Forty years ago today

I became a member of the Dartmouth family.

Forty years ago today I started classes as a first-year undergraduate student at Dartmouth College. As I headed off to find my Physics, Math, and Geography classes, I surely did not anticipate that I would return, less than a decade later, to join the faculty … or how the years would turn into decades and I would take on increasing responsibilities. It has been truly an honor and a privilege to serve this institution on behalf of current and future students. Read on!

My 1982 Dartmouth ID, which received a new validation sticker each term.
Two of the other Daves preparing for the Dave Trip (92D), Freshman Trips 1982. [Photo by The Aegis]

I arrived in Hanover twelve days earlier, on September 8, 1982, arriving early to attend Freshman Trips – a long-standing program run by the Dartmouth Outing Club to introduce new students to Dartmouth and to the New Hampshire outdoors. After checking in, I found my way to the designated room in Mid-Mass dormitory – where my trip-mates would assemble and spend the first night. As each of us arrived in the room we introduced ourselves – slowly coming to realize that every student assigned to Trip 92D was named Dave! Later, our leader stopped by; although his name was Ed, we gave him the honorary name of “Dave”, just to make it easier.

I’ll tell the full story another time, but the trip was a fantastic experience – beginning and ending at Lincoln Woods Trailhead in the White Mountain National Forest, looping over Mounts Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, Guyot, South Twin, and back – with nights at Guyot Shelter and 13 Falls Tentsite. The weather was fantastic and we moved fast, allowing us several hours for swimming at Franconia Falls (Day 1), 13 Falls (Day 2), and Franconia Falls again (Day 3). Many thanks to our fearless leader and to the four other Daves!

The Dave Trip on West Bond, at sunset.

After we finished the hike, a Trips bus picked us up at the trailhead and brought us to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, where we spent the afternoon climbing Mount Moosilauke. Moosilauke and the Lodge have since become my home away from home and the source of many indelible friendships and memories. My experience with Trips, no doubt, is what led me to dedicate much of my time to the Outing Club, and ultimately to my first administrative role at Dartmouth: 1985 Freshman Trips Director.

Moosilauke Ravine Lodge during Freshman Trips 1982.

Check out the gallery of scanned photos (including some I later retrieved from The Aegis sale of surplus prints) and original documents, including the crumpled and pocket-folded menu for 1982 Trips, including this classic recipe for Mountain Sticky Stew:

PS. Although the name and format of the “Freshman Trips” program has evolved over the years – it is now the First-Year Trips Program – its core spirit remains the same. It has introduced generations of students to Dartmouth since 1937.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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