Dartmouth College
#61 Overall Influence#11 Desirability Rank

Dartmouth College

University and liberal arts college in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

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By James Barham, PhD

Despite the word “college” in its name, Dartmouth is a full-scale, PhD-granting, private, research university. Indeed, it is an official member of the Ivy League, and is the fourteenth-oldest university in the US, founded only five years after Brown and 15 years after Columbia.

Located in the small town of Hanover in the far western part of central New Hampshire, the Dartmouth campus abuts the Connecticut River, which forms the entire border between New Hampshire and Vermont.

The university was founded by Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregationalist minister who was involved in missionary work with the Native American population. Already in 1754, Wheelock had founded a school in Connecticut—known as Moor’s Indian Charity School—whose purpose was to educate Native American boys as Congregationalist missionaries for future work among their own tribes.

Wishing to expand this school, Wheelock began a fund-raising drive to which the British statesman, William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, was a major contributor (along with the American-born educator, Dr. John Phillips, who would go on to found Phillips Exeter Academy).

In spite of the success of his fund-raising endeavor, Wheelock found that it was difficult to recruit enough Native American children to justify a large additional investment in the school. For this reason, he revised his plans and decided to use the money for a new college for the white population. Because of difficulties in securing a charter from the Colony of Connecticut, he also decided to build his new school in the neighboring state of New Hampshire, instead.

Ironically, although Wheelock named the new college “Dartmouth” in honor of the 2nd Earl to recognize his generosity, the latter was in fact quite opposed to the diversion of his money from its original purpose of benefiting the native population.

Consistent with its history as the brainchild of various individuals interested in furthering the education of non-white populations, Dartmouth began admitting black students almost immediately (in 1775), although not in large numbers. By the advent of the Civil War, some 20 African Americans had graduated from the university.

On the other hand, Dartmouth long remained an all-male school; women were only permitted to attend the university in 1972.

A large number of distinguished Americans have been connected with Dartmouth. For example, in the nineteenth century, we may mention three leading statesmen:

  • Thaddeus Stevens, US Representative from Pennsylvania, prominent abolitionist, and fierce advocate for African Americans during Reconstruction
  • Daniel Webster, US Senator for New Hampshire, prominent critic of President Andrew Jackson, and Secretary of State under President Millard Fillmore
  • Salmon P. Chase, Governor and US Senator for Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln, and sixth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

In addition, the well-known entrepreneur, George Bissell, who helped develop the early US oil industry in western Pennsylvania during the 1860s, was a Dartmouth graduate.

Distinguished twentieth-century individuals connected to Dartmouth include:

  • Edward Everett Just, an African American biologist who revolutionized our understanding of the cell surface
  • Edward Lorenz, a mathematician, meteorologist, and chaos theory pioneer
  • Celebrated poet, Robert Frost
  • Novelist, Louise Erdrich
  • Noted historian and law professor, Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Architect, Michael Arad
  • Children’s author, Theodor Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”)
  • Children’s television host, Fred Rogers (“Mr. Rogers”)
  • Robert Holbrook Smith (“Dr. Bob”), co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Author and filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza
  • Television hosts, Laura Ingraham & Mel Robbins
  • Television journalist, Jake Tapper
  • Actors, Meryl Streep, Michael Moriarty & Josh Pence

Among the many Dartmouth-linked public servants who have served during the twentieth century, we may mention:

  • Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York and Vice President of the US under President Gerald Ford
  • Henry Paulson, banker and Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush
  • Timothy Geithner, banker and Secretary of the Treasury under Barack Obama
  • Robert Reich, economist, author, commentator, and Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, sitting US Senator for New York

Finally, three individuals affiliated with Dartmouth have won the Nobel Prize:

  • Owen Chamberlain — physics
  • K. Barry Sharpless — chemistry
  • George Snell — physiology or medicine

From Wikipedia

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, it is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Although initially founded as a school to educate young Native Americans in Christian theology and liberal arts, Dartmouth primarily trained Congregationalist ministers throughout its early history before it gradually secularized, emerging at the turn of the 20th century from relative obscurity into national prominence.

Source: Wikipedia


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207 Parkhurst Hall, Hanover NH 03755-3529

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11 per 100k

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1 per 100k

Influential People

Who are Dartmouth College's Most influential alumni?

Dartmouth College's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of . Dartmouth College’s most academically influential people include Harold J. Berman, Ruth Chang, and Russell Carson.

Harold J. Berman

American legal scholar

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Ruth Chang
Ruth Chang

American philosopher

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Russell Carson

American businessman

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David L. Katz
David L. Katz

American physician

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Edward Tuck
Edward Tuck

American diplomat

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T. J. Rodgers
T. J. Rodgers

American businessman

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Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs
Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs

American state official

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Marye Anne Fox
Marye Anne Fox

American academic administrator

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Daniyal Mueenuddin
Daniyal Mueenuddin

American academic

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Anne M. Patterson

American judge

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John Donahoe
John Donahoe

American chief executive

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John S. Lewis

American planetary scientist

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