First Asian-American named to head Ivy university
Dartmouth College on Monday named a South Korean-born health expert as its president, becoming the first Asian-American to head a university in the prestigious Ivy League, AFP reported.
Jim Yong Kim, 49, is a former director of the HIV/AIDS department of the World Health Organization where he was credited with helping expand access to lifesaving treatment in the developing world.
"Our goal at the World Health Organization was to raise aspirations about what can be achieved in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and I see the same vision and sense of purpose at Dartmouth today," Kim said in a statement.
Kim will take over on July 1 as president of Dartmouth College, which was founded in 1769 in Hanover, New Hampshire, the university statement said.
Kim becomes the first Asian-American to lead a school in the Ivy League, a group of eight universities in the northeastern United States which historically were a breeding ground for the elite.
Kim was born in the South Korean capital Seoul and moved with his family at age five to the midwestern US state of Iowa.
He went to the public high school in Muscatine, a town on the Mississippi River, where he was the class valedictorian and played quarterback on the American football team.
Named in 2006 as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, Kim helped found Partners in Health, which aims to expand quality health care to the world's poor.
He is currently chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dartmouth said Kim would continue to teach undergraduates in his new role.
Some 14 million Americans are of Asian descent, or five percent of the total population. Their number is expected to nearly triple in 2050 to 41 million, government figures show.
President Barack Obama has named a record three Asian-Americans to his cabinet.
Asian-Americans have gained a reputation for high achievement in universities. But some community activists have called the image harmful, saying that Asian-Americans' needs -- often cultural and linguistic -- go overlooked in US education policy.