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Is it even politically correct to describe the hotness of various schools? Well, if Phil can do it, so can we — with the help of Parchment, a site that describes itself as a digital credential service. It manages the flow of documents between applicants, academic institutions and employers. Parchment also seems have data on who got into which college and university, and where they chose to accept/refuse offers of admission.

Take a look at what percentage of students decided to come to the College, when they had been accepted at another Ivy:

Parchment Comparative Ivies.jpg

Thank heavens for Cornell. Hey, Phil, the data does not make us seem very hot.

That said, let’s see how we do compared to Michigan and Vanderbilt, the decades-long stomping grounds of Phil Hanlon and Provost Carolyn Dever, respectively:

Dartmouth vs Michigan Vandy.jpg

I, too, would chose the College over some large university where undergrads take a back seat to faculty members’ research (and over Yale, too, if you must know). Why do Phil and Carolyn want to remake Dartmouth to resemble Michigan and Vandy?

Addendum: Terren Klein ‘17’s Pulse data confirms that we are only more attractive than Cornell when measuring up against other Ivy schools.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Of all your posts over the past two years since I started following you, today’s was the number one zinger. It vaguely reminds me of the old story about the pet food manufacturer that spent millions on the promotion and advertising of its new dog food products only to experience a precipitous drop in sales simply because the consumer (meaning the actual dogs) didn’t like the stuff. Phil may be hot, but the College is clearly not.

The numbers are frightening. At one time we were considered (with Princeton) as providing the best undergraduate educational experience anywhere. My freshman room mate was accepted at both Harvard and Dartmouth. Chose Dartmouth for that reason. Nowadays losing to HYP is a given, but losing 70% to Brown??? Wow.

The below boast from messages sent by Alumni Councillors to their constituents is not based on the fact that our total applications dropped by 3.2% this year, but rather on the unexpected event that, according to the College press release, “61 percent [1,279 students] of the students who were admitted to the Class of 2021 have accepted the College’s offer of admission, a significant increase over recent years”:

Hanlon Hot.jpg

The College is touting this figure as a vote of confidence in the Hanlon administration.

But hold on. Is that what a high yield means? Actually, it could. If we and the other Ivies were to accept all of the same students, and if a large number of those students chose to come to Hanover, we would be justifiably proud.

But this was not an election among equal parties. Rather, what really happened is that the Admissions department under new Dean Lee Coffin focussed specifically on upping our yield, and as the saying might go, when a high yield is the goal, you will get a high yield.

Let’s look at what changed this year. As readers will recall, the idea of yield has been made significant by its place in the U.S. News ranking calculations. The statistic has come to have a life all of its own.

First off, we don’t have any legacy statistics for the incoming Class of 2021, but accepting more children of alumni will definitely juice your yield (and increase income, too). The number of legacies has been rising for several decades. I’d wager that even more got in this year:

Legacy admits history.jpg

More to the point, the College keeps upping the number of Early Decision admits, first as an absolute number (from 494 to 555 — a 12.3% increase, the highest level ever):

Thumbnail image for Early Decision Admits 2006-2021.jpg

And also as a percentage of the incoming class. We are doing so at a quicker pace than the other Ivies. In less than a decade we’ve gone from one of the lowest users of ED (excluding HYP) to the second-highest in the Ivies — beaten out only by Penn. Are you proud of that development?:

Thumbnail image for Early Decision Ivy League Admissions Stats1.jpg

The yield for ED applicants is about 96%.

Of the students left to come in via the regular pool, don’t forget that of students admitted in April, about 75 each year are recruited athletes (a little less than double that number come in ED) — and they will all show up, having been promised admissions by their teams many months previously.

But still, why the increase in the overall yield in this year? The College’s press release on the yield jump touts the success of the revamped Dimensions program, but it ignored this year’s big change to the application process, one that takes place well before students show up in Hanover for Dimensions. The D’s reporter ferreted out the new tactic in an interview with Admssions head Lee Coffin. Good work Alex Fredman ‘20. Coffin told him that there is now a Dartmouth-specific question on the Common App:

Common App Dartmouth Question.jpg

What a great way to filter out applicants who aren’t seriously interested in the College, people who don’t do enough research to answer the above questions with sufficient specificity. Now Admissions can more reliably identify kids who want to come to the College. By accepting them, we can be assured of high yield figures.

