Hanover Institute

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Hanover Institute is a New Hampshire nonprofit corporation involved in alumni affairs at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire. It is not Dartmouth's official alumni association.


The Hanover Institute is small, conservative nonprofit that opposes some policies of Dartmouth and its two official alumni organizations. Its founder and sole employee, John MacGovern,[1] has stated that "The Hanover Institute will do whatever it can to get a change of leadership at all levels of Dartmouth."[2]

MacGovern, who grew up in the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a Catholic center in Massachusetts,[3] is a Republican former Massachusetts state legislator who served "as an adviser for Donald Rumsfeld's exploratory presidential campaign in 1987 and as Massachusetts co-chairman of Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar's campaign for president in 1996."[4] MacGovern is also a former advisor to The Dartmouth Review, a controversial conservative student newspaper at Dartmouth.


The Hanover Institute has received funding from the Rodney Foundation, the Central New York Community Foundation,[5] the Seidman Family Foundation,[6] the William and Sarah Seidman Foundation,[7] the High Five Foundation,[8] the F. Irving Hutchins Charitable Trust,[9] the E.J. Cross Foundation,[10] the Nordson Corporation Foundation[11] the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga,[12] and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.[13] Funding has also come from anonymous individuals through donor-advised funds at the San Francisco Foundation[14] and Donors' Trust.[15] Some of the funding for the Hanover Institute's lawsuits against Dartmouth has come from the Bradley Foundation.[16]


In 2005, MacGovern sued the Association of Alumni of Dartmouth College regarding its decision not to count proxy votes for internal officer elections. The trial court dismissed the suit without a trial, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the dismissal.[17]

In early 2007, the Institute endorsed a slate of candidates for election to the leadership of the Association of Alumni. The slate included an activist Republican state legislator from Maryland and the CEO of a leading conservative publishing house. Frank Gado, although not identified as the Institute's Secretary in the endorsement or campaign materials, was also among the candidates. The majority of the members of the slate were elected in the annual summer election and formed a majority voting bloc within the Executive Committee. The bloc then appointed Gado as the exclusive Liaison for Legal Affairs in charge of filing a lawsuit by the Association of Alumni against the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College.

The 2007 lawsuit revolved around the Board's decision to let an internal committee nominate candidates for all of the eight new seats it was adding, rather than let alumni nominate candidates for half of the new seats, as had been the practice in the two prior expansions of 1961 and 2003. The Hanover Institute was the main source of funds for the lawsuit. Secretary Gado and the Association's then-Executive Committee denied any knowledge of the source of the funds and stated repeatedly that the donor paid the attorneys directly without identifying itself to the Executive Committee. However, the law firm's engagement letter, kept secret until after the suit was withdrawn, was signed by both the Secretary and President of the Hanover Institute and states that the Institute would pay the attorneys.[18]

In 2008, MacGovern testified before a legislative committee in New Hampshire in support of a bill intended to revoke the legislature's 2003 grant of permission allowing the Board of Trustees to amend the Charter of Dartmouth College without seeking legislative approval. MacGovern, who is a resident of Vermont, was also named as one of the alumni who urged the introduction of the bill.[19] The bill was rejected by the committee and the legislature as a whole.

Although the Hanover Institute supported a slate of candidates in the Association's 2008 election that pledged to continue the lawsuit, that slate was defeated by a wide margin. The lawsuit was dismissed on June 27, 2008.[20]

The Hanover Institute reportedly retained about $200,000 of the funds it had raised, and Gado stated the hope that the Institute find a way to file a new lawsuit against the Board of Trustees.[21] A small group of individual alumni later filed a suit in November 2008 with funding from the Hanover Institute.[22]


As of June 2, 2009, the Institute's Board had not held a formal meeting since at least 2004, according to Frank Gado.[23] The Institute's 2006 Certificate of Revival, filed with the New Hampshire State Corporation Division,[24] lists the following officers:

  • John MacGovern, President
  • John MacGovern, Treasurer
  • Frank Gado of White River Jct., Vt., Secretary
  • James M. Hardigg of South Deerfield, Ma.; Directors
  • Michael Pryor of Hudson, Wyo.; Director
  • John Flitner of Santa Rosa, Cal., Director

The Certificate of Revival states that MacGovern's signature was notarized by Notary Public Diana L. Cushing in Windsor County, New Hampshire.[25] Cushing is a former Vermont State Representative.[26] There is no Windsor County in New Hampshire.[27]

Contact information

1653 Martan Rd.
Windsor Vermont 05089
Website: http://www.hanoverinstitute.org/index.htm

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Rebekah Rombom, "Nonprofit organization critiques College, furnishes salary for alum" The Dartmouth, April 26, 2006
  2. Katy, "For the first time, money enters into Trustee race", The Dartmouth, March 7, 2007.
  3. | Dirk Olin, "Who is John MacGovern? And what drives him to sue his alma mater?" Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (July/August 2009), 47.
  4. Susan J. Boutwell, "In Windsor Race, 2 Veterans From 2 States," Valley News (Vermont), October 31, 2008.
  5. Central New York Community Foundation, Inc. 2006 Form 990
  6. Seidman Family Foundation[1]
  7. William and Sarah Seidman Foundation, Inc.,[2]
  8. High Five Foundation[3]
  9. F. Irving Hutchins Charitable Trust[4]
  10. E.J. Cross Foundation[5]
  11. Nordson Corporation Foundation[6]
  12. Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga[7]
  13. Oshkosh Area Community Foundation[8]
  14. San Francisco Foundation 2006 Annual Report
  15. William Schpero, "AoA suit withdrawn, funds still questioned", The Dartmouth, July 1, 2008
  16. Bradley Foundation[9]
  17. William Schpero, "N.H. Supreme Court tosses out alum’s lawsuit", The Dartmouth, April 25, 2007.
  18. William Schpero, "AoA suit withdrawn, funds still questioned", The Dartmouth, July 1, 2008.
  19. William Schpero, "State denies control over College’s charter", The Dartmouth.com, February 13, 2008.
  20. William Schpero, "Lawsuit against College dismissed", The Dartmouth, June 27, 2008.
  21. William Schpero, "AoA moves to end its lawsuit officially", The Dartmouth, June 27, 2008.
  22. Dartmouth College, "Information on the November, 2008 alumni lawsuit against the College"
  23. | Transcript of Deposition of Frank Gado, June 2, 2009 (Exhibit B to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment in Brooks v. Trustees of Dartmouth College), 14:6-8, 15:1-7, 97:18-20.
  24. | Certificate of Revival of the Hanover Institute, filed March 17, 2006 with New Hampshire Department of State
  25. | Certificate of Revival of the Hanover Institute, filed March 17, 2006 with New Hampshire Department of State
  26. | Vermont Secretary of State database results
  27. | "List of counties in New Hampshire," Wikipedia

External resources

External articles