[In addition to being a Senior Technologist at Indium Corporation, Dr. Lasky is a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.]
2017 marks the 150-year anniversary of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. We in the engineering school like to think that our school is Thayer's most important accomplishment. Alas, we are at best number two on that list. Sylvanus Thayer graduated first as valedictorian from Dartmouth in 1807, and then from West Point in 1808. By 1817, West Point was in a shambles. Thayer was appointed by President Monroe to fix it. The reforms and practices he implemented have resulted in the West Point of today. Because of this, he is revered as the father of West Point.
Everybody appreciates how important West Point is to our country, but consider that, in addition to producing Grant, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton, the bonds of friendship of the generals who fought in the Civil War helped heal our nation. Of the 60 major battles of that war, 55 were commanded on both sides by a graduate of West Point. The other five were commanded on one side or the other by a West Point grad. The West Point ties, and friendship of these leaders, helped our nation heal after the war. Later in his life, Thayer came back to his first alma mater, Dartmouth, and donated the money to fund the beginnings of the Thayer School of Engineering, which opened its doors in 1867, 150 years ago. We are the only engineering school that requires our students to obtain a bachelor of arts in engineering first, before obtaining a bachelor of engineering degree. Our students are excellent at writing and speaking.
Our school is committed to small class sizes and interaction between the students and the faculty, a result being that all classes are taught by professors, not graduate students. Perhaps partly because of this intimate environment, Dartmouth has been recognized by a national magazine as the best college for an undergraduate education. We also have a strict honor code possibly influenced by Thayer's West Point connection. Our school motto is a quote from Thayer, “To prepare the most capable and faithful for the most responsible positions and the most difficult service.” I trust that if he were alive today, he would have confidence that we are fulfilling this mission.