However this device will also serve to deter brilliant kids from applying and being accepted to Dartmouth — for example, ones who really want to go to Harvard. But what if they don’t get into Harvard? Do we still want a shot at them? I’d say yes, but we won’t get that chance with a Common App question that prevents brilliant students, ones who are not initially interested in coming to Hanover, from applying to Dartmouth.

Is this a good thing? Perhaps? The strategy probably does not lead to us admitting the best quality students, but it does give us a better chance of snagging people who really want to come here. These folks know the College’s reputation, good and bad, and they probably want to participate in the old traditions. Given the bad odor that has come to surround the school — Phil, we are decidedly not “hot,” no matter what you say — Coffin’s gambit probably helps us obtain the best second- and third-tier kids.

Addendum: Phil is an awkward pitchman at best. He loves to talk about momentum in the hope that his words will actually generate some. But a Dartmouth audience is too sophisticated for that, and nobody likes to be condescended to. Doesn’t Phil understand that we are on to him?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Notice the clich├ęd political tendentiousness of all but the second prompts for the second writing question in the Common App. “Stepping out of comfort zone,” fixing the world’s problems (17 year olds will know just what to do), the heroic challenge of “being green,” the importance of “kindness,” and Mr. Rogers’s (kiddie show) “being a good neighbor.”

Are they seeking an infantile student body?

Addendum: As does a senior member of the faculty:

Congratulation on the skullduggery evidenced by you and others in today’s post.

I would add only that we probably want fewer of the type of applicant who hopes to prevent “the old traditions” from failing.

Here is a set of statistics that shows that the College can do a lot better by certain groups of students. On Friday we looked at the stellar four-year graduation rates of the College’s varsity athletes. Now let’s review how well the administration does at shepherding students of various races through their education in Hanover. All statistics were assembled by The Education Trust, “a national non-profit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, particularly for students of color and low-income students.”

As you can see, Underrepresented Minorities, Blacks and especially Native Americans are insufficiently supported by the College in their efforts to receive a Dartmouth education. Their six-year graduation rates lag well behind other groups:

Dartmouth 6-year grad rates by race1.jpg

Of course (as you would expect), I blame the administration. If, for example, the football team can devote a huge amount of time to practice and games, and virtually every player can still graduate in four years — and do so year after year — then why would other groups have marked difficulties? Besides, other schools seem to do a better job than we do in helping their underrepresented minority students to graduate:

Dartmouth 6-year grad rates other schools.jpg

The only thing that is worse than a massively bloated bureaucracy is one that does not get the job done.

Addendum: The football team does a great job ensuring that its athletes succeed academically. Buddy Teevens ‘79 is innovating in that area, too — not just in the fight against concussions and the development of the MVP.

I am not going to write about Arkansas football today (or ever); this post’s subject is killing, and part of me is embarrassed about it.

Hog Snappers.jpg

But part of me is not.

In the past I have written about freediving and the happiness of swimming deep down into the endless blue with wild dolphins and whales. We have always done so peaceably, and the joys are harmonious, Apollonian even, to use Ruth Benedict’s term.

But when we come to Bimini, in addition to swimming far offshore with dolphns, we fish the reefs using a simple Hawaiian Sling — a glorified slingshot that propels a four-foot-long spear forward at a pace that will pierce a fish if you are within ten feet or less of it (the Bahamas, to protect its fauna, does not allow powerful, pre-cocked spearguns which have a much longer range):

Hawaiian Sling.jpg

With a Sling we are into joys more related to Dionysus — euphorias of power and aggression, feelings that quicken the blood. They are real, let me tell you.

I have never wanted to hunt on land. Something about bullets and blood repels me. Perhaps I feel too much kinship with other mammals. But flyfishing has always been fine, and that permission has led to fishing here in Bimini.

Imagine being at a depth of 30-40 feet and you are running out of air, but a fish — say a tasty hog snapper as in the above picture — is almost close enough to get off a shot. Almost. And your adrenalin flows, and you find you have more air. You move closer. Is the desire to put food on the table a motivation? Sure. But there is more. A literal bloodrush. A will to dominate. To kill, even.

