Strength in Numbers
How We Got This Number
There was no one-stop shopping or simple calculation to arrive at what we referred to as the “magic number” during our months-long quest to find out how many undergraduate alumni the College has produced in all its years. We started with the usual suspects: alumni records, the registrar’s office, the office of institutional research’s Fact Book, the College archivist. Lots of suggestions, but nobody had a solid number. It was going to be a slog to get data from Dartmouth’s first 150 years, even though the classes back then were tiny. Then we turned to the old college histories gathering dust on DAM’s office bookshelves. In one precious 1940 volume, Dartmouth College and Associated Schools General Catalogue, we found all kinds of numbers—and names of every alumnus from the first class of 1771 through the class of 1939. The book lists a total of 26,781 undergraduate alumni (including 8,290 who did not graduate) for those years. (It also includes every alum’s birthday, address, job title, and, when relevant, date of death.) Next, we went back to alumni records and got a nifty spreadsheet that tallied all classes since 1940: 73,942. We had our magic number* —which had just rolled into six figures.
* Undergraduates who matriculated and whose classes have graduated. Does not include honorary degree recipients or adopted alums.
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