We became convinced
Erna and Bob Place met at Brown in the mid-1970s and are dedicated Brown alumni. Nonetheless, the Needham, Massachusetts, couple are also active members of Dartmouth's Parents and Grandparents Fund Committee, delighted that their children, Camden '07 and Chelsea '10, chose Dartmouth. But as Erna, a clinical psychologist and community volunteer, is quick to note, she and Bob, the CEO of Genpower Holdings, weren't always so enthusiastic about their choice. When Camden decided to come to Dartmouth, We were anything but thrilled. Brown was out of the picture because Camden rowed lightweight crew, and the university didn't have a lightweight team. But our view of Dartmouth was very much from the '70s: we saw it as conservative, politically incorrect. Through Camden, their view changed. It's much more liberal than we had thought, Erna says. It's much more diverse. It's an intensely welcoming community. That really broadened our view.
Camden loved everything about his Dartmouth experience. From the moment he visited to the moment he graduated, he enjoyed every minute—and those minutes were focused on the intensity of the academics. The academics really were compelling to him.
He was a studio art major. He had fabulous opportunities in the art department to grow, to try different media. So he's really not your typical athlete, whatever that is. His experience was focused largely on his two passions, which were art and rowing.
He minored in math, I think mostly to appease us, because we worried that he would be unemployable with his art degree. Now he is teaching geometry and multivariable calculus at a boarding school. And he's helping coach the crew team.
A couple of his students recently asked him to supervise an independent study for them in the art department. He's found a way to carry on the diverse experience he had at Dartmouth. He loves being in an intensely academic and physical environment.
We weren't surprised when Chelsea decided to attend Dartmouth. She was drawn to Brown as well and went back and forth. But after all that she learned about Dartmouth from visiting Camden, she found Dartmouth to be the more well-rounded environment, and that was important to her.
Her experience has been very different from Camden's. Between the two of them they're covering a lot of what the College has to offer. Which is great, because it's a place that was able to accommodate both of them even though their interests are very different.
Chelsea is science-oriented. She was involved with the Women In Science Program as a freshman and now she's a WISP mentor. And she's working in a lab at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, so she's had great opportunities, too.
She decided not to be pre-med. She finished all the requirements and said, you know, I really don't want to be a doctor. So that's okay. Now she's focusing on biology and probably will pursue an advanced degree in genetics or something like that.
We became active in the Parents and Grandparents Fund Committee after meeting Beth [Meyer '96.] As an ambassador for Dartmouth, Beth told the story of why parents get involved and we bought it. We tend to be people who are involved in the community and Dartmouth became an extension of our style. We're happy to support it and happy to encourage other people to support it.