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Spirit and Tradition: An Atlanta family falls in love with Dartmouth

January 2009

Michael and Adelaide Searvance live in Atlanta, Georgia, where he is a pharmacist and she is an investment portfolio manager. They have two daughters, Kanika '11, and Safiya, a high school senior.

Adelaide: When Kanika was researching colleges, I recommended she look closely at Dartmouth. Given her personality, and what she wanted from a college, I thought Dartmouth would be a good fit. Also, I had a high school classmate who attended Dartmouth; she and Kanika are similar in many ways.

Michael: Spring break, during Kanika's junior year in high school, we planned her college tour. We flew to Newark, rented a car, and eventually made our way to the Dartmouth Admissions Office, where we learned that we missed the last campus tour. Kanika suggested that we lodge overnight and take the tour the following morning. During the morning tour, I clandestinely watched Kanika and noticed her interest in Dartmouth mounting. She was very attentive and enthralled by our backward-walking tour guide. We met several students who were perfect advertisements for Dartmouth, telling us how satisfied they were choosing Dartmouth as their new home. Later that afternoon, we drove to Boston and looked at more colleges. On our way home, all I heard was, "Dartmouth...Dartmouth...Dartmouth." Kanika was hooked and so were we.

Adelaide: Kanika is a student with varied interests. She finds Dartmouth's broad array of course offerings very appealing. She loves that she is encouraged to take classes in other disciplines while majoring in Spanish and concentrating in premed. Another appealing aspect for her is that Dartmouth is so green, literally. Kanika is the environmentalist of the family, so Dartmouth's eco-friendly environment is perfect for her. She enjoys the College's traditions too, like the DOC green eggs and ham breakfast, the Homecoming bonfire, and Winter Carnival.

Michael: We went to Dartmouth for Homecoming this fall. We had an awesome time. It's amazing how alumni, and the entire Hanover community, support Homecoming Weekend with vigor and pride. What a great tradition.

Adelaide: When I first saw the campus, I was awestruck by its simple beauty. I was further taken when I learned that President Dwight Eisenhower visited Dartmouth in 1953 and said, "This is what a college should look like." Some fifty years later I too thought, Wow! Yes, this is what a college should look like.

Michael: As new Dartmouth parents, we decided to join the Parents and Grandparents Fund Committee. We believe in promoting a spirit of giving in the girls. We want them to understand the importance of giving and witness the power of supporting institutions. Individual family support may not seem like a lot, but collective family support is what drives schools to greatness, providing the necessary funds that support programs and opportunities for the entire community to enjoy. As we talk to Dartmouth parents about giving to Dartmouth, we find that some parents are a little apprehensive about giving, considering the current state of our economy. But most families feel as we do and continue to show some level of support, although it may be less than previous levels.

Adelaide: Supporting Dartmouth is important and well worth it. Our support helps inside and outside of the classroom. I've already seen the benefits in our daughter. Kanika is learning, thinking more broadly, and processing information with a higher level of logic. Overall, she is more analytical. I see her growing academically, culturally, and socially, and I expect that to continue.

Michael: Our hope is that Dartmouth continues to encourage Kanika to develop her passions.