Skip to main content


Views from the President-Elect

  • Save & Share:
  • Bookmark on
  • Submit to Digg!
  • Share on Facebook
  • Bookmark on Google
  • Post to MySpace
  • Share with Reddit
  • Share with StumbleUpon
  • Email & Print:
  • E-mail this
  • Print this


Something I've learned as an anthropologist is that when you walk into a culture that has a set of traditions and cultural norms that have evolved over time, you don't come in telling them that they should become something that's different from what they are. You come in trying to understand their greatest aspirations for what they've already built and the context in which they're living. [Dartmouth] is an amazing family with an extraordinary set of traditions.

engelmanJohn Engelman '68 (left) and Jim Adler '60 speak with Dr. Kim following the March 2 announcement. "He's a very impressive man, and he brings a little bit different perspective and background than we've seen in the past," says Engelman. "I look forward as an alumnus to working with him for the betterment of Dartmouth College." In the background, speaking with President James Wright and Susan DeBevoise Wright, are Rembert Browne '09, Class Council vice president, and Molly Bode '09, Student Assembly president and Presidential Search Committee member. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
"My aspiration for Dartmouth is to let it soar with its strengths, which are many; become the best it can possibly be around those things which it already does so well.

"I think Dartmouth is under-appreciated. It's time that the world had a much, much greater appreciation for what Dartmouth is and what it has offered to its students and to the world."


Click here to see more of President-elect Kim's thoughts in interviews on Dartmouth's YouTube channel

When I'm interacting with young people and teaching them, I kind of wonder, are they really paying me to do this?"

"For me, teaching and mentoring is just enjoyable. It gives you a sense that the world is a moral place and that energy and enthusiasm to change it is really what makes the world go around. I've also learned that whatever an individual can do really pales in comparison to the impact that you can have if you effectively mentor others."


As an individual, and along with Partners In Health, we tackled problems that the world said were intractable. We were told that it's impossible to treat people in poor countries who suffer from a form of tuberculosis resistant to the standard drugs. But we took on that problem, we treated the patients, we lowered the prices of the drugs, and now people all over the world have access to treatment.

"HIV treatment was a similar problem. They said it was impossible. Forget it. Completely impractical. And we started doing it in Haiti. And now we have close to four million people in the poorest countries receiving treatment.

"I really want to bring that sense of infinite possibility to students at Dartmouth. These are the brightest, most competitive students in the entire world. And there's no reason that they can't take on the biggest problems they can imagine and be successful in solving some of them."


Dartmouth is unique in that the faculty are both great teachers-and are rewarded for that-and great researchers. There is no question that faculty members who are actively engaged in research, who are leading their fields, are going to bring that to the classroom. So for the sake of the students, it's important for them to do research. But it's also important for the world that faculty continue to make discoveries and have insights that push their fields forward."


I'll be the first male person of color to ever lead an Ivy League institution. That's extremely humbling for me.

"But I have to say, something I've learned from working in some of the poorest countries in the world is that ethnicity is only one part of my identity. One of the most important experiences of my life was going to Haiti and being called "blanc," which means white, but it really means foreigner, and what it means is that you are a person who has access to resources in education and so many other things. Whatever color you are-the distinction is that you have access to things. Ethnicity is important. We don't ever want to deny it. But race is just one of the many things that we have to consider."

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 1/14/10