Trustees Discuss Strategic Plans, Act on Budgets

News subtitle

Funding includes a boost in financial aid and investments in housing.

Aerial view of Dartmouth Hall cupola

(Photo by Chris Johnson)


At their annual winter meeting, members of the Board of Trustees heard about progress made on key areas of focus identified as priorities for Dartmouth by President Sian Leah Beilock and her senior leadership team. 

Trustees also embraced a strategic and forward-looking view on capital spending and the budget to support plans to renovate and expand housing, ensure gender equity in athletics, and fund the ambitious vision laid out by President Beilock at her inauguration.

They were also briefed on mental health issues—one of Beilock’s key initiatives—and heard updates on strategic planning at the medical and engineering schools.

In addition, they approved tuition rates and operating and capital budgets for the next fiscal year and elected three new members who will join the board on July 1.

“This was a highly productive and informative meeting that reflects the continuous commitment of the board and of Dartmouth’s leadership to maximizing the institution’s strengths and investing in the long-term future,” says board Chair Liz Cahill Lempres, ’83, Thayer ’84

The trustees kicked off the weekend with a dinner with students, and then many joined a large audience of students and community members at an event, An Election on Trial, at which trustees Neal Katyal ’91 and Jake Tapper ’91 talked with leaders from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy.

Community Engagement and Capital Investments

Trustees heard from Emma Wolfe, the vice president of government and community relations and a former deputy mayor in New York City, about her work to engage town officials in Hanover and policymakers in Concord and Washington.

Trustees also approved an operating budget of $1.5 billion for the 2025 fiscal year beginning July 1. And they approved capital project budgets of $87 million, which include funding for multiple initiatives, most notably heating and cooling system designs, improvements in a number of buildings, and continued investments in new housing.

Dartmouth officials this month began talking with town of Hanover planning officials about plans to build apartment-style housing on West Wheelock Street in the West End, adding about 290 beds, the first new project in Beilock’s pledge to add 1,000 new beds for students, faculty, and staff over the next decade.

“I greatly appreciate the trustees’ support for new housing and building upgrades as we meet a pressing need in the Upper Valley and at Dartmouth,” President Beilock says.

“Having the trustees approve the budget is the culmination of over six months of effort from all areas of the institution. The budget reflects balancing the competing demands for resources as we continue to invest in Dartmouth’s institutional priorities,” says Chief Financial Officer Scott Frew.

Tuition increases were also approved for undergraduates and the professional school. Undergraduate tuition and fees will increase by 3.8%, and room and board by 5.3%, with total costs next year set at $87,768. Tuition at Thayer will increase by 3.8% and be $66,123; at Geisel, tuition for the MD program will increase by 3.8%, to $70,118; Tuck’s tuition will increase by 4%, to $80,620.

Undergraduate financial aid support of $161 million is forecast for the coming year, an increase over the current year’s $149 million. Board members also voted to distribute $443 million from the endowment, an increase of 3.8% over the current year. The endowment distribution is expected to fund nearly 30% of the operating budget.

Strategic Planning in Engineering and Medicine 

Board members heard about collaborations between Dartmouth’s graduate and professional schools, where deans and faculty members are working on maximizing the impact of their research and innovation across the institution.

Thayer School of Engineering Dean Alexis Abramson told trustees that the school has always forged a distinctive approach through “our long-held belief that engineering integrated into the liberal arts leads to better solutions.”

She pointed out that the Thayer strategic plan includes growing distinctive graduate programs, accelerating the growth of research and innovation, and infusing entrepreneurial thinking and opportunities into research. She also highlighted that human-centered design is now the most popular minor on campus. Thayer hopes to expand its Design Initiative at Dartmouth program, known as DIAD, which engages faculty, students, and staff from over a dozen different departments.

In addition, through participation in the EDGE Consortium, founded by Beilock and a dozen other university presidents and engineering deans who are women, Thayer is collaborating with six other major research universities to boost support and pathways for underrepresented students interested in semiconductor-related fields.

Geisel School of Medicine Dean Duane Compton said the school’s strategic plan includes building on education programs, research, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Geisel is studying possible new joint-degree programs with other Dartmouth professional schools.

He said the school would like to strengthen its leadership position as a driver of innovation, accelerate the pace of discoveries to improve people’s lives, and focus on research that positively impacts health and systems of care while modernizing the school’s educational spaces. 

“Through our team-based and interprofessional education, we are equipping physicians, other professionals, and scientists with foundational skills at the intersection of medicine, population health, and digital health so that they can serve as leaders in improving health care solutions and optimizing health worldwide,” Compton said.

Faculty Discuss Mental Health Research

Trustees discussed the mental health crisis facing young adults across the globe with faculty members David Blanchflower, the Bruce V. Rauner ’78 Professor of Economics, who is an adviser to the United Nations on the mental health of the young and studies happiness; Andrew Campbell, the Albert Bradley 1915 Third Century Professor in Computing Science; and Lisa Marsch, director of Dartmouth’s Center for Technology and Behavioral Health and the Andrew G. Wallace Professor of Psychiatry and Biomedical Data Science.

Blanchflower’s work has demonstrated a steep rise of “bad mental health days” among young adults; Campbell is developing a smartphone app that uses AI and facial-image processing software to detect the onset of depression; and Marsch has been a pioneer in the use of technology for addiction treatment. 

“As a cognitive scientist, I know that solutions to the mental health crisis require an evidence-based and interdisciplinary approach, and so it is gratifying that Dartmouth faculty and their research teams are applying creative, rigorous, cutting-edge science to one of the most critical issues facing young people today,” Beilock said.