Lunar eclipse

We were fortunate to have good weather when North America was treated to a full lunar eclipse this morning. It was expected to occur an hour or more before sunrise, as the moon set in the west. Using PhotoPills as a planning tool, I didn’t think I’d have a great view from my backyard, so I arranged to meet a colleague at a location on the Dartmouth campus – a location that has a great view to the west, with Dartmouth’s iconic Baker Tower in frame.

The moon, at upper right, during a full lunar eclipse – Baker Tower and the Dartmouth campus.
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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.
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Moosilauke

I can’t seem to get enough of this place – my third overnight visit in two months. The weather was hot – with a high in the 80s at the lodge and in the 70s on the summit – so the conditions weren’t great for hiking. But my group took our time climbing and descending, enjoying the summit breeze and the mix of clouds and sun (and a brief sprinkle) the weather delivered us today. It was my great pleasure to introduce the mountain, and the lodge, to a new group of people.

View of the ridge and South Peak, as we descend north peak of Mount Moosilauke.
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Commencement

A 252-year tradition.

I had the honor of leading the academic procession – and acting as master of ceremonies – at the Commencement ceremony at Dartmouth College this weekend.

Dartmouth photo by Rob Strong

See the official photo gallery, the YouTube playlist with three speaker videos, and video of the full ceremony.

Congratulations to the graduates!

Dartmouth Powwow

The 50th annual powwow at Dartmouth.

The weather was wonderful for the return of the Dartmouth Powwow, celebrating its 50th anniversary as one of the largest annual powwows in the country. The event was cancelled the past two years due to the pandemic, so it was especially gratifying to see this special event back on the Green – especially this year, as Dartmouth celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Native American Studies program at Dartmouth.

Beth Regan, vice chair of the Mohegan Council of Elders, in an honor dance with the Head Man and Head Lady dancers, at Dartmouth Pow-Wow 2022.

The event was also another opportunity to recognize the recent return of Samson Occom’s papers to the Mohegan Tribe; indeed, Beth Regan, vice chair of the Mohegan Council of Elders, was present to make some remarks in remembrance of that event.

For more photos, see the gallery.

Skating on the Green

Skating with President Phil Hanlon on the Dartmouth Green. Photo by Robert Gill.

Last week I had the opportunity to strap on skates and take a few minutes for a spin around the ice on the Dartmouth Green. Like last year, Dartmouth set up a small temporary ice rink, with free rentals and hot chocolate, to encourage the Dartmouth and surrounding community to ’embrace winter’. The weather has been cold, and the ice smooth. Here, President Hanlon and I take a few laps.

Forty years

Four decades since my first visit to Dartmouth.

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!

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Thirty years

Thirty years on the Dartmouth faculty.

David Kotz 1994, Dartmouth College

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.

Lambert Ridge

A grey day but a nice outing.

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!

A ledge outcrop near the trail up Lambert Ridge, Smarts Mountain, New Hampshire.
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