Fun Facts About Dartmouth

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Dartmouth College building

Fun Facts About Dartmouth

Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, is a prestigious Ivy League institution with a rich history and vibrant campus life. Founded in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, Dartmouth has become renowned for its academic excellence, unique traditions, and notable alumni. Here are fun facts that make Dartmouth College truly exceptional.

The Founding Story of Dartmouth College

Because of its rich history, there are a lot of fun facts about Dartmouth that one can learn. Dartmouth College has a fascinating founding story that sets it apart from other educational institutions. In 1769, Eleazar Wheelock, a minister, established the college as a school for educating Native Americans in order to spread Christianity and learn from their cultures. This mission of inclusivity and cross-cultural understanding continues to be an important part of the Dartmouth community.

Eleazar Wheelock’s vision for Dartmouth College was not only to provide education but also to create a space where Native American students could thrive and preserve their unique cultural heritage. He believed that by bringing together Native American and European students, Dartmouth could foster a truly diverse and enriching educational environment.

The Unique Charter of Dartmouth

One of the highlights of Dartmouth’s history is its unique charter, which was granted by King George III of England in 1769. This charter protects Dartmouth College’s independence and ensures its autonomy from governmental interference—a rare privilege among American universities.

Dartmouth College campus

The charter bestowed upon Dartmouth College by King George III was a testament to the importance and significance of the institution’s mission. It recognized the value of educating Native Americans and the need for a separate institution dedicated to this cause. This special status granted by the charter has allowed Dartmouth to maintain its distinct identity and fulfill its mission for over two centuries.

The Role of Eleazar Wheelock

Eleazar Wheelock, the founder of Dartmouth College, played a crucial role in shaping the institution’s early years. His vision for education, centered on the principles of Christian fellowship and education for Native Americans, laid the foundation for Dartmouth’s distinct identity and values.

Wheelock’s dedication to the education of Native Americans was not limited to the establishment of Dartmouth College. He actively sought out Native American students and provided them with opportunities for education and personal growth. Wheelock’s commitment to inclusivity and cross-cultural understanding set the stage for Dartmouth’s ongoing efforts to create a diverse and inclusive community.

Under Wheelock’s leadership, Dartmouth College became a beacon of hope and opportunity for Native American students. It provided them with a safe and nurturing environment where they could pursue their dreams and contribute to society. Wheelock’s legacy lives on through the continued commitment of Dartmouth College to its founding principles.

Dartmouth’s Unique Traditions

One of the fun facts about Dartmouth is its unique tradition. At Dartmouth, traditions hold a special place in the hearts of students and alumni. One of the most beloved traditions is the Winter Carnival, a week-long celebration of winter sports and activities that dates back to 1911. The campus transforms into a winter wonderland with snow sculptures, ice sculptures, and a thrilling Polar Bear Swim.

The Winter Carnival is filled with a wide range of events, including skiing and snowboarding competitions, ice hockey tournaments, and the famous human dogsled race. Students and visitors alike eagerly participate in these festivities, fostering a strong sense of community and school spirit.

During the Winter Carnival, the campus buzzes with excitement as students prepare for the various competitions. The ski slopes are abuzz with the sound of skis slicing through the fresh powder, and the ice rinks are alive with the cheers and applause of spectators. The snow sculptures, meticulously crafted by talented students, showcase intricate designs and imaginative creations, leaving visitors in awe of their skill and creativity.

an unidentified interior designers comparing paint swatches

One of the highlights of the Winter Carnival is the Polar Bear Swim. Brave individuals, fueled by adrenaline and a sense of adventure, plunge into the icy waters of the nearby river. The cheers and encouragement from the crowd create an electrifying atmosphere, as participants emerge from the water with triumphant smiles and shivers.

The Dartmouth Seven

Another cherished tradition is the Dartmouth Seven, a group of seven solitary pine trees located on Dartmouth Green. Legend has it that if a student circles the trees seven times before graduating, they will find everlasting love. This tradition adds a touch of romance and mystery to campus life.

The Dartmouth Seven, standing tall and proud, symbolizes the interconnectedness of love, nature, and the Dartmouth community. Students often gather around the trees, sharing stories and laughter, as they attempt to complete the seven circles. The rustling of the leaves and the gentle swaying of the branches create a serene ambiance, inviting students to reflect on their journey and aspirations.

As the sun sets behind the Dartmouth Seven, casting a warm golden glow on the surrounding landscape, students find solace in the belief that love and lasting connections await them beyond the boundaries of the campus. The tradition of circling the trees becomes a rite of passage, a symbolic gesture that represents the pursuit of love and the hope for a bright future.

Notable Dartmouth Alumni

One of the fun facts about Dartmouth is its notable alumni. Dartmouth College boasts an impressive roster of alumni who have made significant contributions to various fields. In politics, Dartmouth alumni have reached the highest offices in the country. Notable figures include former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and former U.S. Senator Daniel Webster.

Timothy Geithner, a Dartmouth alumnus, served as the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure, he played a crucial role in navigating the United States through the global financial crisis. Geithner’s expertise in economics and finance, honed during his time at Dartmouth, made him an invaluable asset to the nation.

Daniel Webster, another distinguished Dartmouth alumnus, was a prominent American statesman and lawyer. He served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and New Hampshire and played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s early political landscape. Webster’s eloquence and legal acumen, nurtured at Dartmouth, made him one of the most influential figures of his time.

Famous Figures in Politics

In addition to Geithner and Webster, Dartmouth has produced several other influential politicians. Alumni such as former U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu have played key roles in shaping the country’s political landscape.

