Dear Fellow Grinnellians,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce that Raynard S. Kington, M.D, M.B.A., Ph.D., the deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a leading scientific researcher on the role of social factors as determinants of health, will become Grinnell College’s 13th president on August 1, 2010. He will succeed Russell K. Osgood, who has ably served as Grinnell’s president for 12 years and announced his retirement in May of 2009.
Dr. Kington was the unanimous recommendation of our 14-member Presidential Search Committee and was unanimously elected by the trustees. The nine-month, nationwide search process was exhaustive. Our pool of more than 200 candidates was extraordinarily accomplished and diverse, and included sitting college Presidents and Deans, university Provosts and leading intellectuals in a variety of academic disciplines and professional fields. However, Dr. Kington’s remarkable profile made him a compelling candidate from the start. Few individuals possess the unique blend of successful experiences in public policy, higher education, research, management and rigorous intellectual achievement that he now brings to Grinnell.
Dr. Kington’s record of achievement is exceptional. He was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, where he currently serves as the chair of the Section on Administration of Health Services, Education, and Research. His wide range of responsibilities have included serving as associate director of NIH for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and acting director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Prior to NIH, he was a division director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he led the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the nation’s largest studies to assess the health of the American people. He has been a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation and was the Co-Director of the Charles R. Drew University/RAND Center on Health and Aging. He has served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA and as a Visiting Associate Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Kington’s credentials are only one part of his story, however. The trustees also took great interest in those attributes that elicited such clear and strong endorsements from his peers and colleagues from around the country. He is known for his inclusive management style, his commitment to a clear and thoughtful decision making process, and his quick and extraordinary grasp of complex issues. He has an extensive track record in excellent financial management. He has a reputation for encouraging constructive debate on critical issues and for working easily in a collaborative team environment with people at all levels of responsibility. His personal and professional lives are rooted in a profound commitment to social responsibility. He is clearly focused on the connection between academic excellence and our graduates’ ability to go into the world and transform it. He was explicit in his desire to embrace Grinnell’s heritage of social justice and equality, and to understand how to translate such a mission into today’s global, entrepreneurial environment.
We believe the combination of these qualities will enable Dr. Kington, working with our community of current and future scholars, to inspire our College to even greater heights, and that Grinnell’s best days lie ahead of us. However, we must remember that no individual is an island, and that even the most talented among us will need the support of our entire community. As Grinnellians, we are profoundly connected to our traditions and history, but we are now called to reinforce that connection to our present and our future. Dr. Kington’s appointment as our next President represents a wonderful opportunity for us to take stock of our institutional success and current challenges, and to reinvigorate our commitment to seeing the full potential of Grinnell College unfold on the world’s stage.
In recruiting Grinnell’s 13th president in 164 years, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to the efforts of our tireless Presidential Search Committee. Under the leadership of Paul Risser ’61, the Committee, including representatives from the trustees, faculty, administration, alumni and student body, established a rigorous set of criteria and an ambitious timeline. With the help of the Isaacson Miller search firm, the committee has succeeded in recruiting a visionary individual who embraces our values and possesses the unique combination of qualities that will inspire the entire Grinnell community and advance our far-reaching institutional goals.
Dr. Kington, his partner, Peter T. Daniolos M.D., a child psychiatrist at Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington University, and their two young children plan to move to Grinnell during the summer and make the president’s residence at the College their home.
We are confident that Dr. Kington is the right person to lead Grinnell College into our bright and bold future. Please join me in welcoming him to the Grinnell community and giving him and his family our enthusiastic support and encouragement.
David P. White ’90, Chair of the Board of Trustees