Obama said the Korean-born Kim, whose background is more medical than financial, "has spent more than two decades working to improve conditions in developing countries around the world."
The World Bank's goal is specifically to make loans to help reduce poverty around the world. The current bank president, Robert Zoellick, announced in February he would step down in June.
Kim has been the president of Dartmouth since 2009.
He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and earned a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He also has a doctorate degree in anthropology, which he earned at Harvard.
At Dartmouth, he helped found the Center for Health Care Delivery Science, a collaboration between researchers and medical practitioners to create low-cost medical programs. He also helped launch the National College Health Improvement Project. He has worked in numerous medical programs and is considered a pioneer in the treatment of "multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis," the White House said in a statement.
Obama said Kim "does it all."
Kim, who moved to the United States from Korea at the age of 5, was president of his high school class, quarterback on the football team and point guard on the basketball team.
If that wasn't enough, "I just found out he is a 5-handicap in golf," Obama said. "I'm a little resentful about that."