The Hanover Green is particularly beautiful in December, especially now with the renovated Dartmouth Hall and Baker Tower illuminated, along with the annual Christmas tree. The gallery includes more scenes with fresh snow.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.