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colleen and her parents

I was stopped at a traffic light on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, my hometown, when I noticed a man in the car beside me frantically waving at me. I lowered my car window and the man enthusiastically pointed to my Dartmouth sticker and said that he was a Dartmouth alum. I forget the year he said he graduated, but there was no mistaking his unbridled enthusiasm and pride in graduating from Dartmouth. I smiled and told him that my daughter attended Dartmouth. Class of ‘19. He waved and drove off.

Another time, my daughter and I were walking on the indoor track at our local YMCA. She was home on college break. As we walked, we noticed a woman wearing a Dartmouth tee shirt. My daughter greeted her and mentioned that she was a Dartmouth student. The woman gushed about her Dartmouth experience, eager to talk about the college she clearly loved.

We have a summer place on Chautauqua Lake. On our front deck, I have a King Arthur Flour metal container that I use as a planter. It was a commemorative anniversary container. A neighbor walking by spotted the planter one day and stopped. “My son graduated from Dartmouth,” he proudly relayed, noting that the King Arthur planter gave away our Dartmouth connection. Anyone who attends Dartmouth surely has visited the King Arthur Flour Bakery, Cafe, & Store in nearby Norwich, Vermont.

Another time, we were out boating and, from the water, noticed a Dartmouth flag on a lakeside property flagpole. The flag waving in the wind was huge, enabling boaters from afar to see it. There was no mistaking that someone in that household attended Dartmouth and wanted others to know.

Dartmouth pride runs deep. My daughter (and our family, for that matter) bleed green. There’s a pride among those who attend and graduate from Dartmouth College that is undeniable. It spills over and cannot be contained.

We see it when we visit the campus, in the students and parents who don green. We see it in the alum that goes out of their way to let others know that they graduated from the Big Green. We see it in the flags, tee shirts, and apparel that those connected to Dartmouth proudly display. Dartmouth pride is contagious. It swells up, bursts out, and catches those in its path.

My husband and I each proudly display Dartmouth stickers on our cars. We wear Dartmouth apparel, drink from Dartmouth mugs and have a Dr. Seuss poster framed and hanging in our home. At a local restaurant on Chautauqua Lake, the owner tacked up the Dartmouth banner that we gave him. The banner is displayed center stage in the restaurant’s front room, easily spotted as patrons enter. We, too, have Dartmouth fever!

I can’t compare Dartmouth to other colleges. Maybe the pride others feel for their alma mater is just as strong. Maybe not. I can say, however, that it is a joy to be a part of a community that absolutely, overwhelmingly LOVES the school they are affiliated with. My daughter is extremely pleased with her decision to attend Dartmouth College (and so are we!) The opportunities and experiences she has been afforded through her connection to Dartmouth have been more than we could have ever imagined.

As her four years at the Big Green come to a close next year, I know that she will graduate with a sense of pride in what she has accomplished at Dartmouth. I know her connections will remain strong. And I also know that, no matter where she goes, she’ll take a little piece of Dartmouth with her.