The Chronicle of Higher Education
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
By KARIN FISCHER
Dartmouth College on Monday tapped Jim Yong Kim, a physician known for his work in the global fight against AIDS and tuberculosis, as its next president.
Dr. Kim, who is 49, will assume the presidency at a time when the Ivy League institution has been undertaking a series of painful budget cuts and layoffs following a steep drop in the value of its endowment (The Chronicle, November 13, 2008). He will succeed James Wright, who had previously announced he would resign after 11 years as president, on July 1.
Dr. Kim, who is chairman of the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, said he recognized that Dartmouth, like other institutions, has had to make "difficult choices" in recent months, but he praised Mr. Wright and college leaders for doing so in a manner that preserved key institutional priorities, like need-blind admissions for both American and foreign students.
Dartmouth has lost more than $200-million of its once $3.8-billion endowment, which provides more than a third of the college’s $700-million operating budget. In response, the college has announced plans to lay off staff, freeze salaries, reduce work hours, and postpone construction projects.
Despite the tough economic climate, Dr. Kim suggested, it might also be a time to exercise bold leadership. "This is a time for a great institution like Dartmouth to think about how to leap ahead when others are afraid and cutting back," he said. "It's a matter of being strategic."
Dr. Kim brings a wealth of international experience to an institution that has sought, in recent years, to become more deeply engaged globally. He is a former senior official at the World Health Organization, where he started an effort to greatly expand HIV/AIDS treatment in low- and middle-income countries. He is a co-founder and former executive director of Partners in Health, a nonprofit organization that supports health programs in poor communities worldwide...
Raised in Iowa, he is a native of South Korea who came to the United States with his parents when he was 5 years old. He is one of the few people of Asian heritage to lead a major American university and the first to lead an Ivy League institution.
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