This time last year, the man tapped to be the next leader of the World Bank was dressed up like a spaceman and rapping with glowsticks around his wrists.
At the Dartmouth Idol contest last year, the college president jumped up on stage with students, dressed in a costume designed to channel rapper will.i.am from the group Black Eyed Peas. Kim raps and sings with help from autotune, wearing a white, studded leather jacket, spaceman glasses and gloves with no fingertips. “With all due respect to whoever actually did win,” wrote the IvyGate blog last March, “we must declare that it’s Jim Yong Kim, not anyone else, who is our IvyPrez Idol.”
In 2010, Kim similarly surprised students by appearing on stage while they were performing a tribute to Michael Jackson. And, yes, the president was wearing only one white glove.
Kim, a major figure in the global health world, was the first Asian American to assume the top job at an Ivy League institution when he became Dartmouth’s president in 2009.
His Dartmouth Idol appearances aside, Kim’s tenure as president has been shaky. In the student newspaper, Dartmouth students say Kim has failed to adequately address a number of campus issues, including an ongoing hazing scandal.
But an opinion piece in The Dartmouth last April exhorted students to be more forgiving, “We expected Kim to be superhuman,” wrote student Peter Blair. “But like all of us, Kim is apt to make mistakes.”