The 2010 – 2011 academic year brings to a close the service of Ron Schram '64 as the chairman of the Rockefeller Center's Board of Visitors. Like his three predecessors, Ron served for seven years as chairman and brought extraordinary vision and energy to the position. His ability to attract and mobilize a talented Board, his deep understanding of Dartmouth and non-profit governance, and his unfailing enthusiasm for the Center and strategic planning have served both the Center and Dartmouth very well. Looking around the Center today, it is hard to see any program for students that has not been inspired or facilitated by his good work.
During the early years of Ron's term as chairman, the renewed focus of the Center was on building the several programs that constitute our public policy opportunities for students. The key elements are summarized in the strategic plan adopted by the Board in May 2006. It was during this period that we launched the Policy Research Shop and made it a centerpiece of a new and more intentional Public Policy minor. We developed the Civic Skills Training program and revamped the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program to provide for out-of-classroom training and leadership programs to match the quality and intensity of our curricular programs. Over the subsequent years, the Public Policy curriculum has continued to attract more students, and the Policy Research Shop continued to attract new external funding, first from the SURDNA and Ford Foundations and now from the Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. The curricular and co-curricular programs were joined together in the First-Year Fellows program in 2007, as the Class of 2010 became the first cohort to enjoy this innovative opportunity that matches classroom learning with summer internship experiences in Washington, DC.
In April 2007, the College re-articulated its mission to emphasize the need to prepare students for a lifetime of responsible leadership. This was all the impetus we needed to add a focus on an intentional plan to develop the capacity of Dartmouth students for leadership to the Center's core offerings. With Ron at the helm, the Center secured a transformational gift to fund new initiatives to support leadership development, both in and out of the classroom. In fall 2009, we launched the Management and Leadership Development program, which is now the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind on campus. In fall 2010, we introduced a new course on the foundations of leadership, with Professor Barbara Kellerman of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government as the first instructor. By the end of the 2011 – 2012 academic year, the Center will have achieved all of the programmatic objectives in its April 2009 statement of principles for leadership development.
Ron leaves the Center in 2011 a more intentional and more prominent part of the Dartmouth experience for hundreds of students each year. This year, Curt Welling '71 Tu'77 succeeds Ron as chairman, and together we will build on the accomplishments of the past seven years to strengthen the core academic mission of the Center in both public policy and leadership. We look forward to reporting on our progress in the years to come.
-- Andrew A. Samwick
Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving '72a, P'10 Professor of Economics
Director, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center
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Last Updated: 8/13/12