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Dartmouth Gifted $20M for STEM Diversity

Published Thursday May 20, 2021

Dartmouth Gifted $20M for STEM Diversity

Dartmouth has received a gift of $20 million to enhance the representation, success, and leadership of historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The gift, from alumni Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe ’81 and John Donahoe ’82, will establish a fellowship for six early-career STEM faculty members, provide academic enrichment funds, and offer scholarship support that promotes access and affordability.

Eileen Donahoe is executive director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University and has served as a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. John Donahoe is the CEO of Nike, and has been CEO of eBay, PayPal, and a worldwide managing director at Bain & Co.

"Talent is equally distributed, even if opportunity is not,” Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 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. Eileen and John believe that Dartmouth can lead on this national issue and they are generously giving us the means to expand these proven programs.”

The gift honors the legacy of Dartmouth alumnus E.E. Just, an African American scientific trailblazer and valedictorian of Dartmouth’s Class of 1907. 

“This year has served as a wake-up call for America on race,” said Eileen Donahoe. “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.”

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

The gift will endow and expand Dartmouth’s E.E. Just Program to increase the number of historically underrepresented students pursuing degrees and careers in STEM fields by creating pathways to ensure their success through opportunities for intellectual engagement, professional growth, and mentorship. The gift will expand three core areas critical to student achievement in STEM: mentorship and networking, academic enrichment programs, and undergraduate internship and research opportunities.

“We are thrilled to include news of the Donahoe’s gift in the announcement of this new set of initiatives,” said Laurel Richie, chair of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. Eileen and John’s commitment to addressing racial and economic inequality is matched by the generosity of their gift, benefiting Dartmouth and the world, for generations to come.”

The $20 million gift opens a $60 million fund to support diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM at Dartmouth through faculty diversity, student support, and community building efforts. Initiatives of the overall program will include: 

  • Recruit Early-Career Faculty to Enhance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: An early-career faculty fellowship program will support an 18-member faculty cohort in their teaching and scholarship. 
  • Develop a Pipeline of Future BIPOC Leaders in STEM fields: A best-in-class, nationally recognized enrichment program and an endowed scholarship fund aimed at increasing the number of BIPOC students in STEM disciplines.
  • Create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Accelerator Fund: Empower and activate community-based strategies to improve campus climate and expedite innovative seed funding in the next one to two years. 
  • Foster an Intellectual Hub for Black Scholars: Establish a pilot program for a potential institute for Black intellectual and cultural life to foster dialogue and community for all students, faculty, and staff. 
  • Launch the Tribal Services and Solutions Project: Establish a pilot program for a potential institute to forge new collaborations between Dartmouth and Native American communities to address inequities in public health, economic development, and land rights.
  • Increase Faculty Teaching and Research on Racial Injustice: Build endowed resources for Dartmouth’s African and African American Studies program—among the oldest of its kind in the nation—as well as research and teaching focusing on race, ethnicity, and migration.

Individually and together, the initiatives introduce a system of supportive endeavors that are expected to drive current and future outcomes to ensure all members of the Dartmouth community feel a sense of belonging.


Matt Delmont, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History and special advisor to President Hanlon on faculty diversity for this academic year, said: “We selected these particular ideas because they speak to Dartmouth’s unique strengths and opportunities. Support for these initiatives will benefit the entire campus community and distinguish Dartmouth among our peers.”


The new initiatives represent the next phase of DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) efforts introduced under President Hanlon’s leadership. Since his address to the faculty in November 2013, the president has promoted the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion as an integral part of Dartmouth’s core missions of teaching and research.


A series of comprehensive initiatives has introduced practical, concrete actions to recruit and retain underrepresented faculty, improve the student social experience, and build community among BIPOC staff. Significant institutional investment has supported those initiatives, with additional resources focused on growing faculty diversity.


These initiatives are part of Dartmouth’s $3 billion The Call to Lead campaign to prepare a new generation of Dartmouth graduates for lives of leadership and impact. Generous financial support from more than 50,000 alumni, parents and friends has produced $2.8 billion to date in critical investments in academic excellence and student access.


The Donahoes are the first couple to have each served on Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees. Eileen is a current member of the board and John served from 2003-2012. The Donahoes have four children, three of whom graduated from Dartmouth: Jack, Thomas ’09, Catherine ’15, and Kevin ’17. Eileen and John credit Dartmouth as the place where they learned to work alongside, and lead, diverse groups of people—a legacy that has enriched and informed their careers and volunteer service.

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