Engles Family Gift Advances Experiential Learning, Liberal Arts

The $10 million campaign commitment was announced this week in Colorado.

Molly and Gregg Engles ’79 have committed $10 million to advance key strategic priorities of Dartmouth’s The Call to Lead campaign, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 announced Tuesday to a capacity crowd in Denver. The commitment will support the development of the Arts District, the West End District, faculty recruitment through academic clusters, and the Dartmouth College Fund.

“When viewed together, Gregg and Molly’s gifts elevate the liberal arts learning at the core of the Dartmouth experience by expanding opportunities for hands-on learning and research,” President Hanlon said. “I join the Dartmouth community in applauding their leadership in fueling Dartmouth’s distinctive educational proposition for students today and tomorrow.”

Gregg Engles, a Dartmouth trustee, is a founding partner of Capitol Peak Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm. He has been an active alumnus volunteer for many years, and he and Molly have served on the President’s Leadership Council.

“Molly and I have a great appreciation and love of the arts and the role they play both in a university community and in the development of civil society, so deciding to support the Hood Museum was easy,” Engles said. “And in many ways, the future is sitting right down there in the West End. Dartmouth, Tuck, and Thayer are well positioned to develop entrepreneurs who use their engineering and computer science education to solve real problems in the modern world.”

President Hanlon praised the couple for supporting the campaign at pivotal junctures. “As our strategic vision unfolded, there were moments when early investment was critical—to our pace, to our sense of possibility, and to our scope of ambition. At three different times, Gregg and Molly came forward and said, ‘We believe in this. We want to help.’”

As of Tuesday, alumni, parents, and friends have committed $2.05 billion to The Call to Lead: a Campaign for Dartmouth. With a goal of $3 billion, the campaign is the most ambitious academic investment in the College’s 250-year history and will benefit all five Dartmouth schools.

West End, Cluster Initiative, and Arts District

The Engles family’s three-part campaign gift will benefit Dartmouth students and faculty for generations.

Part of the gift will support a research and teaching “neighborhood” within the 160,000-square-foot Center for Engineering and Computer Science set to open in the fall of 2021. The new building is the centerpiece of a major investment in the portion of campus at the western end of Tuck Drive. Integration of engineering, computer science, and the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship in the new building will drive collaboration as faculty and students share classrooms, labs, and open spaces. The building will enable a doubling of the Thayer faculty and a 50 percent increase in the computer science faculty, making it possible for every Dartmouth undergraduate to take a course related to technology. Groundbreaking began in January, and construction is underway.

Another portion of the gift will allow Dartmouth to build on existing faculty research strengths while recruiting top scholars to relocate to Dartmouth and intensify teaching and scholarship. Dartmouth’s $150 million Academic Cluster Initiative is bringing 30 new faculty to Hanover to work on world-leading research into 10 complex challenges facing humanity. The Engles family directed a gift to help research the connections between the mind and the brain—breaking the neural code—which may well contribute to the prevention or treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The family also supported the completion of the Hood Museum of Art, which reopened to the public in January following a three-year renovation and expansion project. The museum’s vitrine gallery, featuring a distinctive 14-square-foot plate-glass window overlooking the Green, is named the Engles Family Gallery in recognition of their gift. With the creation of new galleries and three object-study classrooms, the Hood has reaffirmed its position as one of the nation’s leading teaching museums by providing expanded opportunities for object-based, hands-on learning through art.

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Randall Balmer & Lacy Jones ’16
John Phillips Professor of Religion Randall Balmer and Lacey Jones ’16 describe their collaborative research to a packed house at a recent Call to Lead event in Denver. (Photo by Jim Darling)

‘Truly a Special Place’

Guests at Tuesday’s event heard from faculty, a current student, and a young alumna who shared recent experiences made possible by Dartmouth’s distinctive model of education.

Lacey Jones ’16 and Randall Balmer, the John Phillips Professor of Religion, discussed their collaboration on Balmer’s television documentary exploring the relationship between the Orthodox Church and Alaska Natives. Jones was the lead researcher for the documentary, which is in production.

“The experience introduced me to the importance of archival research. It taught me how to write in a different genre, because writing a documentary is so different from writing academic discourse,” said Jones, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in English literature.

“I’ve just begun my PhD at Yale, and I’m seeing firsthand how exceptional it is for Dartmouth students to have the kind of opportunities that would only go to grad students at any other school. I’m thinking especially of how grateful I am for faculty like Professor Balmer and Professor Andrew McCann in the English department, who—not to be over-dramatic—made it possible for me to think and to live. Dartmouth is truly a special place.”

Sam Neff ’21 and Bruce Stanton, the Andrew C. Vail Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Geisel School of Medicine, talked about their research into therapies that will improve the lives of individuals living with cystic fibrosis.

The Denver celebration was hosted by Dartmouth’s Central States Regional Committee, co-chaired by Samantha Schnee ’92 and J. Michael Hafner ’89; Barry MacLean ’60, Thayer ’61; Duncan A. L. MacLean ’94, Thayer ’96; and Andrew K. Silvernail ’94.

The next 250th-anniversary celebration is scheduled for Hanover on May 17, to be followed by Dartmouth at 250: Global Summits in London, September 27-29; and Hong Kong, December 6-8.

Learn more about The Call to Lead campaign and upcoming celebrations.