Creating the Institute


Soon after Phil Hanlon ’77 became president, he began talking with Dartmouth’s academic leadership about areas where Dartmouth could take advantage of its unique strengths to make an impact in an area of global significance. Those discussions—involving the provost, the dean of the faculty, and the deans of the Graduate School, Thayer, and Tuck—gave rise to the idea of an institute focused on the challenges posed by energy.

In September 2015, Hanlon appointed a task force to study the possibility of creating such an institute. The task force visited eight college campuses, started planning for the academic and physical structure of the institute, and began engaging faculty and students in discussion. Task force members included Christopher Levey, an associate professor of engineering at Thayer School of Engineering; Jay Hull, associate dean of the faculty for the social sciences; F. Jon Kull, dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies; Michael Zubkoff, professor of health economics and management at the Tuck School of Business and director of the MD/MBA program at Dartmouth; Ross Virginia, director of Dartmouth’s Institute of Arctic Studies and the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Studies; and Robert Hansen, the Norman W. Martin 1925 Professor of Business Administration at Tuck.

Interest from the family of Arthur L. Irving in supporting an energy institute grew out of conversations between the College and the Irving family—Arthur, his wife, Sandra Irving, and their daughter, Sarah Irving ’10, Tuck ’14—about the need for a center of excellence that would support faculty and students engaged in solving energy problems from multiple perspectives.

This combination—a clear challenge identified by academic leadership and a desire by the Irving family to support Dartmouth’s efforts to take on this challenge—resulted in the creation of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.A second task force is now meeting to assist in the launch of the institute, working to establish a foundation of activities on which to build. They are also in the process of appointing a search committee whose members will conduct a national search for the institute's executive director.

In addition to Hansen, Levey, and Virginia, the group includes Andrew Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a, P’10 Professor of Economics and director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy; Erin Mansur, the Revers Professor of Business Administration at Tuck; Mukul Sharma, a professor of earth sciences; Geoffrey Parker, a professor of engineering and director of the master’s of engineering management program at Thayer; Rosalie Kerr ’98, director of sustainability; and April Salas, executive director of the Revers Energy Institute at Tuck.

A Home for the Irving Institute

True to its interdisciplinary focus, the institute will be situated between the Tuck School of Business and Thayer School of Engineering, placing it in proximity to the cutting-edge activities of the two schools and creating a point of convergence for faculty and students from around campus who are engaged in issues related to energy and society. Its physical location in front of the Murdough Center adds a prominent new facade to Tuck Drive.


The Irving Institute will be run by a faculty director reporting to Dartmouth’s provost. Consistent with other centers and institutes at the College, the provost, with input from the executive director of the Irving institute, will nominate for approval by the Dartmouth board of trustees a board of advisers that will include scholars, industry leaders, and practitioners from diverse areas of the energy field in the U.S., Canada, and other countries. The advisers will provide the executive director of the institute—as well as the president, provost, and board of trustees of Dartmouth—advice on the strategy and operations of the institute in service to its mission and also serve as a connection to the outside world of energy in today’s society. The advisory board will have broad representation from many areas, including academia, industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations.


During the initial years of the institute’s development, its leadership will address three concurrent priorities:

  • the conception of a mature institute, fully operational by 2020, with close attention to its faculty recruitment plan, educational activities, and outreach programs
  • the institute’s topic priorities and research plans, with input from  Dartmouth’s academic community
  • the design and construction of a building that supports the programmatic vision, serves as a magnetic hub for intellectual life, and—in its efficiency and leading technology—expresses the values of the institute. An active calendar of institute programming and sponsored research will emerge by year three to foster on-campus partnerships.

In this coming academic year, 2016-2017, the institute will be guided by a faculty task force and will be focused on:   

  • searching for a faculty executive director
  • selecting an architect for the building and launching the planning for the building
  • building a broad Dartmouth faculty interest group with internal and external speakers
  • having public events focused on the topic of energy and society
  • building student interest by launching activities directed at all levels of students at Dartmouth (undergraduate, master, and doctorate)
  • continuing planning the organizational structure of the Institute, with a focus on the way that faculty will interact with the institute
  • completing an inventory of faculty interested in energy, courses that touch on energy, and alumni in the energy field

June 2018:

  • start construction

Fall 2020:

  • open the institute