Plans Take Shape for President Beilock’s Inauguration

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Dartmouth celebrates its 19th president on Sept. 22.

Sian Leah Beilock
Sian Leah Beilock, a cognitive scientist who studies the factors in the brain that influence all types of performance, is Dartmouth’s 19th president. (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

In a ceremony that will combine time-honored tradition with a forward-looking vision for the future, Sian Leah Beilock will be officially installed as Dartmouth’s 19th president on Sept. 22, receiving the Wentworth Bowl from the hands of her predecessor, President Emeritus Philip J. Hanlon ’77.

President Beilock is the first woman to be elected Dartmouth president in its 254-year history.

“I have been looking forward to this day for a long time,” says Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Cahill Lempres ’83, Thayer ’84, who will present the new president with the Dartmouth College Charter at the ceremony and formally install her in the role. 

“When the trustees unanimously elected President Beilock last year, we knew her to be an innovative scholar and leader with a vision uniquely suited for this moment in Dartmouth’s history. And as so many of us have witnessed in recent months, Sian has thrown herself into every aspect of the Dartmouth community with passion, purpose, and an infectious optimism that is energizing the entire campus around the possibilities for the future. I speak for the board when I say we are proud to be her partners every step of the way.” 

Beilock, who began serving as president on June 12, is a world-renowned cognitive scientist who specializes in factors in the brain that influence performance—notably, the science behind what causes, and what can alleviate, “choking under pressure” in high-stakes moments, from academic exams and sports competitions to boardroom presentations. 

Sian Leah Beilock, Dartmouth president
Dartmouth President Sian Leah Beilock, a cognitive scientist, previously served as president of Barnard College. (Photo by Rob Strong ’04)

“It has been a joy and an honor to begin to get to know the Dartmouth community—undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, alumni, staff—and to learn about their love of this institution and their hopes and aspirations for it,” Beilock says. 

“I’ve heard about their commitment to furthering innovation and research, to making Dartmouth a brave space of trust and challenge across differences, to taking responsibility for developing climate solutions, and to uplifting the health, well-being, and intellectual growth of every member of this community. There is so much that we can and will accomplish together.”

The procession and ceremony on Sept. 22 begin at 3 p.m. on the Green. A livestream will be available online and at campus locations to be announced. More information will be available on the Inauguration website.

In addition to an inaugural address by Beilock that will help set the tone for her administration, the day’s featured speakers include artificial intelligence and business expert Allie Miller ’10; Brown University President Christina Hull Paxson; New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, an ex officio trustee; student representatives; and Inauguration Advisory Committee co-chairs Vijay Govindarajan and Chloe Poston. The ceremony will feature a variety of musical performances, including the singing of Alma Mater.

Delegates from more than a dozen colleges and universities around the country will be in attendance, as will both of Dartmouth’s living former presidents, Hanlon and global health leader Jim Yong Kim, the former president of the World Bank.

Beth Regan, the vice chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribe Council of Elders, will perform the blessing. Before the ceremony, Mohegan Tribe Vice Chairwoman Sarah Harris ’00 will present Beilock with a necklace on behalf of the tribe, whose 18th-century ancestor Samson Occom is one of Dartmouth’s founders. 

Harris, a member of Dartmouth’s Native American Visiting Committee, will also make remarks about the significance of a hand-beaded leather wampum belt and its role in maintaining the bond between the Mohegan people and Dartmouth. The belt, originally received by then-President Hanlon in April 2022 when Dartmouth formally repatriated Occom’s papers to the Mohegan Tribe, will be passed down from Hanlon to Beilock to symbolize the transfer of Dartmouth’s commitment to maintaining good relations with the tribe.

The Inauguration ceremony will be the culmination of a series of Inauguration-related public events throughout the week, including: 

  • A fireside chat-style conversation between Beilock and trailblazing former PepsiCo CEO and bestselling author Indra Nooyi at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Cook Auditorium;
  • An academic panel, Driving Impact Through Dartmouth’s Innovative Ecosystem, moderated by Alexis Abramson, dean of Thayer School of Engineering, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21, in the Murdough Center’s Cook Auditorium; and
  • A community cookout at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, on Tuck Mall (rain location: Class of 1953 Commons). 

The discussions will be livestreamed online and to overflow locations to be announced. The Inauguration website will be updated with full details.

Beilock previously served as the eighth president of Barnard College at Columbia University and as executive vice provost and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. The author of two critically acclaimed books and 120 peer-reviewed publications, she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association, a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the Council on Foreign Relations, and has received a National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. She earned doctoral degrees in psychology and kinesiology from Michigan State University and her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego.

Hannah Silverstein