Dartmouth College has announced a lead gift of $80 million from Irving Oil, the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation, and Arthur L. Irving and his family to establish a cross-disciplinary institute focused on energy sustainability.
With the goal of preparing future leaders in the field and driving changes in the production, supply, and use of energy, the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society will devote itself to the intersection of energy and society from four main perspectives — technology and science, society and the environment, business and economics, and geopolitics. New research initiatives and programs incubated by the institute will involve nearly every academic department in an integrated manner.
To date, Dartmouth has raised a total of $113 million toward its $160 million fundraising goal for the institute. Irving, chair of New Brunswick-based Irving Oil, and his wife, Sandra, have supported scholarships for Canadian students attending Dartmouth and supported the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving '72a P'10 Professorship of Economics. In partnership with the Tuck School of Business, the Irvings also helped fund undergraduate studies in business. Their daughter, Sarah, Irving Oil's executive vice president, is an alumna of both the college and the Tuck School.
"How we produce and provide access to sustainable forms of energy will shape life in the coming decades," said Dartmouth president Phil Hanlon. "Success defies easy or simplistic solutions. Instead, it requires a multi-dimensional approach that integrates science, technology, public policy, geopolitics, and business. In other words, it requires bringing the power and rigor of the liberal arts to bear on a complex problem."
"The institute's focus is a great combination — it's not energy alone, it's energy and how it connects to people, to society, to broad issues like climate change and environmental justice," said ecologist Ross Virginia, the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science. "There's no other problem facing our global society that's as important. Any action that Dartmouth can take now — creating new knowledge and new leaders generated from our student body — to solve these issues will have huge impacts on the future of societies around the planet."