As I said, I am not proud of it. One can’t help but feel regret and guilt as a speared fish’s mates circle around it, seemingly in sympathy and sadness. But the human hunting emotion is there, too, primal and powerful. And a little frightening.

Addendum: In Bimini we find the dolphins and get to the best fishing spots with the help of Joe Noonan, locally known as the Dolphin Whisperer. This past trip was our third family visit with Joe.

Addendum: As we saw in Egypt a few years ago, lionfish from the Pacific have invaded Bahamian waters, too. And smart they are. The local people spear them for food, so the lions have changed their swimming patterns. When they first arrived, they lazed in front of reefs where they were easy prey. Within a couple of years, and after some serious depredation, they took up residence below ledges. But they were not protected there either, and they continued to be taken. After another couple of years, they learned to hide upside down in deep holes. All in all, it took them four or five years to adapt.

Meanwhile, hog snappers laze about in the open, as they have done forever — easy game even for punters from New Hampshire.

On the same topic, the Times reports that female elk over the age of ten years are almost invulnerable to hunters. They seem to learn over time how to avoid human predators. Male elk, not so much.

Thornton Hall in Dartmouth Row presented a nice backdrop as I rode by one evening:

Shadow on Thornton Hall.jpg

All of the buildings in the Row has been repainted in the last few months. They look more lovely than ever.

A GoFundMe site has been created to assist Ernest Evans ‘16:

Ernest Evans.jpg

After only one day the appeal has raised $45,890 of its $50,000 goal.

About once in a decade a Dartmouth athlete makes it in the pros (way to go, Kyle!), but the rest of our varsity athletes had better leave Hanover with a degree and some old-fashioned learning. And happily enough, they do. The below NCAA figures show that virtually all Dartmouth athletes graduate in four years (99+%, at least — the figures below are like batting averages where the denominator is 1,000):

NCAA Graduation Rate Comp 2016.jpg

That’s quite a remarkable result, given that the four-year-graduation rate among all undergraduates is somewhere in the 86-88% range according to the most excellent Dartmouth FactBook:

Dartmouth Graduation Rates.jpg

U.S. News lists our four-year graduation rate as 86%.

The faculty can take some credit for student-athletes’ results, but more should go to the coaches themselves. Some teams, like football, ride their players almost as hard off the field as they do on it, and the Athletics Department’s various initiatives drill into everyone that success is not just about points on the board. Bravo, Dartmouth.

Addendum: If Phil wants to improve the College’s graduation rates, he needs to bring in more athletes.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Reading your post on the graduation rates of the athletic teams, I couldn’t help but think back to the reign of Dean Furstenberg who had no time for sports teams…

Elizabeth Smith1.jpgAfter making the rounds of several faculty members, the consensus seems to be that Elizabeth Smith (not “Liz,” please) is the real deal. While not everyone is convinced that she won’t be kissing up to Parkhurst (though other professors pointedly note her spirited independence), and in my cynical moments I wonder if Phil Hanlon is capable of making a good appointment (think fruit of the poisonous tree and all that), my contacts seem to admire her tough-mindedness, seriousness and thoughtfulness. As one faculty member in a position to know said, she will fight for the Arts & Sciences.

The Biology department is one of the College’s best, and Smith’s scholarly record, while far from extraordinary, seems to show accomplishment — though don’t look to me to understand her most cited paper: The radial spokes and central apparatus: Mechano-chemical transducers that regulate flagellar motility (187 citations in the works of other researchers). Check out her lab’s website.

As well, Smith has a background and interests in dance and the arts, which might translate into good relations with the Humanities faculty — many of whose members are skeptical of science faculty members’ respect for their division.

Most importantly, Smith will be filling a role in which she will receive little guidance. Phil is puttering about doing whatever it is that he does (though the somnolence of the capital campaign makes one wonder), and Provost Dever is interviewing furiously at other schools, so we can expect that Dever’s engagement in the life of the College will be only sporadic until some other institution of higher learning makes the same mistake that we did. The door is open for Smith to innovate — and maybe do a little cost reduction, too, among the 309 non-faculty staffers in the Dean of the A&S Faculty area (who are those people?).

So let’s welcome Elizabeth Smith with mild hopefulness. We might call her the Duthu Dividend.

Addendum: Read the College’s press release here, the Valley News article on Smith’s appointment here.

