By Cho Jae-hyon
Global health pioneer Dr. Jim Yong Kim called on students to "aspire to change the world" at a ceremony to inaugurate him as the 17th president of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, the school said.
Born in Seoul and raised in Muscatine, Iowa, Kim is the first physician to lead the college in its 240-year history and the first Korean-American to head an Ivy League school.
In front of an audience of more than 5,000 people, Kim said, "The historical moment in which we live demands that your generation unite ― as never before ― learning with action, passion with practicality" to address the world's most pressing challenges.
He argued that the liberal arts education they would receive at Dartmouth could uniquely prepare them to do so.
A physician, educator and infectious disease expert, Kim said it was "deeply humbling for me - the child of Korean immigrants from a small town in Iowa" to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and lead Dartmouth College.
Kim told students that "your generation must dream, dream more ambitiously than any who have preceded you. But just to dream is not enough. You must deliver on the dream where previous generations have fallen short."
He said that doing so would require not only leaders who studied practical disciplines such as engineering or economics but also the arts and humanities.
"They deepen our understanding of what has been and open our imagination to what yet could be. They provide the experiences of beauty and shared meaning which are central to building a more just world. Understanding what ennobles human life, and intensifying our capacity to experience it is the very purpose of a Dartmouth education," Kim said.
Kim described how working in impoverished communities in Haiti and Peru with Partners in Health instilled in him a belief in the transformative power of education.
"Through 25 years of working to help improve health in some of the poorest communities in the world, what has become clear to me is that delivering on ambitious social goals requires more than principled individual action, more even than courageous social justice movements. It requires building and implementing systems that can deliver sustainable solutions"
Kim said the college gave him the "highest honor" of his life by allowing him to serve the school as the president.
He said he will do all he can to enable Dartmouth to continue delivering the treasure of its centuries-old dream safely into the hands of those who will shape the future.
"To send a legion of young people out into the world so inspired by this place that there is no challenge from which they will shrink ― all the while remaining true to the abiding sweetness of the College on the Hill," he said.