Joe Asch for Dartmouth

Reprinted below is an open letter to alumni of Dartmouth College, written by Joe Malchow ’08 in support of Joe Asch’s bid for that school’s Board of Trustees. The writers and editorial staff of this blog stand heartily behind Mr. Asch’s candidacy and encourage any Dartmouth readers to consider the same. More information is available at Joe’s website.  

Dear Dartmouth alumni,

This spring there are two vacant seats on the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees. For the first seat I will be voting for Morton Kondrake: he’s running unopposed and is a brilliant and distinguished alumnus.

But I will proudly cast my vote for the second seat for Joe Asch, who is by miles and miles the single most qualified candidate on the ballot. If, like me, you cast your vote for Joe and he joins the Board, there will be no trustee more in-tune with the beat of the modern faculty or the modern student than Joe Asch. Better still, there will be few trustees with as acute an analytical ability as Joe.

But perhaps you already know this. A story, then. In my senior year I took a course on Civil Liberties taught by a young tenure-track member of the Government faculty. This class was quintessential Dartmouth: a scrappy, engaging professor teaching a small class of 23 or so without aid of a T.A. or a Research Assistant or rubrics. The students drove the class just as much as the professor, who acted as a fair mediator during debates and an authoritative docent in instruction. But that professor wasn’t the only person in the room with graduate degrees in the law. Joe Asch, a Yale Law graduate, was there, too. This was the latest of several dozen Dartmouth classes he’d been auditing in between running his companies and raising his children.

Ours was a course on the Constitution and Civil Liberties, so naturally discussion wended toward hot-button political issues, like marriage, abortion, property rights, and the like. When the professor proposed a hypothetical situation to which no student had a ready answer, Joe, after looking around the room to ensure that no student wanted to cast his lot first, invariably raised his hand, contributed a thoughtful response and, merrily reclining, watched the ricochet of student debate commence.

Now, more frequently than not I agreed with Joe’s class comments. More frequently than not I preferred that my own lips would have offered those comments. But the students who were really helped by Joe’s participation in class were the students, sans Joe, would have suffered a few minutes of silence before the professor moved on to the next subject. Instead, their minds got a workout.

Which, I might hazard a guess, is exactly how things would go if you are gracious enough to put Joe in the Boardroom.

Having founded Dartmouth’s most widely read student publication,, and having worked as a consultant for another Dartmouth trustee, I have a good view into the complexion of the Board of Trustees. It reflects the last thirty years or so, in which high finance has dominated the national economy. The age of high finance may or may not be coming to an end, but let’s not permit that to dictate who leads Dartmouth. We have a choice between a corporate manager—who bears every mark of being a fine person—and Joe Asch, a genuine entrepreneur, founder, and executive who chose to raise his children in Hanover, and who has already done our College no small amount of benefit.

Which, in sum, is why this spring I’m taking a lesson from that government class, and voting for Joe. So that he can start a discussion.


Joe Malchow


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