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Dartmouth names Michigan provost as its president

Philip J. Hanlon, the provost of the University of Michigan, will be the next president of Dartmouth College, starting in July.

Hanlon, 57, a mathematician whose work focuses on probability and combinatorics, will take office July 1, succeeding Jim Yong Kim, who resigned in April to become the president of the World Bank. The interim president, Carol L. Folt, will resume her role as provost when Hanlon arrives.

“I’m thrilled to be the 18th president of Dartmouth,” said Hanlon, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1977. “I’m particularly excited to be leading Dartmouth in a period when I believe higher education is going to change in important ways.”

Hanlon, who earned a doctorate at the California Institute of Technology and spent two years in a postdoctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, still teaches freshman calculus at Michigan. He said he would continue teaching at Dartmouth, an Ivy League college with about 4,100 undergraduates in Hanover, N.H.

“I’ll have to reach out to the math department and see how I can be helpful,” he said. “I like to teach freshmen.”

—Tamar Lewin, The New York Times

A house in Washington may solve a 1918 mystery

WASHINGTON — At first, the bricks tumbled one by one, the jaws of the excavator plucking at the home’s facade. Then the punch: the bucket rammed through a window, raking out insulation, wiring and cinder blocks that rained on the driveway below.

With a diesel roar and crunch of timber, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began on Thursday the long-awaited demolition of a vacant house believed to have been built atop a chemical weapons burial pit, part of the tarnished legacy of a World War I-era research station in what is now one of the capital’s most affluent residential neighborhoods.

“I’m glad — an unqualified glad — that they’re doing this,” said Nan Wells, a representative to the area’s neighborhood council, as she watched the excavator tear into the house. “I think what’s important is that they be open about what they’re finding.”

The demolition is what many hope will be the climactic chapter in a nearly 20-year cleanup of the Washington neighborhood known as Spring Valley. The project overa

—Theo Emery, The New York Times

US moves toward recognizing Syrian opposition

WASHINGTON — The United States is moving toward recognizing the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people as soon as it fully develops its political structure, U.S. officials said Thursday. The move could be announced at a “Friends of Syria” meeting that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to attend in Morocco on Dec. 12.

Whether to recognize the opposition group is the most immediate decision the Obama administration confronts as it considers how to end the government of Bashar Assad and stop the violence that has consumed Syria. Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council have already recognized the opposition.

“They are a legitimate representative of the Syrian people’s aspirations,” Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, said Thursday at a conference on the Syrian humanitarian crisis. “They are making real progress, and I expect that our position will evolve as they themselves develop.”

—Michael Gordon, The New York Times