The Little Green Blog would like to applaud the Dartmouth Alumni Council's decision to nominated Nathaniel Fick '99 as a candidate for Trustee. As a best-selling author, the leader of a DC policy institute, and a former military officer with combat experience, Mr. Fick's perspectives and experiences make him an excellent candidate. But more importantly, this nomination is a refreshing departure from the usual slate of candidates drawn from the financial world and chosen more to be work horses of fund-raising than inspiring leaders of note.
Mr. Fick rose to prominence as the commander of a Marine Corps platoon profiled in a series of prize-winning articles by journalist Evan Wright for Rolling Stone. The articles became the basis of Wright's 2004 book, Generation Kill and the 2008 TV Series on HBO of the same name. In 2005, Mr. Fick published One Bullet Away, a war memoir that was included on Marine Corps reading lists and became the basis for much of his military fame. His book (which I previously reviewed ) reads like a pencil-written journal splattered with blood from the earliest days of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It lives in the moment, offers a tremendous first-person perspective on war, and opens the eyes of the reader to the everyday life of the modern Marine.
Today his business card reads "CEO of the Center for a New American Security", a position he has held for the last two years. Founded in 2007, CNAS is a leading DC-based liberal-hawk national security think tank of 30 employees. After the 2008 election, most of its leadership was subsumed into the Obama administration, leaving Fick at the helm. Rather than turning out the lights, he has overseen CNAS's growth into a prodigious machine, turning out white papers, conferences, and podcasts at a blistering pace. If he is half as connected with the Dartmouth Student body as his company tries to be with Washington insiders, he will be an effective trustee indeed.
In short, Nathaniel Fick's accomplishments are great and varied for so short a life (if elected he would be the youngest trustee by a decade). He brings to the board valuable experience as a veteran, public policy leader, and author, and his fame in all three fields can only help to raise Dartmouth's profile. In supporting Mr. Fick's candidacy, we would encourage the Alumni Council to continue finding inspiring leaders in all fields-- from artists to authors, inventors to industrialists, scientists to soldiers-- and advance them as trustee candidates. There is more to Dartmouth than finance and more to leadership than money. It's time we had more Trustees that reflected that.