Vox Populi: Nathaniel Fick ’99 Wins Class of ’64 Leadership Award

Vox Populi is Dartmouth Now’s opinion department. It includes commentary written by members of the Dartmouth community that is intended to inform and enrich public conversation. The opinions expressed in these essays are the writers’ own.

Robert Bartles ’64 lives in Meriden, N.H.

Outstanding Leadership Awards
From left, Professor Andrew Samwick, Dartmouth Trustee Nathaniel Fick ’99, and Robert Bartles ’64 during the award ceremony. (Photo courtesy of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy)

On Nov. 6, the Class of 1964 recognized Nathaniel Fick ’99 as the second recipient of the Class of 1964 Outstanding Leadership Award. Nate, a Dartmouth trustee, former Marine Corps officer, author, and business leader, was honored with this prestigious award for his many contributions to Dartmouth, his service to his country, and his outstanding career.

A former member of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors, he has returned to Dartmouth each of the past 10 years to work with students at the Rockefeller Center, sharing his leadership experiences and offering important lessons on what it takes to be a leader.

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The Class of 1964 Outstanding Leadership Award was established in 2014, at our 50th reunion, as part of the class’ legacy endowment gift to Rockefeller Center’s Dartmouth Learn to Lead program (DL2) and the Dartmouth Peak Performance program (DP2) now underway in Athletics. These programs reflect the realization by our class that leadership training is essential and in keeping with Dartmouth’s mission to educate students “for a lifetime of responsible leadership.” President Phil Hanlon ’77 echoed this priority in his remarks to the Dartmouth community in January 2013, when he clearly stated, “Preparing our students to be leaders is, in my opinion, the most important work we do at Dartmouth.”

The Class of 1964, with its half-century tradition of leadership, agrees wholeheartedly with this goal. Now, with the establishment of this endowment to support and grow these important academic and extracurricular programs, we hope to sustain the College’s longstanding commitment to leadership for as long as there is a Dartmouth.

I was able to be a part of this year’s session that Nate held with the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows, and I was duly impressed with his command of the issues confronting us today and with the affection and respect these students showed for this remarkable man. He is a true leader in every sense of the word.

I was both privileged and honored to be part of the presentation of the award to Nate and to follow the superb opening remarks and the reading of Nate’s citation by Andrew Samwick, director of the Rockefeller Center and the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a P’10 Professor of Economics.

I would like to close by sharing my remarks to Nate as he stood proudly with his citation and the beautifully engraved Simon Pearce bowl that will serve as constant reminders of his remarkable leadership accomplishments and his undying devotion to Dartmouth. There is no doubt that Nate was a terrific choice for this award and will carry forward the legacy our class has established with all the pride and humility that characterizes this wonderful “Son of Dartmouth.”

Here are my remarks:

It is with great pride and sincere affection that the members of the great Class of 1964 officially welcome you, Nathaniel C. Fick ’99, into our family, a family that has demonstrated, for over half a century, an enduring commitment to outstanding leadership at Dartmouth, in their professional and personal lives, and in the world.

We, the members of the Class of 1964, have established this award to recognize others from the greater Dartmouth family who share that lifelong commitment and who have already made and will continue to make a difference throughout their lives. You have demonstrated the skills of a true leader and your determination and dedication to making our lives better distinguishes you as one whom others should both praise and emulate. Your outstanding example and your humility, plus your undying love of Dartmouth and service to your country, mark you as one of the “best of the best,” and for that we honor you and we thank you. 

You are one who has made the most of taking the “Road Less Traveled,” and have demonstrated what it means to be both an outstanding leader and an inspiration to us all. Thank you for being you and for all you do. We are all blessed by knowing you and in that knowing are made better every day in every way.

You are indeed one of us and may the “granite of New Hampshire” forever reside “in your muscles and your brain” while the “hill winds” speed your journey through life until we all will meet someday in that great Dartmouth Hall in the sky. Excelsior!

The first recipient of the Class of 1964 Outstanding Leadership Award, in 2014, was Ronald B. Schram ’64, a former trustee of Dartmouth, chair of the Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors, and classmate extraordinaire.

See a video of the awards ceremony and photos of the reception.