Kirsten Gillibrand, a Dartmouth alumna, served as a U.S. Senator from New York from 2009 to 2019. Known for her advocacy on women’s rights and military issues, Gillibrand made a significant impact during her time in office. Her Dartmouth education provided her with the foundation to tackle complex policy challenges and fight for social justice.

A Judge gavel and book

Chris Sununu, another notable Dartmouth alumnus, currently serves as the Governor of New Hampshire. As the youngest governor in the United States, Sununu has brought fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the state’s governance. His Dartmouth experience equipped him with the critical thinking skills necessary to lead effectively and make informed decisions.

Stars of the Entertainment Industry

Beyond the political arena, Dartmouth College has also nurtured talents in the entertainment industry. Alumni such as actor Mindy Kaling and award-winning author Louise Erdrich have achieved great success in their respective fields, showcasing Dartmouth’s commitment to fostering creativity and intellectual exploration.

Mindy Kaling, a Dartmouth alumna, is a renowned actress, comedian, and writer. Best known for her roles in “The Office” and “The Mindy Project,” Kaling has become a trailblazer in the entertainment industry. Her Dartmouth education provided her with a strong foundation in storytelling and comedic timing, allowing her to captivate audiences with her wit and charm.

Louise Erdrich, another accomplished Dartmouth alumna, is a critically acclaimed author known for her powerful storytelling and exploration of Native American culture. Her works, including “Love Medicine” and “The Round House,” have garnered numerous awards and accolades. Erdrich’s time at Dartmouth helped shape her unique perspective and honed her literary skills, enabling her to create profound and thought-provoking narratives.

Dartmouth’s Campus Landmarks

One of the fun facts about Dartmouth is its campus landmarks. One of the defining aspects of Dartmouth College is its stunning campus, adorned with architectural gems and natural beauty. Among the many campus landmarks, two notable ones are the Baker-Berry Library and the Bema Outdoor Amphitheatre.

The Baker-Berry Library

The Baker-Berry Library stands as a symbol of Dartmouth’s commitment to scholarship and intellectual pursuit. With its impressive collection of over 1.8 million volumes, it serves as a hub of academic exploration for students and scholars alike. The library’s architecture is a blend of traditional and modern styles, creating a visually striking presence on campus. The grand entrance, with its towering columns and intricate carvings, welcomes visitors into a world of knowledge and discovery.

Inside the library, students find themselves surrounded by an atmosphere conducive to learning and research. The spacious reading rooms are filled with natural light, creating a serene environment for studying. The library’s extensive collection spans a wide range of subjects, from classic literature to cutting-edge scientific research. Students can easily navigate through the vast shelves, aided by knowledgeable librarians who are always ready to assist with any research needs.

A group of people in a library

In addition to its role as a repository of knowledge, the Baker-Berry Library also features the Blunt Alumni Center. This center serves as a bridge between the past and present, providing resources and support for alumni engagement. It offers a space for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater, hosting events, workshops, and networking opportunities. The center’s modern facilities and comfortable meeting rooms make it an ideal venue for alumni gatherings, fostering a sense of community and lifelong connections.

The Bema Outdoor Amphitheater

Nestled amidst the stunning Upper Valley landscape, the Bema Outdoor Amphitheater is a cherished space for outdoor performances, events, and gatherings. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, this open-air venue provides a unique and enchanting setting for artistic expression and community engagement.

Throughout the year, the Bema Outdoor Amphitheater comes alive with the sounds of music, laughter, and applause. Students often frequent this scenic spot for campus meetings, open-air concerts, and theatrical performances, adding to the vibrant arts and cultural scene at Dartmouth. The natural acoustics of the amphitheater amplify the performances, creating an immersive experience for both performers and audience members.

With its tiered seating and expansive stage, the Bema Outdoor Amphitheater can accommodate large crowds, making it a popular gathering place for campus-wide events. Whether it’s a poetry reading, a dance performance, or a student-led protest, the amphitheater provides a platform for students to express their creativity, share their voices, and build a sense of community.

Surrounded by the beauty of nature, the Bema Outdoor Amphitheater offers a tranquil escape from the demands of academic life. Students often find solace in this peaceful oasis, using it as a space for reflection, relaxation, and connection with nature. The amphitheater’s location, nestled within the campus grounds, makes it easily accessible for students to enjoy during their daily routines.

As the sun sets over the Bema Outdoor Amphitheater, casting a warm glow on the surrounding landscape, it becomes a magical place where memories are made and shared. Whether it’s a group of friends gathering for a picnic, a professor delivering a captivating lecture, or a student performing a heartfelt song, the amphitheater serves as a backdrop for countless moments of inspiration and joy.

The Green at Dartmouth

One of the fun facts about Dartmouth College is the Green, a sprawling 10-acre grassy area that serves as a central gathering spot for students and the community. The Green plays a vital role in campus life, hosting various events and historical moments throughout the college’s existence.

The Role of the Green in Campus Life

Surrounded by iconic buildings and dotted with vibrant trees, the Green serves as a place for relaxation, recreation, and socializing. Students often engage in a variety of activities, from studying under the shade of a tree to playing Frisbee or organizing outdoor concerts. It is a quintessential part of the Dartmouth experience.

Historical Events on the Green

The Green has witnessed many historical events that have shaped Dartmouth College’s identity. From civil rights movements and political protests to celebrations of academic achievements, the Green has been a witness and catalyst for change and progress throughout the college’s rich history.

As one of the oldest and most respected institutions in the United States, Dartmouth College continues to uphold its commitment to academic excellence, inclusivity, and community engagement. Its unique traditions, notable alumni, and iconic landmarks make Dartmouth a truly remarkable place to learn, grow, and make lasting memories.


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