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Dear friends in the Dartmouth community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to share the exciting news that Sian Leah Beilock will become president of Dartmouth on July 1, 2023.
A leading cognitive scientist and the current president of Barnard College, Sian will be the 19th president in the Wheelock Succession and is the first woman elected to the position. Her election by the trustees in our 50th anniversary year of coeducation at Dartmouth was enthusiastic and unanimous. Sian will succeed Philip J. Hanlon '77, who announced in January that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year after a decade in the role.
When we launched our global search six months ago, we asked the Dartmouth community a critical question: What skills will be most important in our next president? You responded with an impressive catalog of capabilities and qualities: someone with an aspirational vision who could develop strategies to build our research enterprise while furthering our tradition of excellence in undergraduate education; an individual who could expand our global impact, create an inclusive, vibrant student experience, and embed an innovative, agile mindset across Dartmouth. After an inclusive and rigorous search, we are confident Sian is that leader. She embraces the teacher-scholar model and brings experience from a world-class R1 institution as well as a distinctive liberal arts college. Sian is both an outstanding communicator with a long record of impact and a skilled listener who encourages the exchange of ideas—among faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
At Barnard, Sian has increased the diversity and engagement of both the student body and the faculty and complemented its strong liberal arts curriculum with enhanced programs in STEM. Before joining Barnard, she served as executive vice provost of the University of Chicago, where she was the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology and an officer of the university. As executive vice provost, she focused on developing programs to support professional and personal development for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars and worked with faculty and staff to build world-class arts and theater at the university.
Sian is one of the world's leading experts on the brain science behind "choking under pressure" and the brain and body factors influencing all types of performance: from test taking, to public speaking, to athletics. A particular focus of her work has been developing and implementing research-driven strategies to encourage women and girls in the fields of math and science. She has authored two critically acclaimed books published in more than a dozen languages as well as some 120 peer-reviewed publications in outlets such as Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her 2017 TED talk has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. Sian is herself an athlete. She ran cross country, skied, and grew up playing soccer in the Olympic Development Program. She also played club lacrosse in college.
Sian is a recipient, among other honors, of the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award for her pioneering work on anxiety and performance in high-stress situations and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association and a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her bachelor's degree in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego, and doctorates of philosophy in both kinesiology and psychology from Michigan State University.
As thrilled as I am about Sian's election, I am equally proud of the process that led to it. The board is grateful to the 18 members of the Presidential Search Committee, comprising trustees, faculty, students, staff, and alumni, and in particular to chairs Susie Huang '84 and Chris Lord '86. Their leadership, energy, and embodiment of Dartmouth and its values have made today's announcement possible. We are also grateful to the many members of the Dartmouth family who attended listening sessions, submitted surveys, and nominated individuals. Your participation and the intense work of the committee enabled us to consider a diverse, deep, and talented pool of candidates.
I also want to reiterate the board's enduring appreciation to President Hanlon for his extraordinary work and unwavering dedication to Dartmouth. There is no better testimony to Phil's impact than the enthusiasm "the Dartmouth story" generated among the many talented leaders we spoke to during our search. Feedback from candidates was loud and clear: Dartmouth is well positioned to have even greater impact on its students and the world thanks to Phil's leadership.
Phil, Sian, and the board will be working closely over the coming year to ensure a successful transition. Discussions kick off tomorrow when Sian will be in Hanover. I hope that those of you on campus will stop and say hello when you see her. And, of course, there will be many opportunities for faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others to meet with Sian over the next 12 months.
Please join me in a rouse for our next president. Welcome to our cherished family, Sian. What a great day for Dartmouth!
Elizabeth Cahill Lempres '83, Thayer '84
Chair, Dartmouth Board of Trustees