Meet Inspiration: Dr. Jim Yong Kim

inside-banner9Elaine and I were together this past weekend at our husbands’ 25th College Reunion, a wonderful weekend of reconnecting with dear friends. I must say I walked away from the weekend being overwhelmingly impressed with the man who is now at the helm, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, 17th President of Dartmouth College and just finishing his first year.

I didn’t know much about him before we were treated to an hour long presentation, where I was literally blown away by not only his credentials, but his passion, integrity and leadership that has this venerable institution primed for ongoing success over the next several years.

He has led a blessed life, and those he has touched are richer for it.  Noted as one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most Influential People in the World, and US News and World Report’s “America’s 25 Best Leaders,” he is a physician, an anthropologist, humanitarian and educator. He co-founded a global health organization, Partners in Health, which has been addressing global health concerns in developing nations for years.  Prior to accepting this post at Dartmouth he was the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.  I must say I left his presentation not only feeling inspired, but also a bit inadequate.

The one thing that impressed me more than anything is the anthropological influence that is anchored in his approach to issues – and understanding that the core of being a good human being is at the heart of the matter.  To be a good person, a conscientious and concerned person, a person who will do their best to make a difference – is the type of student he wants to have a hand in shaping.

He shared a quote from a past Dartmouth President – John Sloane Dickey – which was as follows:

“The world’s troubles are your troubles … and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.”

As he came across this quote during the Presidential search process, he inquired of the search committee if this was the mission that they wanted him to tackle.  As he stated, he could think of no better calling then to help guide and influence young people to be at their best.

From just this hour long glimpse into his actions and his vision, I can tell his presence on campus produces a ripple effect of inspiration.  You want to be on his team.  He spreads himself across all important facets of college life, whether that is setting hard reaching academic challenges, inspiring the athletic teams to be their best or reminding the Greek system of their social responsibilities, while celebrating the enduring life long friendships that are being created every day.

What he has accomplished thus far, is an embodiment of a quote from another past Dartmouth President, William Jewett Tucker:

You will not make a very strong impression on the world without the use of an equal amount of conscious and heart.”

That to me is a quote to live by.

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