I recently came across some photographs in an old photo album, photos I took at Dartmouth when I was a high-school junior touring colleges around the northeast. They are from the summer of 1981; although it’s hard to be certain, there are clues in some photos that suggest it was likely June or July. It has thus been forty years since I first arrived on the Hanover Plain!
Little did I know then that I would return one year later to be taking classes from faculty like John Kemeny and exploring the many mountains and rivers of New Hampshire as a leader of the Dartmouth Outing Club. Nor that I would later return to join the Dartmouth faculty as a professor in computer science!
Today marks the 30th anniversary of my return to Dartmouth to join the faculty. In July 1991 I became an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, one of only a handful of computer scientists on the faculty. In those early years I repeatedly experienced two odd reactions when I met other faculty on campus: (1) they mistook me for a grad student, or (2) they thought I was from the computing services (I.T.) organization and worked maybe at the help desk or as a programmer. Indeed, at the time, few on campus even recognized “computer science” as an academic discipline.
Dartmouth (and I) have changed a lot in three decades – my original office building (Bradley) was torn down years ago, along with the central computer center (Kiewit); Mathematics and Computer Science are now two separate departments; I am now the most-senior member of the CS faculty; and nobody seems to mistake me for a student any more. ;=)
Today also happens to be the day that I return to my fourth tour of duty in the administration, this time to spend a year as Interim Provost. I look forward to the opportunity to give back to an institution that has given me so much for so many years.
For a few months I’ve been thinking of returning to Lambert Ridge, a ledgy section of the Appalachian Trail up Smarts Mountain, not far from here. The first section is steep, leading up to a series of granite ledges with broad views that belie the relatively low elevation at this point on the trail. The climb to these ledges is a worthwhile dayhike, and brings back memories. Read on!
Every year, the creative chefs at Dartmouth’s Hanover Inn painstakingly construct a massive gingerbread-and-fondant creation, each year on a different theme. It’s always a marvelous sight, on display in their lobby throughout December. This year, the theme is The Polar Express.
It’s about ten feet long, with incredible attention to detail. It involves a massive number of ingredients!
I happened to be walking along the Green in Hanover at the moment when Dartmouth was raising its annual Christmas tree. This year’s tree was selected from a tree farm in Wallingford, VT. Soon it will be decorated with lights and adding cheer to this quiet campus!
The Second College Grant is 27,000 acres of wilderness at the very northern tip of New Hampshire.
John and I spent a long weekend in Dartmouth’s Second College Grant, staying at Peaks Cabin, after three glorious days of summer-like weather with late-fall colors. The afternoon temperatures were nearing 80. With bright sunshine and blue skies the hills were ablaze with color, a bit past peak but the yellows and oranges were nonetheless brilliant. I have not been to the Grant, other than mid-winter, in over 15 years; what a treat! Read on…