The Sun is coming out. What a day. Trustees, President Wright, members of the faculty and students, and friends and all of you here, and Governor Lynch, who I am proud to say was my student some years ago, it is my special honor to have the privilege of introducing Dr. Jim Yong Kim to the Dartmouth community.
I start by saying that Dr. Kim is very fortunate to lead this community. Dartmouth College is a remarkable institution with profound strengths. It has a renowned faculty not only for their intellectual contributions, but also for their deep and extraordinary commitment to teaching and undergraduate education. Dartmouth has students and alumni that are legendary not only in their loyalty to Dartmouth, but also in their capacity for leadership in so many ways, in so many senses of that word.
Dr. Kim is indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to lead this community. As one who knows him well, however, I am equally certain that Dr. Kim is a leader that the Dartmouth community is very fortunate to have. Let me try to explain based on my own experience.
I first met Dr. Kim about 3 years ago at an impromptu meeting in the offices of Dr. Gary Gottlieb, who is the president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. It proved to be a fateful meeting, for me.
When I met Dr. Kim that day, he was on the top of his game. He was a renowned scholar. He had built Partners in Health with Paul Farmer and others, which was one of the, if not the leading and renowned institutions for providing health care to the poor in the world. He had served in a senior leadership position at the World Health Organization and achieved extraordinary success in battling diseases such as HIV/AIDS, drug resistant tuberculosis, and others. The person who I was meeting was widely acclaimed and respected for all of this.
As our meeting began, however, it became clear that Dr. Kim was not there to feel satisfied, but to raise deep concerns about the very field in which he was a leader. He recognized that the field was on the wrong track. That it was not producing good enough results in serving the populations that so desperately needed it. Dr. Kim, at the pinnacle of his field, realized that he needed to learn. That’s why he wanted to meet somebody in a completely different field, like a Harvard Business School professor.
Little did I know that this meeting would prove to become the beginning of a long-term project of major proportions that continues to this day.
Little did I know that I would be drawn into this project. In fact, I was powerless not to participate. I literally couldn’t say no.
This was my introduction to Dr. Jim Kim, and my introduction to him tells us a lot about this man, and who he is, and what he can achieve here at Dartmouth College.
In Dr. Kim that day, I met a person who not only has tremendous talent and demonstrated success, but also humility and the willingness to learn. In Dr. Kim I met a person who was a bold strategic thinker, not one who was content to make things incrementally better. In Dr. Kim I met a person who has incredible energy, driven not by the need for recognition, but by a deep-seated set of values around the communities he was trying to serve. In Dr. Kim I met a person who was relentless, engaging, and incredibly persuasive in bringing others along in meeting very ambitious goals. In Dr. Kim I met a person who, despite making my life miserable in some ways with extra work, is someone who I always look forward to spending time with.
This is the Dr. Jim Yong Kim that all of you in the Dartmouth community will meet and get to know over the coming years. If your experience is anything like mine, you are in for very high aspirations, you are in for a great deal of work, but you will be proud of what you accomplish together.
Congratulations on this extraordinary choice.
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