Skip to main content

Vox of Dartmouth, the College's newspaper for faculty and staff, ceased publication in February 2010. For current Dartmouth news and events, see:

· Dartmouth Now
· Periodicals
· Events Calendar

Perspectives from President-elect Kim

  • Save & Share:
  • Bookmark on
  • Submit to Digg!
  • Share on Facebook
  • Bookmark on Google
  • Post to MySpace
  • Share with Reddit
  • Share with StumbleUpon
  • Email & Print:
  • E-mail this
  • Print this

See more of President-elect Kim's thoughts in interviews on Dartmouth's YouTube channel.

This is an amazing family with an extraordinary set of traditions. My aspiration for Dartmouth is to let it soar with its many strengths; to become the best it can possibly be around those things it already does so well.

“I think Dartmouth is underappreciated. It’s time that the world had a much greater appreciation for what Dartmouth is and what it has offered to its students and to the world.”

“One of my favorite moments of the day was receiving my own #17 jersey from the women’s volleyball team. I look forward to squeezing into it and playing with them when I get to campus,” says Kim. Women’s volleyball players (from left) Kendall Houston ’12, Annie Villanueva ’12, and team captain Jess Thomas ’09 surprised Kim—who played in college and still enjoys the game—with a ball and jersey after the announcement in Spaulding Auditorium. Thomas says, “President-elect Kim joked about needing to train and ‘increase his vertical’ [ability to jump] before coming to our practices.” (Photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina ’09)

For me, interaction with young people, teaching, mentoring, is just enjoyable. It gives you a sense that the world is a moral place and that energy and enthusiasm to change it is really what makes the world go around. I’ve also learned that whatever an individual can do really pales in comparison to the impact that you can have if you effectively mentor others.”

"We have a new, dynamic young president of the United States, and I think we're going to have a new, very inspiring dynamic leader of Dartmouth," says Kenneth Yalowitz (second from left), director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding, of President-elect Kim (right). "It's a difficult time given the economic circumstances, but I believe he will bring leadership and vision." Also pictures are Lisa Adams (left), assistant professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and coordinator of Dartmouth's Global Health Initiative, and President James Wright and Susan DeBevoise Wright. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

As an individual, and along with Partners In Health, we tackled problems that the world said were intractable. We were told that it’s impossible to treat people in poor countries who suffer from a form of tuberculosis resistant to the standard drugs. But we took on that problem, we treated the patients, we lowered the prices of the drugs, and now people all over the world have access to treatment.

“HIV treatment was a similar problem. They said it was impossible. Forget it. Completely impractical. And we started doing it in Haiti. And now we have close to four million people in the poorest countries receiving treatment.

“I really want to bring that sense of infinite possibility to students at Dartmouth. These are the brightest, most competitive students in the entire world. And there’s no reason that they can’t take on the biggest problems they can imagine and be successful in solving some of them.”

Dartmouth is unique in that the faculty are both great teachers—and are rewarded for that—and great researchers. There is no question that faculty members who are actively engaged in research, who are leading their fields, are going to bring that to the classroom. So for the sake of the students, it’s important for them to do research. But it’s also important for the world that faculty continue to make discoveries and have insights that push their fields forward.”

Rembert Browne ’09 (left), Class Council vice president, and Molly Bode ’09, Student Assembly president and Presidential Search Committee member (second from left), presented President-elect Kim with a book, The Tree, on behalf of the Paleopitus Senior Society. Bode recalls, "He told us about a study that showed being around trees increases cognitive function and happiness. He said, 'And look at all the trees around us—Dartmouth then must be the best place to be!'" She adds, "I think he's going to cultivate the next generation of leaders, and that's exactly what Dartmouth is looking for. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

On one level, I’m a practically oriented physician trying to solve problems so that people can live. On the other hand, I never gave up my interest in philosophy and politics and, therefore, I studied anthropology. And so I’m very interested in the philosophical and political aspects of these problems. But first and foremost, I’m oriented toward solving practical problems.”

I’ll be the first male person of color to ever lead an Ivy League institution. That’s extremely humbling for me.

“But I have to say, something I’ve learned from working in some of the poorest countries in the world is that ethnicity is only one part of my identity. One of the most important experiences of my life was going to Haiti and being called “blanc,” which means white, but it really means foreigner, and what it means is that you are a person who has access to resources in education and so many other things. Whatever color you are—the distinction is that you have access to things. Ethnicity is important. We don’t ever want to deny it. But race is just one of the many things that we have to consider.”


Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 3/15/09