It is my honor to join today in welcoming to the Wheelock Succession Jim Yong Kim, a man who will make a strong tradition the stronger.
One of the sustaining qualities of Dartmouth’s Presidency derives from the legacy of its founder, the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock. It was he who left a stern and unequivocal bequest to each of his successors. Nearly two hundred and forty years ago Dr. Wheelock charged those who were to follow him with these words:
"And it is my purpose, by the grace of God, to leave nothing undone within my power, which is suitable to be done; that this school of prophets may be and long continue to be a pure fountain. And I do with my whole heart will this my purpose to all my successors in the presidency of this seminary to the latest posterity, and it is my last will, never to be revoked ….”
If we no longer define this College as a seminary and if modern humility inhibits us from describing ourselves as prophets, the fundamental task is constant. We are reminded of the continuity of this succession by the handsome silver monteith, known as the Wentworth Bowl, a gift from New Hampshire's Royal Governor who, acting on behalf of the British Crown, granted Dartmouth's charter in December 1769. The bowl's inscription reads:
His Excellency John Wentworth Esquire
Governor of the Province of New Hampshire,
And those Friends who accompanied him
To Dartmouth College the first Commencement 1771.
In testimony of their Gratitude and good wishes
Present this to the
Reverend Eleazar Wheelock D.D. President
and his Successors in that Office.
President Kim, the 16th president of Dartmouth salutes the 17th president of this college. I enthusiastically celebrate your place in the Wheelock succession. Susan and I are certain that your presidency will be one of fulfillment for you and Younsook and one of great accomplishment for Dartmouth. We have every confidence that the goodness and generosity of the members of this community will sustain you in the years to come.
And I now affirm and personally pledge that the bond of the Wheelock succession will support you as you lead this noble institution so that it will always be a "pure fountain" of knowledge and a place that continues to encourage and to enable students who will assume the responsibility and the leadership of their generation. My warmest congratulations to you, sir.
And now if you will join me, President Kim, I am privileged to hand over to you a historic treasure that symbolizes the office you hold.
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