Dartmouth Chooses Michigan Provost As New President

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Dartmouth College has hired an alumnus who built his career as a professor and provost at a major university to succeed Jim Yong Kim as the school’s president.

Philip Hanlon, a 1977 Dartmouth graduate and the current provost at the University of Michigan, will take office on July 1 as the college’s 18th president, the college announced this afternoon.

Hanlon will visit the Dartmouth campus tomorrow to meet with interim president Carol Folt and other school officials, said Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson.

In an interview, Hanlon said he was eager to return to the school that played such an important role in shaping his life and academic career.

"It’s had a profound impact on who I am and what path I’ve taken," Hanlon said by telephone this morning. "So, to be at the helm of Dartmouth College, especially at this moment when there’s so much challenge and opportunity in higher education, this is really a thrill."

Hanlon, 57, is a mathematician who has held a number of positions at the University of Michigan since he was first hired as an associate professor in 1986. He eventually became the college’s associate dean for planning and finance in 2001 and later rose to vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs in 2007, becoming the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs in 2010.

He brings to Dartmouth particular experience in dealing with fiscal constraints in higher education.

State funding for the University of Michigan was cut by $166 million over the past decade, and Hanlon said he played a central role in helping the university adjust and flourish in that time. It is among the greatest strengths that he brings to Dartmouth, he said.

"I think it’s an area where I have a great deal of depth and experience," he said. "I do agree that affordability and access is absolutely crucial to any great college or university right now, and it’s something we need to work on at Dartmouth."

The search for Dartmouth’s 18th president took slightly less time than the one to find Hanlon’s predecessor, who left Dartmouth after just three years on campus to become president of the World Bank. Today’s announcement comes just four months after the search criteria were released. Kim, meanwhile, was hired five months after the criteria that led to his hiring were finalized.

Hanlon was on the list of candidates from early on, said Bill Helman, a college trustee and chairman of the search committee. The decision to hire Hanlon "was easy," Helman said, because of Hanlon’s commitment to liberal arts education and experience with high profile graduate schools.

Hanlon’s ties to Dartmouth also figured prominently in the decision, Helman said.

"It’s a very unique place," Helman said. "Philip Hanlon, who is at Michigan, one of the pre-eminent universities in the world, to have the advantage of an undergraduate liberal arts experience at Dartmouth … it creates pretty unique blend, a pretty unique set of experiences in our guy. So, yeah, I think it’s important."

Diana Taylor, the vice chairwoman of the search committee, graduated with Hanlon in 1977. In the statement announcing Hanlon’s hiring, Taylor said Hanlon’s deep connection with Dartmouth was among the attributes that stood out.

"He impressed everyone on the search committee not only with his passion for Dartmouth, and for undergraduate learning, but also with the sharpness of his vision for how to ensure that Dartmouth can excel in an age of unprecedented challenge and opportunity for higher education," she said. "I could not be more proud that a member of the great Class of 1977 will be leading our alma mater."

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