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Dartmouth names alum,Philip Hanlon, its 18th president

Union Leader Correspondent

November 29. 2012 7:05PM
Dartmouth College president-elect Philip Hanlon. (Courtesy)

HANOVER - Mathematician and University of Michigan professor Philip Hanlon is Dartmouth College's new president, the college announced Thursday. He will be the college's 18th president in its 243-year history.

Hanlon is an academic leader and dedicated scholar and teacher, the college said in its announcement.

"I am humbled and thrilled to be asked to be the president of Dartmouth, the place where I grew up and forged lifelong friendships and bonds," Hanlon said in the press release announcing his presidency.

"Dartmouth revealed to me the power that derives from the life of the mind. It gave me the confidence to pursue my academic dreams, along with the unshakeable conviction that there is no firmer foundation for success than a broad liberal arts education. Today, more than ever, higher education must produce citizen leaders with the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, cultural awareness, and flexibility to make a difference in today's world.

Dartmouth has taken great strides toward meeting this goal through its strategic planning process. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and our Board to further Dartmouth's leadership in higher education in ways that combine our traditional strengths with even greater academic excellence, scholarship, and global impact."

Hanlon earned his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth in 1977. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology in 1981.

As a University of Michigan faculty member since 1986, he has held administrative leadership positions for more than a decade, and was most recently appointed provost in 2010.

"Phil is an exceptional leader with a passion for higher education and its critical role in society," Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, said in the press release. "As Michigan's provost, he has steered the institution through some of its most fiscally challenging years, all the while advancing our academic excellence and impact. As a teacher, his passion for undergraduate education is palpable. As Dartmouth's next president, his vision, experience, and deep integrity will elevate its already exceptional standing in higher education."

Despite his numerous administrative duties at Michigan, Hanlon has continued to teach. He founded the Michigan Math and Science Scholars, a summer program for high school students with a strong interest in math and science fields.

"Hanlon plans to continue to teach at Dartmouth, based on his strong belief that great universities are distinguished by their focus on preparing the next generation of leaders for a lifetime of impact and learning," the college said.

Hanlon was chosen after a "rigorous and inclusive" six-month search led by a search committee that included trustees, faculty, students, alumni, and staff representatives.

"Phil is a world-class academic scholar and an outstanding teacher, committed to the value of a liberal arts education and with experience with highly ranked graduate schools and programs," Presidential Search Committee Chair Bill Helman said in the press release. "The decision was easy. I could not be more excited about Phil's presidency."

Hanlon is an expert on computational genetics and cryptology. He built a world-class combinatorics group at Michigan that consistently ranks among the top five in the nation. He also focuses on probability and combinatorics, the study of finite structures and their significance as they relate to bioinformatics and computer science.

Hanlon will replace Jim Yong Kim, who stepped down last spring after he was appointed the new president of the World Bank. Provost Carol L. Folt served as interim president since Kim left after the conclusion of the academic year.

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