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Dartmouth’s problem now the world’s…

or at least the World Bank’s, with the formal appointment of Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim as the bank’s new president. President Kim stuck around Dartmouth barely long enough to get his ticket punched (not quite three years). He is the shortest-serving Dartmouth president since the reluctant Rev. Daniel Dana (1820-21) who, unlike Kim, made his distaste for the position clear prior to his appointment.

Except for Kim’s apparent lack of relevant background for the World Bank position — no one had guessed that Kim was in the running for the nomination — Kim is perfect for the job. He is certainly a perfect reflection of President Obama, who nominated him for it.

At Dartmouth President Kim cultivated a cult of personality that resulted in his chosen speaker at the 2010 commencement ceremony paying tribute to none other than President Kim himself. I do not think there will be many tears shed over the departure of Dartmouth’s dear leader. He was liberally loathed by the faculty, and not for petty reasons.

I speculated last year that Kim would not be long for Dartmouth. It was briefly of use to him, but it offered way too small a stage for him. If I understand the college’s announcement yesterday correctly, Kim has remained on the college payroll while he’s been flying around on his “global listening tour” rounding up support for his appointment to the new job, and he will stay on the payroll until June 30. If so, it is a small price to pay for losing this guy. (For Dartmouth alumni, Joe Asch parses a related aspect of the college’s announcement here. Joe would clearly have made an outstanding Cold War Kremlinologist.)

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