A Korean-born doctor and humanitarian known as a leader the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases will become the next president of Dartmouth College.
Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s selection as the 17th president was announced by the elite university Monday in Hanover. Kim, 49, who is the first Asian selected to lead an Ivy League institution, will take over July 1 from James Wright, who previously announced his plans to step down.
Kim, a former director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department, is chairman of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He also helped found Partners in Health, which supports health programs in developing communities worldwide.
“For the past 20 years, I have been almost literally throwing my body at some of the most difficult problems I can imagine,” Kim said in a phone interview. “At some point, one has to decide, either you’re going to have the most impact throwing your body at problems, or you’re going to switch gears a bit and take a position that will allow you to train, educate and inspire thousands of young people who will be equipped to take on those problems.”
He called being chosen to lead Dartmouth “the greatest honor and privilege” of his life. One of Kim’s top challenges will be steering Dartmouth through rough economic times. Last month, the college laid off 60 administrative workers and said it will cut its budget $72 million over two years in response to a sharp decline in its endowment.
“Jim Yong Kim embodies the ideals of learning, innovation and service that lie at the heart of Dartmouth’s mission,” said Ed Haldeman, chairman of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, in a news release. “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.”
Kim was born in Korea and moved to the United States with his family at age 5. He grew up in Iowa and earned an undergraduate degree from Brown University, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a doctorate in anthropology from Harvard University. He and his wife, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston, have two sons, an 8-year-old and one born Saturday.
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