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Dartmouth’s 17th President, Dr. Jim Kim

A press release from the Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs announces the appointment of Dr. Jim Yong Kim as the 17th president of our College.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ed Haldeman’s letter to the Dartmouth community after the jump.

Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community,

I am delighted to let you know that Dr. Jim Yong Kim has been elected the 17th President of Dartmouth College by the Board of Trustees. Jim is an educator, anthropologist and physician who has provided visionary leadership in academia, public policy and global health. He will assume the presidency of Dartmouth effective July 1st, 2009, when President Jim Wright completes his distinguished tenure.

Thanks to his inspiring and transformative leadership, Jim Yong Kim has had a far reaching impact throughout his career - both through his teaching and the global organizations he has led. Jim, who currently serves as Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has worked for more than 20 years to improve health in developing countries - first as co-founder and executive director of Partners In Health, a not-for-profit organization that supports health programs in poor communities worldwide; and then, as Director of the HIV/AIDS department at the World Health Organization (WHO), where he helped change the global response to that disease. He has tackled some of the most complex global challenges in the world today by forging strong teams, building communities and developing new and innovative approaches to seemingly intractable problems.

As his academic and humanitarian work makes clear, Jim is incredibly passionate about teaching young people - both inside and outside the classroom. He sees education as not just about instilling knowledge, but about developing the leaders of tomorrow. He has been teaching and mentoring for more than two decades and teaches an undergraduate class at Harvard today. His classes have proven enormously popular (and constantly oversubscribed), and he plans to continue to teach undergraduates at Dartmouth.

Jim’s visionary work has earned him widespread - and well-deserved - international recognition, including receiving a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2003 and being selected as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006. He also was honored for his professional achievements in 2004 with election to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jim immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a young boy. He was raised in Muscatine, Iowa (where he was valedictorian and president of his high school class and played quarterback for the football team). He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1982 before receiving M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard. He is married to Dr. Younsook Lim, a pediatrician. The couple have two sons, an eight-year-old and a newborn. We have set up a multi-media website at so that you can learn even more about Jim and his many accomplishments.

Jim’s enthusiastic selection by the Search Committee and election by the Board of Trustees resulted from an extensive and rigorous search process. The Search Committee, which was led by Trustee Al Mulley ‘70 and included trustees, faculty, and student and alumni representatives, spent nearly a year soliciting input from the community and identifying and reviewing a wide range of candidates.

The committee worked hard to find someone who could build on the tremendous work that Jim Wright has done for Dartmouth in his 11 years as President. Under his leadership, we have grown our faculty, launched new academic initiatives, enhanced student life, expanded financial aid, and significantly improved the campus, including an expansion and renewal of athletic facilities. Jim and his wife Susan have carefully stewarded this institution we all hold dear to ensure it remains as vibrant as ever as we usher in the next President. They have our eternal gratitude and undying friendship.

It is clear we have found a successor who knows what a special place Dartmouth is. In our many conversations with Jim Yong Kim over the past few months, he has shown a deep appreciation for Dartmouth’s unique character and the exceptional education it offers. He’s told us that throughout his career, he has seen what we have always known: that the loyalty and passion of our alumni, faculty, staff and students are unrivaled by any other school. Jim also believes the College truly excels at developing the sort of individuals who will be the leaders of tomorrow - and in driving forward the kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary work that will be critical to success in the 21st century. Together with all of you, he wants to help build on Dartmouth’s great traditions, further strengthen the unique experience it offers and continue arming our young people with the skills they need to go out and change the world.

Indeed, having reflected on Jim’s many accomplishments over the past 20 years, it is clear that he follows in the long tradition of Dartmouth Presidents who have made a significant mark both in higher education and on the world stage. Like former President John Sloan Dickey, who had an impact on a global scale as a diplomat and who brought that international perspective to the presidency, Jim has provided visionary leadership on a wide range of global issues.

All of us on the Board of Trustees - as well as the Search Committee - believe that Jim embodies the ideals of learning, innovation, team-building and community service that lie at the heart of Dartmouth’s mission. We are confident he is the ideal person to help build on the many achievements of President Jim Wright and his talented team. And, we know that you will enjoy getting to know Jim and his family as he assumes his new role in Hanover and leads Dartmouth into a new era of global distinction and achievement.


Ed Haldeman ‘70
Chair, Dartmouth College Board of Trustees


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