Fond Memories of Dartmouth Medical School Inspire Major Gift

Kathryn McGoldrick
Left: Dean Duane Compton, Kathryn McGoldrick, and Sarah Johansen MED’89/’90 presenting Kathy with her Career Achievement Award. Right: Kathryn McGoldrick with husband, Jonathan Mardirossian, MD.

Kathryn McGoldrick MED’68, an anesthesiologist, author, educator, and the recipient the 2022 Career Achievement Alumni Award from Geisel School of Medicine. Receiving this honor prompted McGoldrick to reminisce about how much she valued her time in Hanover. And, those memories prompted her to make a valuable philanthropic gift.

In my talk at the awards ceremony, I spoke about how much I appreciated the people at Dartmouth Medical School, from my classmates to my teachers,” says McGoldrick, who gave $100,000 to Geisel’s annual fund and in an effort to inspire other alumni to give she allocated this to be used as a dollar for dollar match for other alumni. Additionally, this level of support allowed her to become a member of Geisel’s Health Leaders Circle and Dartmouth College’s Centennial Circle. “I always thought your professional life is determined, to a certain extent, by what classmates and teachers made you. Saying thank you for this award made me appreciate how fortunate I’ve been to have such people.”

McGoldrick recalls in particular how well her professors modeled the soft skills of medicine—especially communicating compassionately with patients.

“If I had given $100,000 to Cornell, what incremental impact would it have? But giving to Dartmouth’s medical school that will have a big ripple effect.”

“Those soft skills are among the hardest to teach and to learn,” says McGoldrick, who always worked to establish trust with patients right away. “A textbook can’t teach that. The best way is through role-modeling. You see it in clinicians you respect, how they do it, and that had a profound effect on me.”

After her graduation, McGoldrick served as class agent for more than a decade, and one of her duties was fundraising for the medical school. Instead of recommending a certain amount to give, she always told alumni, “‘I don’t care how much you give; let’s just all give something.’ And we had a pretty high percentage of giving.”

When speaking to alumni of her era, McGoldrick asks them to consider where their philanthropic gifts can make the greatest impact. When they were students, Dartmouth Medical School was a two-year program, so medical students went to other universities to complete their degrees—McGoldrick earned her MD from Cornell University Medical College in 1970. Many alumni make gifts to those medical schools instead of to Geisel. But McGoldrick says a philanthropic gift can make a greater impact at the small, rural medical school. “If I had given $100,000 to Cornell, what incremental impact would it have?” she asks. “But giving to Dartmouth’s medical school, that will have a big ripple effect.”

For more on McGoldrick’s Career Achievement Alumni Award, visit

Written By Ashley Festa