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Vital Signs

Inauguration was colorful, solemn, festive, diverse

By Alan Smithee

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Kim (left) was joined on the dais by a number of dignitaries.

Colorful, certainly. Solemn, for sure. Thought-provoking, absolutely. Festive, no question. And diverse—oh, yes, definitely diverse.

There are lots of adjectives one might apply to the two days of inauguration festivities celebrating Dr. Jim Yong Kim's assumption of the Dartmouth presidency, but diverse is one that definitely belongs on the list.

Office: For starters, there is the fact that Kim became the first Asian-American president in the Ivy League when he took office on July 1. He's also the first M.D. to hold the Dartmouth presidency (in addition, he has a Ph.D. in anthropology).

Then there's the fact that the attendees at the September 21 and 22 inauguration events ranged from purple-haired students to white-haired guests of honor, and their garb from shorts and sundresses to blue blazers and Chanel suits.

A festive day

Watch video highlights of the weekend of Kim's inauguration.
View video

The diversity of the events themselves ran deep, too, comprising in essence a syllabus of the liberal arts. An afternoon panel discussion focused on "leadership for social change." An evening event celebrated Dartmouth's strength in the arts. A series of dinners brought carefully selected slates of guests together to talk about important issues facing society, from health-care reform to energy policy.

And the inauguration itself included a diversity of music—from an honor song performed by Dartmouth's powwow drum group, to the spiritual "My Lord What a Morning" sung by the Dartmouth Glee Club; of traditions—from the pageantry of the academic procession, to the solemnity of the transfer of the original College charter; and of speeches—including by noted global health activist Dr. Paul Farmer and Kim himself. Kim called on Dartmouth students to unite "learning with action, passion with practicality" and invoked one of his predecessors as president, John Sloan Dickey, in urging them to "embrace the world's troubles as your own."

Food: Finally, all the attendees enjoyed a gustatorily diverse array of international food.


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