Graduate Leaders Lunch With the President

On a chilly Spring afternoon in May, graduate student leaders from the Guarini School received a warm welcome in the home of President Phil Hanlon ’77 and Gail Gentes ’77a. Each year, students from the Graduate Student Council (GSC) executive board, student groups, and other leaders in the community are invited to a celebratory luncheon in recognition of the contributions graduate students make at Dartmouth. Dean F. Jon Kull ’88 and Guarini School administrators were also in attendance to convey their appreciation of the student leaders.

Guests gathered upstairs for informal conversation before making their way downstairs for lunch. Conversation at tables was lively and provided an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts with one another and the various representatives from the Guarini School offices. 

Since beginning his term, President Hanlon has placed great importance on the establishment of a graduate school at Dartmouth in keeping with his vision presented in 2016 to make Dartmouth “a magnet for human talent.”. Since then, his vision has materialized in the form of the first new School to be established at Dartmouth in over a century and a generous endowment from Congressman Frank J. Guarini ’46 giving the new School a new name in 2018: The Frank J. Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies at Dartmouth.

Speaking to the group, Kull praised President Hanlon for his ambitious goal to create a new school at Dartmouth. “In our very first meeting, President Hanlon told me, ‘we should have a freestanding graduate school,’” Kull reminisced, “and thanks to his dedication and vision we have now not only a School, but a significant financial investment into its future,” he noted.

After enjoying lunch and conversation at the tables, President Hanlon publicly thanked the efforts of the Guarini School under the leadership of Dean Kull and praised the academic contributions of the graduate students to the Dartmouth educational enterprise. He then invited questions from the group, which ranged from topics as diverse as “what stresses do you think graduate students are facing” (shortage of funds and mental health issues) to “where do you see the future of education” (technological innovation).

President Hanlon also reflected on his own time as a graduate student and said that he understands the pressures students face during this period and that while power structures in academia do exist, he hopes it has lessened somewhat since he was a student and expects current initiatives, such as the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (3Ci), to bring further improvements.

Dean Kull reiterated the commitment from the Guarini School, urging students to share their ideas with the School, saying “I am excited to continue to work with the Graduate Student Council on their priorities, and of course every graduate student is always welcome to reach out to me or others in the Guarini office with ideas, suggestions, or concerns.”

The Guarini School students and staff would like to extend thanks to President Hanlon and Gail Gentes for graciously welcoming them into their home.