Biology Professor Elizabeth Smith has been named Dean of the Faculty. She had been passed over in favor of Bruce Duthu, but she got the nod on Phil’s do-over:

Elizabeth Smith.jpgSent to all faculty and students:

Elizabeth Smith, the Paul M. Dauten Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences, has been appointed dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, President Phil Hanlon ‘77 and Provost Carolyn Dever announced today.

Smith, who has served as associate dean of the sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for the past two years, and before that served as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for three years, will succeed Dean Michael Mastanduno on July 1. Mastanduno, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government, has spent seven years as dean.

President Hanlon says that Smith’s track record shows her to be eminently suited to lead the arts and sciences.

“Elizabeth Smith is an outstanding professor and researcher whose wealth of experience in training students at all levels goes hand in hand with her inspiring vision for arts and sciences along with her commitment to support faculty as they achieve new heights. I am delighted that she will be the next dean of faculty, and will look forward to working with her on strengthening academic excellence at Dartmouth,” he says.

Smith, who will serve a five-year term and oversee 41 departments and programs and about 450 faculty members, says she’s looking forward to leading arts and sciences.

“The dean of the faculty plays an essential role in shaping and communicating the mission of the faculty, as well as securing the necessary resources to carry out that mission. I am deeply honored to serve the faculty as their dean and look forward to working with faculty members in all divisions to realize their highest aspirations,” Smith says.

“With the increasing pressure to justify the value of a liberal arts education and, at the same time, to compete for the best students and faculty within that space, the current climate in higher ed may seem unstable, even volatile,” she says. “But I see this time as dynamic and energized. From my perspective, the conditions are ripe for transformative action, and Dartmouth has all of the right ingredients to be a leader in that transformation. Collectively, we must ensure that actions result in progress that supports our collective mission and core values.”

Provost Carolyn Dever says Smith will be a strong advocate for the highest standards in teaching and research.

“Elizabeth’s creative and inclusive approach to leadership makes her a truly exciting choice for this important role. Her knowledge and experience will be invaluable in working with the faculty in their distinctive scholar-teacher mission,” says Dever.

A scientist whose research focuses on the assembly and motility of cilia and flagella—structures on the surface of cells—Smith has trained undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates in her lab, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since her arrival at Dartmouth in 1998. She has also received funding from the National Science Foundation and the March of Dimes Foundation for her research.

In addition to her research and teaching, Smith has had an active interest in connections between the arts and the sciences. As biological sciences chair, she worked with the Hood Museum of Art to commission a sculpture by artist and alumnus Gar Waterman ‘78 for the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, she worked with the Hopkins Center for the Arts to connect science faculty with emerging composer Fay Wang to commission a musical interpretation of microbiology.

“The arts and sciences are more similar than you might think,” says Smith. “The output of both disciplines requires enormous creativity and a high level of technical proficiency. Both result in new ways of thinking about the world around us. And where the two intersect, the results can be incredibly powerful.”

“Dartmouth should be a place where the greatest minds come together to ask difficult questions and engage in creative and critical thinking to generate new knowledge and solve important problems. I feel very strongly that the institution also has a moral obligation to set an example to the world for how to engage in deep, honest, inclusive, and respectful discourse about the most controversial issues of our time,” she says.

Smith came to Dartmouth in 1998 as an assistant professor. She was named a full professor in 2010 and served as chair of biological sciences for three years, beginning in 2012. She has served on a number of committees and has worked across schools. She was a member of the Graduate and Advanced Studies Task Force for the development of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and co-chaired the Science Strategy Working Group, tasked by Dever to develop a strategy to guide future investment in the STEM fields across campus.

In her professional service, Smith has served as chair of a Gordon Research Conference, an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in biological, chemical, and physical sciences. She is currently serving on a National Institutes of Health Study Section, a panel that performs peer reviews of grant applications. In 2014, she received the Dauten endowed professorship at Dartmouth. A year earlier, she was inducted into Dartmouth’s Phi Beta Kappa Society chapter as an honorary member. She has received a number of external honors and fellowships, including being chosen as a K.R. Porter Fellow by the Porter Endowment for Cell Biology in 2008. The endowment, named for the researcher considered to have established the field of cell biology, honors mid-career scientists who have the potential for an outstanding career in cell biology.

