Meeting the President of Dartmouth

Title: Meeting the President of Dartmouth

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Customary Folklore: Ritual
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: USA

Informant Data:

This student is currently a 21 year old at Dartmouth College. She participated in this customary ritual as a freshman.

Contextual Data:

This is a customary ritual of Dartmouth College. As a freshman at Dartmouth College, in order to complete the matriculation process and officially become a recognized student, one must complete the ritual of shaking the current president’s hand. This experience is a rite of passage for becoming a Dartmouth student, as one is transitioning into a new stage of life. The ritual takes place in the President’s office and is customary to Dartmouth. The unique opportunity to meet the president of a prestigious university and shake his hand is considered by many to be memorable. Each student gains new perspective from the experience. The ritual can be considered the final step in matriculating a Dartmouth student. The hand shake itself, is a physical representation of a new beginning.


This item is a direct quote from an interview with ’20 Lauren Lackey.

“Having the opportunity to meet President Hanlon is an experience that I will never forget. I remember the experience vividly as it is a pretty special day for every freshman at Dartmouth. I remember waking up early and getting dressed up for the occasion. I then walked over to President Hanlon’s office with each student who lived on my floor in my dorm. We walked up the stairs in the building to President Hanlon’s office and he waited for us there. We lined up and one by one shook his hand and introduced ourselves. I remember feeling honored to be able to meet him. After meeting him I felt like I had officially been welcomed in to the Dartmouth community.”

Informant’s Comments:

Upon meeting the President of Dartmouth College, Lauren Lackey felt like she had finally been accepted into a community, which she had so long hoped to be a part of.

Collector’s Comments:

It was interesting hearing Lauren speak of her experience in the ritual of shaking President Hanlon’s hand. I remember when I was a freshman taking part in the exact same ritual and feeling very similarly about the experience.

Collector’s Name: John McCormick


  • Custom Lore, Ritual, Rite of Passage

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