Dartmouth Celebrates the Melding of the Liberal Arts and Technology—to Create a Better World

The Dartmouth Innovation & Technology Festival marks the opening of the new West End District, where students and faculty will shape interdisciplinary solutions to complex challenges

Tuck drive packed with students and community members lined up outside food trucks

Thousands of students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and Upper Valley residents attended the Dartmouth Innovation and Technology Festival, held May 12–14 to celebrate the grand opening of the West End District of campus.

Dartmouth developed the West End to enhance the College’s already vaunted liberal arts program by making computer science and engineering courses available to every undergraduate—providing them with the technological literacy necessary in nearly all professions today—and to create a crossroads where students and faculty from all disciplines will meet, share knowledge and perspectives, and transform ideas into products and services with broad impact.



"We are standing at the precipice of a revolution in how we think, teach, learn, and lead." President Philip J. Hanlon ’77

An exploration of issues, ideas, and new buildings

Over the festival’s three days, dozens of thought leaders shared insights into many of the world’s most pressing issues, from female-driven innovation in health care and the ethics of artificial intelligence to combatting climate change and the role of cryptocurrency in global commerce.


Related:  Watch every event—from panel discussions to fireside chats, and compelling conversations

Kristen Morrow Johnson holding a microphone and speaking, seated next to Bill Helman

Visitors explored two new West End buildings: the Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center, which the community dedicated on Friday, and the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. They watched a student start-up competition and celebrated the awarding of the first McGuire Family Prize for Societal Impact

Guests also took in student presentations, gave virtual reality a try, checked out student-made hybrid and electric racecars, and enjoyed a Friday evening light show.


a birdseye view of the West End and Tuck mall lit up at night
A grid of photos showing panel sessions, the light show and children interacting with exhibits

A gift that comes with responsibility

U.S. Senator Rob Portman ’78 and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III served as keynote speakers. Senator Portman emphasized the need for the United States to remain at the forefront of technological advancement as it competes with China, and he lauded the power of a liberal arts education.

Freeman Hrabowski III (right) speaks with President Phil Hanlon (left)

Hrabrowski, who in 30 years as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County has transformed his institution into a nationally recognized hotbed of innovation, stressed the importance of diversity in teaching and research, including the benefits of having a socioeconomic mix of students and faculty and the value of focusing multiple disciplines on complex challenges.

On Saturday morning, featured speaker Dave Girouard ’88 TH’89, cofounder and CEO of Upstart, an artificial intelligence lending platform, recounted his career from Apple to Google and then Upstart—and he cautioned guests that launching a business often means days filled with one difficult problem after another. “Entrepreneurship isn’t fun in the moment,” he said, “but it’s meaningful, it’s impactful, and it feels great.”

Geoff Ralston ’82, Caroline Hribar ’00, competition winner Julia Megson TU’23, Jamie Coughlin, Jeff Crowe ’78, and Errik Anderson ’00 TH’06 TU’07 pose during a check presentation
Celebrating the conclusion of the One Dartmouth Start-Up Competition were, from left, Geoff Ralston ’82, Caroline Hribar ’00, competition winner Julia Megson TU’23, Jamie Coughlin, Jeff Crowe ’78, and Errik Anderson ’00 TH’06 TU’07

Speaking at the festival’s concluding event—the One Dartmouth Start-Up Competition Finals presented by the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship—Trustee Jeff Crowe ’78 asked students and faculty to appreciate how alumni and friends had committed nearly $200 million to construct the Class of 1982 Center.

"This building is a gift to all of you, but it comes with a responsibility. We have a vision that you all can change the world." Jeff Crowe ’78 Trustee
ECSC dedication guests wave to a drone shot above. The letters Thank You are spelled out in the building's glass bridge
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