Smith received her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from Agnes Scott College and her PhD in cell and developmental biology from Emory University. Before coming to Dartmouth, Smith spent six years at the University of Minnesota, where she received a prestigious American Cancer Society fellowship for her post-doctoral work in genetics and cell biology.

Mastanduno, an expert in the field of international relations, served a five-year term as dean and then, at Hanlon’s request, agreed in 2015 to serve another two years. After a yearlong sabbatical beginning July 1, Mastanduno will return to teaching and research at the College.

Smith’s appointment follows the appointment in March of N. Bruce Duthu ‘80 to the dean’s post. Duthu, the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth, declined the appointment last month, citing controversy over his support four years ago, as a member of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which he said had become a distraction with the potential to undermine his ability to serve effectively as dean.

Kathryn Cottingham, professor and chair of biological sciences, and Mona Domosh, professor of geography, co-chaired the search committee that recommended finalists for the dean’s job to Hanlon. The other members of the committee were Robert Bonner, a professor and chair of history; Graziella Parati, a professor of Italian literature and of women’s and gender studies; Steve Swayne, a professor of music; and Peter Winkler, a professor of mathematics and computer science.

Dever and Hanlon thanked the search committee members for their work on this important search. Cottingham and Domosh, speaking on behalf of the committee, say they are very pleased with the selection of Smith as the next dean.

“Elizabeth is an outstanding scholar with an international reputation in cell biology. As associate dean for sciences, she has worked tirelessly to champion Dartmouth’s teacher-scholar model, attract the very best new faculty, and build bridges not only across the arts and sciences, but to the Geisel School of Medicine and Thayer School of Engineering. We look forward to working with her to champion the liberal arts at Dartmouth,” the co-chairs said in an email.

A search for the next associate dean of the sciences will begin soon.

Everyone knows that back in the 1970’s Phil Hanlon’s Alpha Delta nickname was Juan Carlos:

Hanlon Juan Carlos.jpg

But did you know that Phil was a serious pong player? So much so that he took to the pages of The D on October 16, 1976 to provide a scholarly exegesis on the biblical origins of the College’s signature sport:

Hanlon Beer PongComp1.jpg

At what point did Phil become a PC scold?

Addendum: Trivia buffs will note that the ad for the Lina Wertmuller movie Seven Beauties playing at the Nugget refers to the Nugget 1&2. The theater only had two screen in my day, up from one in years prior.

In a word: money. In this NYT-derived chart, we have listed the Ivies by their generosity in financially aiding lower income students. As far as Dartmouth goes, not so good, right? We are sixth in the rankings, not only after HYP, but also lagging behind Columbia and Brown:

NYT Endowment Per Student2.jpg

But let’s reshuffle the deck and order the Ivies by endowment per student. Now we are a solid fourth after HYP, and far richer than the lower four Ivies: Penn, Columbia, Brown and Cornell:

NYT Endowment Per Student1a.jpg

Your first conclusion should be how tight-fisted we are in sharing the bounty of our huge endowment with needy families. The second one is how much wealthier we are than the non-HYP schools. How can, say, Columbia do big science (and admit more kids from poor families) and we supposedly can’t, when we have well over double the endowment per student of the Manhattan-dwelling school.

One day the College will have a real President, one who will focus on education rather than social welfare. What a glorious school we will become when that person trims all the fat and applies the huge savings to the faculty and students.

Addendum: As I have written repeatedly, if we could educate our students for the same per student cost as Brown, we’d free up approximately $250 million/year from the budget — about a quarter of all spending. That’s the equivalent of adding $5.0 billion to the endowment. You could pay for a great many laboratories with that kind of money — let alone refurbished dorms, competitive salaries for professors, and a raft of innovative programs that would interest the whole world in a Dartmouth education.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Your financial analysis is spot on. I can never understand how these idiots who claim to know how to run a non-profit institution of higher learning don’t have a clue about financial mgmt. I personally think someone other than the higher-ups in the administration, those overeducated and self appointed experts in all things, should never be allowed to handle the money. That’s what the Board should be doing…OOPS…I forgot they have packed the Board with like-minded souls.

The first rule in management should always be accountability. Why is there none at Dartmouth? As I’ve said before… IT TAKES GREAT TEACHERS AND GREAT STUDENTS TO MAKE A GREAT SCHOOL. EVERYONE ELSE IS AN EMPLOYEE.

