Women’s History Month: Joanne Berger-Sweeney First Black Female President at Trinity College

Leading administrator brings neuroscience and business management experience

Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D. (Image: TrinColl.edu)

Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D. (Image: TrinColl.edu)

On Tuesday, March 25, the Trinity College Board of Trustees elected Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D., its 22nd president, making her the first African American and female to hold the post in the institution’s more than 190-year history. A leading scholar, neuroscientist and administrator, Berger-Sweeney will transition into the position from her current role as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

“We are confident that Joanne Berger-Sweeney is the right leader for Trinity. She is a world-class educator and scientist, who during her career has run a lab committed to Alzheimer’s research,” Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh, chair of the school’s presidential search committee, said in a statement. “As dean of Tufts’ School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Berger-Sweeney is an accomplished administrator who knows the NESCAC well, manages a $311 million annual budget, and oversees a school of 5,000 students and a 385-member faculty. She is a collaborative innovator with a student-centric focus. She values our position in Hartford, recognizing it will be a key element in defining our future. ”

Berger-Sweeney brings more than a decade of educational and administrative experience to the post, having served as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience at Wellesley College. A graduate of Wellesley, she also holds an M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Health (INSERM) in Paris, France.

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