paulson, Jr.—U.S. Secretary of the Treasury; Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs
  • Nelson Rockefeller—Vice President of the U.S.
  • Theodor Seuss Geisel—the children's author better known as Dr. Seuss
  • Daniel Webster—U.S. Senator from New Hampshire and U.S. Secretary of State


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Francis Childs, A Dartmouth History Lesson for Freshman.
  2. Dick Hoefnagel and Virginia L. Close, Eleazar Wheelock's Two Schools. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  3. Dick Hoefnagel with Virginia L. Close, Eleazar Wheelock and the Adventurous Founding of Dartmouth. College (Hanover, NH: Durand Press for Hanover Historical Society, 2002).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dartmouth College, Dartmouth's Mission Statement, Office of the President. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  5. Dartmouth College, Dartmouth's Honor Principle. Retrieved February 26, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Economic Expert, Dartmouth College. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  7. Dartmo: The Buildings of Dartmouth College, Bartlett Hall’s Wheelock Memorial Window. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  8. Tamara Steinert, The Hopkins Center Turns 40.
  9. Dartmouth Sports, The 'Big Green' Nickname. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Barbara Kantrowitz, America's 25 Hot Schools. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  11. Jennifer Garfinkel, Cell phones make inroads on Blitz-centric College campus, The Dartmouth. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  12. Dartmouth College, The Basics About Dartmouth. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Susan Knapp (May 2005), Wireless Network Facts, Dartmouth College Computer Services.
  14. Susan Knapp (May 2005), Phones, television and computers converge at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Dartmouth College, About the Native American Program. Retrieved February 12, 2007.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Glabe, Scott L. Dartmouth College: Off the Record College Prowler, 2005. ISBN 1596580380
  • Hoefnagel, Dick. Eleazar Wheelock and the Adventurous Founding of Dartmouth College. Hanover, NH: Durand Press for Hanover Historical Society, 2002. ISBN 978-0970832429
  • Hughes, Molly K. and Susan Berry. Forever Green: The Dartmouth College Campus—An Arboretum of Northern Trees. Enfield Books, 2000. ISBN 1893598012

External links

All links retrieved January 25, 2024.


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