Somebody has to tell it like it is.

Thanks for all you do. It’s a labor of love.

The College’s official photographer, Eli Burakian ‘00, is an artist, so I feel compelled to imagine that either Phil Hanlon himself or another staffer — someone without a hint of feeling for beauty — chose the below site for this year’s group Commencement photo of the Trustees and honorary degree recipients:

Trustees Construction Fence.jpg

I mean, really? A construction fence, a cement mix hopper and a slice of Wilson Hall as a backdrop for the muckymucks who are the legal owners of the College? All that’s missing is a Porta-Potty.

When students down the road view this group portrait, will they feel the same awe as when we look at paintings of past Dartmouth leaders in Baker?

Addendum: A Parent writes in:

Perhaps the photographer was illustrating the administration’s current atmosphere of comprehensive shabbiness — and the zombie plague of Stockholm-syndrome compliance that seems to have fatally infected the Trustees…

The second important Dartmouth pitcher in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, Duncan Robinson ‘16, is tearing a swath at Class-A South Bend. He was just named the Cubbies’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Robinson, 23, went 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in five games. Robinson has struck out 24 while walking two in 27 innings. His 0.70 WHIP led the Midwest League in May.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Robinson ranks fourth in the Midwest League with a 1.34 ERA, and he has struck out 43 while walking seven in 53 2/3 innings.

Robinson was a ninth-round pick out of Dartmouth in the 2016 draft.

Duncan Robinson1.jpg

Addendum: One has to think that coach Whalen’s pool of potential recruits improves each time an alum does well in the majors.

Addendum: At this point in the season Kyle Hendricks is 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA. His slow start mirrors the Cubs’ early season struggles. He been on the disabled list for the last week due to tendinitis in his pitching hand.

Addendum: And in case you missed it (I did), Beau Sulser ‘16 was named 2017 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year about a month ago. He was taken this week in the 10th round of the MLB Draft by the Pirates. Big Green Alert reports that he was the first Ivy player drafted.

Also, Pitcher Michael Danielak ‘17 was picked in the 19th round by the Athletics.

Way back when we called it stupidity when a person could not see the forest for the trees. Today anecdotes, particularly when cited by the President, seem to trump hard data adduced by scholars. Needless to say, rational people need to push back, as Tuck Dean Matt Slaughter did on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal:

Slaughter WSJ June 14, 2017A.jpg

Slaughter WSJ June 14, 2017B.jpg

Read the entire article here

Hard on the heels of Matt Heineman ‘05’s Oscar-nominated documentary Cartel Land (2015), he’s back with another work that is garnering a lot of attention: City of Ghosts. From its trailer blurb:

City of Ghosts follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” - a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014… This is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Matt clearly does not flinch when the bullets fly:

Here’s what we wrote about Matt in February 2016:

At the College, Matt was a history major and a recruited lacrosse player. He appeared in 47 games over four seasons,. He had wanted to teach, but Teach For America did not want him, so he and three friends embarked on a 90-day cross country trip. Matt had never picked up a video camera nor taken a film class until that point in his life, but the group visited 48 states and interviewed dozens of millennials in an effort that resulted in his first film Our Time, which he finished while working as an assistant editor for NBC Sports. Matt then offered the film to HBO, which didn’t like it enough to buy it, but admired it sufficiently to offer Matt a job. He worked for two years under director Susan Froemke and producer John Hoffman on The Alzheimer’s Project, learning his craft in the process. His next project was Escape Fire, The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare (2012), an Emmy-nominated documentary about America’s broken, costly healthcare system. He followed up with Cartel Land…

What a fine example Matt is of a liberally educated person: he graduated with no film-making skills, but he obviously knew how to learn, and when his time in Hanover ended, his education in the cinema began. Of course, the knowledge that he needs to make documentaries is a great deal broader than manipulating a camera: it includes thoroughly studying a situation, earning the trust of subjects, developing and telling a story in words and images, and organizing the entire project as a business enterprise. Such abilities come from a deeper and broader education than can be obtained in film school.

Quite a guy.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Nice piece on Matt Heineman. You might also want to add that he belongs to one of the Hanlon-despised fraternities, Theta Delta Chi.



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