The President-Elect of Dartmouth

Dartmouth College seems to have chosen a special next leader, Sian Leah Beilock. We approve big time! Photo credit: Derrick Smith.

When one thinks of a president of an Ivy League institution, maybe one thinks of an older white man with closely cropped gray hair sporting a tweed jacket. Or maybe former Harvard College President Larry Summers comes to mind from the acclaimed movie The Social Network. Remember when Armie Hammer’s character (before his cannibalism came to light) and his twin brother, playing the Winklevoss twins, went to go meet with him in his fancy office? But what likely doesn’t come to mind — at least to our minds — is a young mom who serves as the president of a university by day and helps her daughter with her math homework or bathes her puppy by night. But what we’ve described, well, it’s Dartmouth College’s President-elect Sian Leah Beilock. How cool, right?

And how do we know? Because we’ve been joyfully following the current president of Barnard College and future president of Dartmouth on her Instagram account as the higher education leader hangs out with her daughter and her daughter’s friends in New York City, bathes her doggie in a sink, and helps her daughter with what looks like middle school division (which happens to be way over our heads!).

Heck, President Beilock, a cognitive scientist by training, said it best in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine in a piece entitled “Unbelievable” by Sean Plottner: “First, I really believe in this idea that it’s okay to have multiple selves. I’m a mom, I’m a friend, I’m a professor, I’m an academic, I’m a president. And research shows that when you have a bad day in one, it’s okay, you can fall back on others. So when I’m having a hard time as president, I can go home and hug my daughter. Or when I’m told I’m the worst mom ever, I can write a research paper. I run. I do yoga. I like good food. I like the outdoors. And I try and take the advice of many of my colleagues and psychologists and work to find moments to step back. We know that when you step back, that’s when a lot of creative ideas happen, you come up with insights. So even when I’m working a really hard day, I find those moments to step back, go for a walk, do something different.”

Well said, President Beilock! We are so proud that Dartmouth chose you to be its next leader…and that, as importantly, you chose Dartmouth. Dartmouth students, staff, faculty, and alumni will be stronger for all that you bring to the College on the Hill over the years to come. We’re very excited for you — a mom, a friend, a professor, a foodie, an academic, and a president — to to get started and we believe each role that you play in your life makes you even better in your other roles. Plus, who doesn’t like good food and yoga?

 
 

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