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Dartmouth announces $20 million gift for diversity in STEM fields

  • Dartmouth College trustee Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe and her husband John Donahoe, the CEO of Nike and a former Dartmouth trustee, have given $20 million to the college to draw more underrepresented groups to STEM fields. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/16/2021 9:32:20 PM
Modified: 5/17/2021 9:16:21 AM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College on Sunday said an alumni couple has given the college $20 million to boost efforts to draw more underrepresented groups to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to encourage more such faculty members early in their careers.

The gift — from a Dartmouth trustee who has been active in human rights and her husband, one of the highest-paid CEOs in the country — is jump-starting a $60 million initiative to “to support diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM at Dartmouth through faculty diversity, student support, and community building efforts,” Dartmouth said in a news release Sunday evening.

“This year has served as a wake-up call for America on race,” Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, the Dartmouth trustee, said in the release. “It was a year when we were forced to recognize the inadequacy of our own understanding of racial justice in the United States. We wanted to do something about the race issues we face in America.”

Donahoe, a 1981 Dartmouth graduate, is the executive director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University and was a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council during the Obama administration.

Her husband John Donahoe, the CEO of Nike and the former CEO of eBay and PayPal, received $53 million in compensation from Nike last year, according to Fortune magazine.

“Our Dartmouth experience had a profound impact on our lives, including teaching us the importance of diversity and inclusion,” John Donahoe, a 1982 Dartmouth graduate and former trustee, said in the news release. “We are honored to help support future generations of Dartmouth students from historically underrepresented groups.”

The money from the Donahoes will establish a fellowship for six “early-career” members of the Dartmouth faculty in STEM fields and also endow and expand Dartmouth’s existing  E. E. Just Program, named for a prominent African-American biologist who graduated from Dartmouth in 1907. The program is intended to provide mentorship, research opportunities and internships and academic enrichment programs for “historically underrepresented students” in STEM fields, according to Dartmouth.

Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon said the gift will expand opportunities for talented students and said, “Through this extraordinary gift, Dartmouth will pursue programs that help create a racially and ethnically diverse talent pipeline for the next generation of engineers, doctors, computer scientists, and the professors who will teach them.”

Dartmouth cited statistics from the National Science Foundation in 2018 that showed while Hispanics, Latinos, Blacks and native Americans comprise 33% of the population, they received just 24% of all bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, only 22% of master’s degrees and about 13% of doctoral degrees.

The announcement of the Donahoes’ gift was the latest step by Dartmouth to address equity issues in its ranks following a letter last summer signed by more than 300 faculty, students and staff, many of them people of color, raising concerns about structural racism at the college.

John P. Gregg can be reached at

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