Five years ago,
I had business near Hanover.
Having not been back to Dartmouth in 20 years, with trepidations mentioned below,
I journeyed onto the campus; whereupon I literally stumbled onto my Class of 1964's 35th Class Reunion. Though not a part
of it (i.e. I hadn't pay), I had a brief, but good time. And, despite my distance from my class, I was treated very well by
those who remembered me.
INTERESTINGLY, I learned through a conversation with an very active classmate
and fraternity brother, that I, along with 30-33% of our class (about the same % for most other classes), am considered a
"DISENFRANCHISED" Class Member.
"HOW AMUSING," I mused. To disenfranchise a person is "to strip them of a right,
privilege, status, or franchise." But, this definition expresses more than words; it betrays an attitude.
"HOW TELLING," I though, that THE COLLEGE... which chose to inculcate
its thinking and foist its perceived disenfranchising power onto the Classes by economically squeezing them into collecting
Class Dues, a good portion of which goes to pay for The College's own "Dartmouth Alumni Magazine"... viewed ONE THIRD OF ITS
ALUMNI in this manner.
CLASSES TAKE NOTE: You have no dog this fight. You never were the
franchisor. You never received the "Franchise Fee." And, therefore, your should be free to enjoy all classmates,
not required to "goon" them over a publication.
IN ESSENCE, The College now disenfranchises alumni over its too-costly, "coffeetable"
publication, whose gloss remains unsupported by adequate advertising to provide alumni with a controlled circulation.
So, rather than connecting with their "disenfranchised"... The College severs them, thus assuring their final drift into
"DARTMOUTH UNDYING!" I think not.
HEY... LISTEN UP! My parents paid FULL TUITION for my education. Call it
what one wants; but, they bought for me a FRANCHISE with just ONE College stipulation - THAT I GRADUATE - not that I
pay an ANNUAL "DUE," (i.e., a demand) to remain a bona fide franchisee enjoying full privilege and enjoyment.
I didn't realize it five years ago, but I do now that my destiny -- IF ANY --
with Dartmouth will be realized through this website; that my contribution to The College will not be in the form of money,
fame, and fuggedaboud-da-buildin'.
My contribution will be to give voice to the DISENFRANCHISED PEOPLE OF
ALL CLASSES, who most likely have much to offer The College, though it never solicits their real opinions.
Certainly, no one FROM THE COLLEGE, has ever really asked me of "my Dartmouth" experience and/or its value,
So, here's some self-disclosure: First
the bad news...
Dartmouth wasn't my first choice, the United States Military Academy was.
But, I missed the appointment. Having anticipated West Point throughout high school, I was fractured...
even considered attending a military prep to await another year. Still, I along with a high school
friend, who also didn't have Dartmouth, but Union as his first pick, somehow conjured a "jump together" pack.
We entered the Class of 1964.
To say that I didn't bloom at Dartmouth would be a gross understatement.
I shrunk! From straight As, athlete/scholar, and captain of my high school football, I plummeted to a non-participating
D student (as in grade, not Dartmouth) who had to retake "comps" to escape the Hanover Plain with my parchment following
by mail. And, unless I have totally repressed the facts, I never even made a Probation List! Moreover...
get this... my class photo was excluded from The Aegis that was published weeks, even months, before
"comps." Coincidence... or an Oliver Stone conspiracy. Who cares... It's history.
The 40 years since graduation have offered me time to reflect on
my 4 years. In hindsight, Dartmouth and I were mismatched from the start; we should have never
come together. But, we did. And that, was MY MISTAKE. I had Yale in my pocket.
During my Freshman Year, there was talk among freshmen of transferring out.
Some did. MY MISTAKE was that I did not. And, that remained MY ON-GOING MISTAKE, though The College
should have seen the problem through my grades.
Now the Good News...
Through a remarkable twist of fate, a graduate in the Class of
'65, Mike Gonnerman -- a total stranger to me back then, but close friend now -- invited
me to assist him in his Class' Alumni Website. Subsequently, I have found myself looking
through campus pictures, re-sizing logos, reading alumni activities, and otherwise "touching" the College... all a process
that is drawing me "distantly closer" to The College.
What's the translation of "distantly closer?" Simply this. I
will never be able to generate the bonds that active alums have with the school. But, for better
AND worse, Dartmouth is a part of my life. And like other parts of my awake life, I'd like to optimize this
Today... this means "RE-FRANCHISING" the 33% of the alumni that The College
has written off in such little ways as not publishing the Alumni Magazine online.
Oh sure, The College still sends us mail and solicitations for renewed franchise
fees i.e., Gifts, or Endowments... BUT THE COLLEGE DOESN'T ASKS US WHY WE FEEL THE WAY THAT WE DO. It might be
astonished if it did. It might also be astonished that many alumni watch The College without ever being seen or
heard. Silence is not necessarily disinterest. Disappointment, perhaps.
I believe in Quadrant Theory... you know, graphing one orientation on the X axis
against another on the Y axis. So, I also believe that 25% of visitors to this site will mostly agree with me (or a
contributor's view), because we share the exact same quandrant... another 50% will partially agree because we share an
'X" or "Y" element... and the 25%, who are opposite my quandrant, will send me/us "hate" mail.
With time, exposure, and contributions from alums, students, plus others
who use this site... we'll all see if "My Dartmouth," of which there are tens of thousands
franchisees, becomes relevant to The College.
Why cry out in the wilderness when one can post his or her cry worldwide
within this site?
"VOX CLAMANTIS IN DESERTO"