Thank you Provost Scherr for that introduction and good morning.
Members of the board of trustees, faculty and staff, students and alumni, other distinguished guests, President Emeritus Wright, President Kim, it’s really an honor for Susan, my wife and me to join you on this momentous occasion. The people of New Hampshire have long recognized the importance of learning, knowing full well that the education of our young people is the foundation of our future. And that is reflected in the mission of Dartmouth College.
When this institution first began teaching and inspiring students 240 years ago, it was with the mission of better preparing tomorrow’s leaders by creating an exciting exchange of ideas and of thought. And that mission continues today.
As Dartmouth has gone on to become a first-class, world-renowned institution of learning, it has remained a great source of pride for the people and for the State of New Hampshire.
Dartmouth College has flourished due in large part to the strong “Wheelock Succession” line of leadership entrusted with furthering the mission of the college. That tradition of strong leadership, of presidents dedicated not only to creating excitement around learning, but caring deeply for the young people served by the college, continues today with the inauguration of Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the 17th President of Dartmouth College.
Just as we are fortunate to have Dartmouth College reside within our state, we are very lucky to have a person in Dr. Kim whose intellect is matched only by his caring for people to lead Dartmouth as its next president. Dr. Kim’s résumé is certainly impressive, holding degrees from Brown and Harvard, and having dedicated part of his life at the World Health Organization, tackling one of the world’s biggest challenges: fighting HIV and AIDS. Dr. Kim spent 20 years teaching and mentoring young people at Harvard, and founded Partners in Health, an organization dedicated to delivering health care to those who would otherwise have no access to care. It is this passion for helping others and his deep-rooted caring for people that makes Dr. Kim special and makes him an excellent choice to lead Dartmouth into this century’s next decade and beyond.
And as I mentioned before, Dr. Kim follows a long line of outstanding Dartmouth presidents, including his immediate predecessor Jim Wright. I have been fortunate to get to know Jim over the years, and I can tell you he bleeds Dartmouth Green like no one I have ever met. Jim dedicated 40 years of his life to this school, its young people, and the community. He brought greater diversity to campus, embarked on a major campaign to bring new facilities to the school, and led the college into the 21st century. And, as a former Marine himself, Jim always showed dedication, appreciation, and caring for our veterans. Jim, thank you for all you have done for the college, for the community, and for the State of New Hampshire.
Now President Kim, what you probably don’t know is that as the college’s new president you are expected to lead the students – you’re obligated – to lead the students this February in the Winter Carnival’s Polar Bear Swim. For those of you not familiar with the Polar Bear Swim, each February a large hole is cut in the ice of Occom Pond. The students, who will be led by you this year President Kim, don their bathing suits and plunge into the icy water. It is an important tradition at Dartmouth College. And I am sure this probably did not come up during the interview process. Luckily for me, that tradition does not involve the governor of the state of New Hampshire.
But seriously, President Kim, congratulations. Susan and I welcome you and your family to New Hampshire, and I very much look forward to working with you as we continue to make New Hampshire a place of opportunity for all of our citizens.
Congratulations and thank you all very much.
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