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Dartmouth picks provost to be interim president

Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kimwill step down June 30 to lead the World Bank.

ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kimwill step down June 30 to lead the World Bank.

Dartmouth College, which is losing current president Jim Yong Kim to the World Bank, appointed provost Carol Folt Tuesday to lead the school while its board searches for a permanent replacement.

Kim will leave June 30 to head the bank, a powerful international organization that distributes funds to developing nations. His appointment to that post was confirmed Monday.

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In 2009, Folt was named provost, the second-highest rank at Dartmouth. Her name, along with that of Marye Anne Fox - a Dartmouth board member who recently stepped down as chancellor of the University of California, San Diego - was frequently mentioned in recent weeks in discussions about an interim president.

A release from the college suggested Folt is likely to hold the interim post for about a year, and she has told the board she will not seek a permanent appointment as president.

“I am honored to lead Dartmouth through this transition, and look forward to working with all members of the Dartmouth community to maintain the vitality of our campus, strengthen existing and new initiatives, and sharpen priorities,’’ she said in the college’s statement. “Keeping Dartmouth on an ambitious trajectory also will help attract a gifted and vibrant successor to President Kim.’’

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Folt, a biologist and environmental scientist, has focused her academic work on metal toxicity in aquatic ecosystems, with special attention to how pollution affects the health of humans and other animals. She has been at Dartmouth since 1983 and has won the college’s major teaching award.

As provost, she worked closely with Kim on his first major initiative: steadying the college’s finances after the economic crash left it with a $100 million budget gap. More recently, she has been a key player in efforts to formulate a long-term strategic plan for Dartmouth, and she will continue to work on that project as interim president.

“We have an exciting year ahead of us, with much work to be done, and are fortunate that Provost Folt has agreed to serve Dartmouth as interim president,’’ board chairman Steve Mandel said in a statement. “She will provide leadership to all parts of our campus and continue to lead the strategic planning process, which is a top priority for the board.’’

The board is expected to name a leader for its presidential search committee Thursday.

Mary Carmichael can be reached at mary.carmichael@globe.com.
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