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Statement of Commitment

Students walking at Dickinson


For more than two centuries, Dickinson College has benefited from the devotion, service and contributions of many thousands of its alumni and friends. From this broad constituency, a limited number of individuals have been asked to assume the special responsibility and honor of serving as college trustees, and among this group, two alumni are selected to serve as Young Alumni Trustees. The high standard of performance asked of those who serve in this capacity is essential to the continued vitality and strength of the institution. For that reason, individuals who are honored with the privilege of trusteeship must understand clearly the responsibilities of that position.

All members of the Board of Trustees of Dickinson College serve as ultimate fiduciaries for the college. Their oversight of institutional affairs, in accordance with the charter and bylaws of the college, is implemented through periodic statements of mission and purpose and institutional plans. Young Alumni Trustees of Dickinson College accept the privilege and responsibility of office by being engaged, motivated leaders who are eager and willing to provide the college with advisory resources. Young Alumni Trustees are selected and expected to fulfill certain obligations as follows: 

(1) Young Alumni Trustees must demonstrate a continuing dedication and commitment to the college by making the college one of their highest service priorities. Trustees should strive to uphold and strengthen the historic role and reputation of the college as one of the finest liberal-arts colleges in the country.

(2) Young Alumni Trustees are expected to promote the college favorably to all members of the college community and to the communities in which they live and work. Trustees are expected to make personal contacts to assist in the development of alumni relations, prospective student recruitment and the continued growth, prosperity and reputation of the college.

(3) Each trustee is expected to serve and actively participate in the work of the board committees to which they are assigned. Committee assignments are made annually by the chair of the board and are rotated from time to time to expose trustees to multiple issues confronting the college. Trustees are expected to bring new insights, and demonstrate creativity and leadership in the work of the board’s committees.

(4) Trustees are expected to make attendance at board weekends among their highest scheduling priorities. A typical board weekend begins with dinner on Thursday evening and concludes around noon on Saturday. All trustees are expected to attend and participate in all board weekend meetings and activities. Absences should be rare and only for the most compelling of reasons. Trustees also are expected to attend and participate in meetings of committees to which they are assigned that are held between regularly scheduled board weekends.

(5) Trustees have an obligation to inform themselves about the work of the college and to familiarize themselves with the scope and diversity of issues existing in the life of the college as well as issues that affect higher education nationally. In advance of each board meeting, trustees are expected to review carefully the materials distributed in preparation for plenary and committee meetings in order that the actions of the board be based upon informed and thoughtful consideration of the issues. 

(6) Trustees are expected to commit themselves to serving the college as a whole, rather than represent the interests of any particular constituency, to ensure that all actions of the board are made to advance the mission of Dickinson College and not for the benefit of any individual interest or group. 

(7) Trustees are expected to recognize the distinction between management of the college and its governance. The board is a corporate body that approves college policies and monitors their implementation and the administration is responsible for the day-to-day management. Trustees should not interfere with the operational functions of the college that are within the purview of the faculty, administration or staff. 

(8) Trustees are expected to avoid any situation that could cause even the appearance of a conflict of interest in accord with the Statement on Conflicts of Interest adopted by the board. Any potential or actual conflict should be disclosed promptly and handled in accord with that statement.

(9) The president of the college or designee generally is the public spokesperson for the college. Substantive information relating to real or perceived grievances from individuals or groups should be referred to the chair of the board or the president of the college.

(10) Trustees are expected to maintain the confidentiality of all board activities, deferring to the chair of the board and the president of the college to make any public disclosure. The details of board deliberations should remain private, but decisions, once made, should be supported by all members of the board. Each trustee has the responsibility for good public relations, and, in public, should stand united with the institution and its policies.

(11) Trustees are expected to refrain from seeking from the president or administrative staff of the college any special favors. 

Young Alumni Trustees are elected by the full board for one term of two years. Before agreeing to stand in nomination, potential new members will be informed of the expectations of the board and will be provided with relevant documents. Upon election, new members are expected to participate in a meaningful and instructive orientation process.

Trusteeship for Dickinson College offers to those who serve the privilege of contributing to the continuing growth and development of the college which they have made a very high service priority. Board service provides the unique stimulation of working with a body of committed, self-motivated individuals who seek to ensure the continuing success of a liberal-arts education and the satisfaction of knowing that they follow in a tradition dating to the recognition of our country. By accepting the responsibilities set forth in this statement, Young Alumni Trustees of the college recognize that their work will produce an intellectual environment that will shape the careers and lives of future generations of Dickinsonians. All trustees acknowledge a collective responsibility and privilege to aid Dickinson College to become the leader in defining liberal-arts education in the future.