We Are What We Do

Dartmouth College, one of the original nine chartered colonial colleges of America, was founded in 1769 on traditional, unceded Abenaki land along the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. Its founder, The Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, was joined by The Rev. Samson Occom, an ordained minister of the Mohegan Tribe, to dedicate the new school to educating Native American students.

To build and sustain a new college in the wilderness, Rev. Wheelock made use of the uncompensated labor of his enslaved men and women of African descent. Later funding for the College came from private sources tied to profits from the Atlantic slave trade.

After the founding years, the initial vision to educate Native students gave way to an exclusive focus on young men of European descent. The first class of four white men graduated in 1771 to mark the beginning of Dartmouth's distinction as the only colonial college to conduct its educational mission without interruption through the American Revolution to the present.

To the undergraduates' numbers were added students of African descent, who were admitted continuously beginning in 1824, four decades before other Ivy League institutions followed suit. In 1972, the College began the transition to full coeducation. Two years earlier, Dartmouth had revived its founding commitment to Native American students. The Indigenous community is now a visible and valued presence on Dartmouth's campus, with students from more than 70 tribal nations and communities. The legacy of Dartmouth's mission has expanded to foster an inclusive and vibrant college community—with four thriving graduate and professional schools—that embrace principles of equity for all peoples of this diverse world.


To educate ethical citizens, a university must be driven by a set of values embraced by the entire community. At Dartmouth, we integrate our core values into our curriculum, our culture, and our campus so that students, staff, and faculty live those principles. Here's what that looks like day-to-day at Dartmouth:

  • We expect academic excellence, encourage independent thought, and promote a robust culture of interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • We support a faculty of scholars who are leaders in their fields, passionate about teaching, and committed to mentorship and collaboration with their students.
  • We recruit and admit outstanding students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial means, so that finances are never a barrier to admission.
  • We build a diverse community of faculty and students and leverage that diversity to enrich and deepen the education of our future global citizens.
  • We foster lifelong bonds among faculty, staff, and students to encourage a culture of integrity, collaboration, and collegiality.
  • We instill in students a sense of responsibility for one another and for the broader world, and give them ample opportunities to share their expertise and passions.
  • We promote the vigorous and open debate of ideas while encouraging mutual respect for diverse opinions.
  • We provide comprehensive out-of-classroom experiences, including service opportunities, international study, and global engagement.

For generations, Dartmouth graduates have left Hanover with an unerring set of principles that they have carried into the world as leaders in government, industry, academia, journalism, and many other realms. In every field of endeavor and every area of expertise, our alumni are distinguished by their embrace of collaboration, their commitment to creating a vibrant community, and their loyalty to Dartmouth and to their fellow alumni.