Thank you. Members of the Board of Trustees, President Kim, distinguished members of the Dartmouth Community and guests: I bring warmest greetings to you from Harvard, your sibling to the south, on this remarkable day in the history of Dartmouth College. And I come here today with bittersweet feelings; deep pride and admiration for the accomplishments of President Kim, and some considerable separation anxiety that you have taken him from us!
Today is truly a day of reflection and celebration for your great institution; a day that I believe will be remembered not only in the annals of Dartmouth College, but the annals of higher education as well. We come together to celebrate the new presidency of Jim Yong Kim. I can assure you as a long time teacher, colleague, and friend of President Kim that you have chosen a truly transformative and visionary leader. President Kim not only represents a great tradition in the healing arts, bringing together humanism and science, as well as the importance of integrating self knowledge with knowledge of the world in the alleviation of disease and suffering, but he also possesses a deep moral sensibility and belief in progressive change. Jim Kim is a person of brilliance and humility, caring and patience, determination and kindness. Now, building on the great traditions of Dartmouth and its lineage of distinguished presidents, he brings an intense commitment to higher education and its unparalleled capacity to change our minds, create new knowledge, and transform our world.
He knows that current students and those of the future will reinvent not only what we know, but how we know it; that great universities can never be ivory towers, that they are rooted in this time and place, but with an ability to see deeply into the past and, ultimately, to reconfigure the future. As President Kim has taught me and many others, knowledge, inspiration, and advocacy link us to peoples and their needs here and around the globe; our commitments to social justice and human understanding can only be implemented through the shrewd and creative application of new knowledge, hard won.
Certainly, Dartmouth’s gain is Harvard’s loss. But I choose on this remarkable day to affirm what we share in our commitment to clear thinking and the values of open inquiry. As President Kim would remind us, even sibling rivals are above all, siblings, deeply linked by our shared commitments to knowledge and social change.
So we look forward throughout the great community of the Ivy League and all of higher education to watching with high expectations and profound hope the great transformative experiments in knowledge and pedagogy that begin here today.
Congratulations President Kim. Congratulations Dartmouth College.
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