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Welcome, President Kim

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Jim Yong Kim takes office as the 17th president of Dartmouth on July 1. He succeeds James Wright, who is stepping down after 11 years as president of the College.

On July 1, students will host a Community Welcome for President Kim on the Green from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All members of the Dartmouth community are invited. For more information about President Kim visit (site goes live July 1).

VOX of Dartmouth spoke with President Kim in June as he prepared for the transition.

President Kim speaking at Tuck School

President Jim Yong Kim speaking on global health on May 26 at the Tuck School. Click here to watch the lecture. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

What are three things you can't wait to get started on when you take office July 1?

First, I'm excited to learn more about the culture of Dartmouth. Someone just sent me a note saying that "Dartmouth is not a college, it's a cult." To me that means that there are deep cultural values and traditions that mean a lot to the whole community. I'm looking forward to discovering them for myself, one by one.

I also intend to meet as many faculty members as possible, both in the arts and sciences and the professional schools. I'm very much looking forward to engaging them intellectually and working with them to craft an inspiring vision for Dartmouth College.

But most of all, I'm looking forward to meeting the students, especially the '11s as they will all be in residence. Dartmouth students are legendary, and I can't wait to meet them.

What have you read lately that makes you want to stop others and say—you have to read this!

I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and enjoyed it very much. It gives the uplifting message that anyone who's done anything significant has had a lot of help along the way. Moreover, real mastery or achievement is possible for anyone and is the result of hard work and dedicated mentoring.

Mountains Beyond Mountains, which chronicles your work with Paul Farmer for global health, is the Class of 2013's first-year summer reading assignment. What questions do you hope the book sparks?

The most important question is, "What can a small group of committed souls accomplish in this world?" And following from that, "What is the nature of my responsibility to make the world a better place as a person who has the great good fortune to receive a Dartmouth education?"

Is there anything you'd like to say VOX's readers at the start of your tenure?

I'd just like to thank everyone in the Dartmouth community for their overwhelming generosity and kindness over the last few months. I feel that through a stroke of sheer luck, my wife Younsook, our sons Thomas and Nicolas, and I have been adopted into one of the most enduring, passionate, exciting, and productive extended families the world has ever seen. I can't wait to get started!

Trained as both a physician and anthropologist, President Kim comes to Dartmouth from Harvard University where he has been chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, and director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. President Kim is also a former senior official at the World Health Organization and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Partners In Health.

"Jim Yong Kim embodies the ideals of learning, innovation, and service that lie at the heart of Dartmouth's mission," said Chair of the Board of Trustees Ed Haldeman, announcing Kim's appointment in March. "As a passionate educator and physician, he has had a profound impact on students, faculty, colleagues, and fellow health professionals. And as a leader in the field of global health, Jim has helped to transform efforts to bring health care to the world's poor. Jim follows in the long tradition of Dartmouth presidents who have made a significant mark both in higher education and on the world stage, and we are confident he is the ideal person to lead the College in today's rapidly changing environment."

Last Updated: 6/29/09