Bringing the World to Dartmouth

Each year, the Rockefeller Center hosts a robust agenda of public programs to complement students’ learning. These programs offer a close look at public policy and policymaking through the lens of public officials, distinguished scholars, political figures, journalists and other civically engaged leaders and activists. Invited guests serve as an important part of the educational experience for students by often taking the time to visit classes while on campus. During these interactions, they expose students to career experiences, sharing insights and perspectives from their fields.

“The public programs build on the material I learn in my classes, and provide enriching examples of the real-life implications of theoretical studies. I have been surprised by the level of access I have had to famous writers, prominent activists and policymakers, who sit down with us over lunch or dinner and share their experiences and expert knowledge,” says Olivia Bewley ’19.

This past fall, Kelly Ayotte visited the class Government 85.38: Gender and War, taught by Professor Lisa Baldez. Ayotte, who served as a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire from 2011–2016, was the Rockefeller Center’s 2018 Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor, an honor given to a New Hampshire citizen who has made or is making an outstanding contribution in the field of government. “Senator Ayotte, a former member of the Armed Services Committee, spoke candidly about her views and provided nuanced perspectives on the issues we would later address in class, such as why she supported Senator McCaskill’s bill on sexual assault in the military over Senator Gillibrand’s bill,” recounts Baldez. “We referred back to her comments at many points throughout the term.” During her visit, she engaged with students outside of the classroom as well, participating in a dinner discussion with the students.

Dartmouth’s location in New Hampshire affords the College special access to the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary election. The Rockefeller Center has hosted Democratic and Republican hopefuls on campus as well as organized nationally televised debates, town meetings, and topical forums. Already, prospective candidates for the 2020 election have come to campus and interacted with students.

All of these public events, as well as events in collaboration with other centers and departments, continuously carry out the Rockefeller Center’s mission, informing, educating, and enriching the discourse among faculty, staff and students from across campus, as well as with members of the broader community.