Helping to Provide Students with “Tremendous Opportunities”

A new scholarship fund supports first-generation international students at Dartmouth

Jon and Carlyn Zehner

Carlyn and Jon Zehner ’79 recently created the Carlyn Barr Zehner P’09,’11,’15,’21 International Scholarship Fund, with a preference for supporting first-generation students from outside the United States. Jon is head of Global Partner Solutions at LaSalle, a real estate investment management firm. He is also co-chair of The Call to Lead EMEA Committee (Europe, Middle East, Africa). All four of the Zehners’ sons attended Dartmouth: William (“Zack”) ’09, Carl ’11, Nicholas ’15, and Callum ’21. Jon’s father was also a Dartmouth alumnus: Louis A. Zehner Jr. ’52 TU’53.

Carlyn and Jon explain what inspired them to create a scholarship fund to support first-generation international students. 

Jon: We choose to support financial aid because it helps talented students take advantage of the tremendous opportunities Dartmouth offers. If you listen to our children, what stood out to them is the quality of the interaction they had personally with numerous Dartmouth faculty. When you combine that teaching quality with outstanding fellow students, a liberal arts education in a beautiful environment, plus graduate programs with substantive research, it all results in one of the best educational experiences in the world. We need to work to ensure that Dartmouth is communicating to all secondary school students around the globe that this life changing opportunity is open to them, regardless of their ability to pay.

The more diverse perspectives in the student body, the better the institution becomes because of the incredible sharing and debating of different ideas.

Carlyn: And many international students go on to work in their home countries and help change their communities for the better.

Jon and I also feel strongly about giving to education and financial aid because it gives students, especially those with great need, the exposure and chances that our children have been privileged to experience. All our sons went to secondary school in England, then attended Dartmouth and majored and minored in a variety of areas: government, Spanish, history, chemistry, and Mandarin. Going from England to Dartmouth, navigating two very different cultures and educational systems, was so valuable for them.

Jon: The part we care deeply about in The Call to Lead is supporting need-blind admissions for all applicants to Dartmouth. We want the best and brightest to come to Dartmouth, from all backgrounds. Whatever people can do to support financial aid and make it easier for all students to fully benefit from a Dartmouth education makes a difference.

It’s important to show our gratitude for what Dartmouth has done for each of us individually, and as a family, with this gift. I also felt that we had to name the scholarship for Carlyn because it dawned on me at one point that she was the one member of the family who wouldn't have Dartmouth as part of her name. Now she will for many years to come.


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