The (Resolved) Mystery of the Disappearing Furniture

’69 Classmates,

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of traffic on the class discussion listserv and on some email threads on which I was copied about a situation at the DOC House that might be called The Mystery of the Disappearing Furniture.  If you have not been following this story, here’s a little background:

Several weeks ago, Paul Tuhus and Dimitri Gerakaris independently discovered that a large fraction of the custom-made furniture that we had purchased as part of the DOC House renovation project, every piece of which was approved by the College’s project manager, was missing from the DOC House.  Queries about it did not elicit straightforward answers, and some of what we heard was downright troublesome, e.g., that much of the furniture had been “repurposed”!  Dimitri and Paul are both active members of the Dartmouth Club of the Upper Valley, which was scheduled to have its spring get-together at the DOC House, so urgent calls went out to various contacts at the College that the furniture needed to be back in place for that meeting, and the response was positive:  We were assured that all the furniture would be back in place for that meeting; however, when the DCUV meeting took place, none of it had been returned.  That is when the listserv and email threads really heated up.  

This situation began heading toward resolution when Andy McLane, who had chaired the 50th Reunion Gift Committee, arranged a meeting at the DOC House for Andy, Paul, Dimitri, Julie Mathias, who had much to do with the furniture selection and placement, and me to meet with four representatives of the College, Andrew Davidson, Vice President for Development; Cheryl Bascomb ’82, Vice President for Alumni Relations; Ann Root Keith, COO for Advancement, who oversees Conferences and Events, the office that has been managing the DOC House; and Michael Kiefer, a senior development officer who works with the President’s Office and who had shepherded our project throughout its evolution.

That meeting took place on Tuesday, March 29th.  Your class representatives arrived before the College representatives, and we were relieved to see the furniture back in place.  A positive tone for the meeting was established when Dimitri set a fire ablaze in the Club Room fireplace for which he had designed and fabricated andirons and a fire-screen.  We learned from the College reps that the missing furniture had been moved to a warehouse to open up enough floor space for the largest anticipated events.  The manager responsible kept it in the warehouse; the College reps with whom we met suggested that he did so to protect it from damage.  We made it clear that the furniture and its placement in the house reflected the class’s intent that the DOC House be a welcoming place for the greater Dartmouth community, not simply an empty venue for events.  By the end of the meeting, everyone agreed that the default condition was that the furniture would remain in the DOC House in the placement that had been designed.  This did not preclude that some of it could be temporarily removed for a specific event; however, the cost of removal and return of the furniture would have to be borne by the sponsors of such an event.  We left with high hope that this understanding will be honored; the College participants came across as sincere, and all-in-all, we appear to have landed in a good place.

So, we can look forward to our 75th Birthday Celebration, future Homecomings, etc., at the DOC House – furniture in place.

All the best,
Jim Staros ‘69
Class President


Seated left to right: Andy McLane ’69;  Cheryl Bascomb ’82, VP for Alumni Relations; Ann Root Keith, COO for Advancement A’05
Standing:  Andrew Davidson, VP for Advancement; Dimitri Gerakaris ’69; Julie Mathias beamed in from London; James Staros ’69; Paul Tuhus ’69; and Michael Kiefer, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Presidential Initiatives and Principal Gifts.