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Dr. Jim Yong Kim appointed 17th President of Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 03/02/09 • Media Contact: Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

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Dedicated educator and humanitarian has provided visionary leadership in academia, public policy, and global health

Continues long tradition of Dartmouth Presidents who have had significant impact on the world stage and in the classroom

Dr. Jim Kim
Dr. Jim Yong Kim (Copyright © WHO/P.Virot February 2005 Pierre Virot)
Further biographical background and other information about Dr. Kim and about Dartmouth can be found at the President-elect website

Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has been elected the 17th President of Dartmouth by the College’s Board of Trustees. Ed Haldeman, Chair of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, announced the appointment today at a meeting of students, faculty and staff.

Dr. Kim, 49, will take office on July 1, 2009 and succeeds James Wright, who previously announced that he is stepping down in June after 11 years as President of the College.

“Jim Yong Kim embodies the ideals of learning, innovation, and service that lie at the heart of Dartmouth’s mission,” Haldeman said. “As a passionate educator and physician, he has had a profound impact on students, faculty, colleagues and fellow health professionals. And as a leader in the field of global health, Jim has helped to transform efforts to bring health care to the world’s poor. Jim follows in the long tradition of Dartmouth presidents who have made a significant mark both in higher education and on the world stage, and we are confident he is the ideal person to lead the College in today’s rapidly changing environment.”

Dr. Kim trained as both a physician and anthropologist, receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Brown University in 1982. A former senior official at the World Health Organization and co-founder of Partners In Health, he is internationally acknowledged for his leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases. In 2004, in recognition of his many accomplishments, he was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Kim said, “I am honored and humbled to accept this role, and look forward to building on the many achievements of Jim Wright and his predecessors that have made Dartmouth the vibrant, world-class institution it is today. Dartmouth is a unique and special place with a powerful sense of community. The educational opportunities it offers, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, are exceptional, and the loyalty and passion of its alumni, faculty, staff and students are unrivaled. I could not be more excited about this opportunity to help build on Dartmouth’s great traditions as well as its singular role in higher education.”

President-elect Kim is only the 17th president in the Wheelock Succession of leaders since Eleazar Wheelock founded Dartmouth College in 1769. Born in Seoul, Korea, he is also the first Asian American to be appointed president of an Ivy League school. Dr. Kim is married to Dr. Younsook Lim, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston. The couple have two sons, one eight years old, the other born February 27.

In addition to his role as Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kim is chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a major Harvard teaching hospital, and Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. He continues to teach undergraduate classes alongside his administrative responsibilities, development activities, writings and other academic and clinical contributions. His classes today are enormously popular and constantly oversubscribed and he plans to continue to teach undergraduates at Dartmouth.

I am honored and humbled to accept this role, and look forward to building on the many achievements of Jim Wright and his predecessors that have made Dartmouth the vibrant, world-class institution it is today.

- Dr. Jim Yong Kim

“Throughout his life, Jim has been devoted to teaching and inspiring young people both inside and outside the classroom,” said Al Mulley, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and a Dartmouth Trustee. “Like former Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey, Jim believes that education is not just about gaining knowledge, but also forming leaders who will rise to meet the great challenges of our time. And like Dickey – who told students that ‘the world's troubles are your troubles’ – Jim aims to redouble Dartmouth’s efforts to provide leadership on the global stage.”

President Wright described Dr. Kim’s election as “a proud and defining moment in Dartmouth’s history.  Jim is a brilliant educator, physician and anthropologist who will serve as a true inspiration for our community. Dartmouth is fortunate indeed to have attracted an innovator of his caliber with both the enthusiasm and the global perspective it will take to lead the College into a new era of distinction and achievement.”

Dr. Kim has 20 years of experience in improving health in developing countries. He is a founding trustee and the former executive director of Partners In Health, a not-for-profit organization that supports a range of health programs in poor communities worldwide. In 2004, he was appointed director of the HIV/AIDS department at the World Health Organization, where he launched an initiative to dramatically expand access to HIV/AIDS treatment in low- and middle-income countries. By 2007, the initiative had helped to provide lifesaving antiretroviral therapy to approximately three million people worldwide and had accelerated global efforts to fight other diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

“Our goal at the World Health Organization was to raise aspirations about what can be achieved in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and I see the same vision and sense of purpose at Dartmouth today,” Dr. Kim said. “The College and its faculty truly excel at developing the sort of individuals who will be the leaders of tomorrow – and in driving forward the kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary work that is critical to success in the 21st century. With the help and support of the entire Dartmouth community, I know we will be able to further strengthen the unique Dartmouth experience and continue arming young people with the skills they need to go out and change the world.”

Dr. Kim immigrated with his family to the United States at the age of five and grew up in Muscatine, Iowa. He attended Muscatine High School, where he was valedictorian and president of his class and played quarterback for the high school football team. Dr. Kim received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2003 and was named one of America’s 25 ”Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report in 2005. In 2006, he was selected as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” In a profile for TIME, Tracy Kidder, who described Kim’s work in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains, wrote, “One of his students told me that Kim was his most inspirational instructor; he made you believe you could change the world. I have no idea what he’ll do next. But looking forward to it gives me hope.”

Dr. Kim’s enthusiastic selection by the Search Committee, and his election by the College’s Board of Trustees, resulted from an extensive and rigorous search process. The Search Committee, which included alumni, students and faculty, spent nearly a year soliciting input from the Dartmouth community and identifying and reviewing a wide range of candidates.

Dartmouth College enrolls approximately 4,100 undergraduates in the liberal arts and 1,700 graduate students. Drawing faculty and students from around the world, Dartmouth is committed to advancing the principles of liberal education within a diverse community of students, teachers and scholars. In addition to 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences, it is home to the nation's fourth-oldest medical school: the Dartmouth Medical School, founded in 1797; the nation's first professional school of engineering: the Thayer School of Engineering, founded in 1867; and the first graduate school of management in the world: the Tuck School of Business, established in 1900.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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