Connecticut College selects Les Wong as interim president
The Connecticut College Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Leslie E. Wong, Ph.D., a nationally respected leader in higher education, to become interim president of Conn, effective July 1, 2023.
Wong will succeed Katherine Bergeron, whose nearly decade-long tenure as Conn’s 11th president concludes June 30. He will serve until the College’s 12th president is selected and assumes office.
Wong, a former president of San Francisco State University and Northern Michigan University and a former interim president of the University of Southern Colorado, has been a member of Conn’s Board of Trustees since 2019. He will resign his role as a recently re-elected trustee and serve on the Board in an ex officio capacity, as is customary, until the 12th president is appointed.
In his announcement to the Conn community, Debo P. Adegbile ’91, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, said, “Les has deep experience in higher education leadership and a strong understanding of Connecticut College through his Board of Trustees service and committee-related work. As a member of the Board of Trustees since 2019, Les is well known to many in the Conn community. His commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has been evident throughout his academic career. Due to his extensive presidential leadership experience and knowledge of Connecticut College, Les is uniquely positioned to assume this important role.”
In his initial message to the Conn community, Wong said, “It is such an honor to be named interim president of Connecticut College. Since I joined the Board in 2019, the faculty, staff, students, administrators and alumni have shown me the resolve, the persistence and the spirit that are needed for a great college to confront whatever comes before it.”
He added, “As a steward of this institution, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity at hand, particularly in executing our strategic plan, Building on Strength, which will guide me during my role as interim president. This role requires considerable listening and dialogue as well as a willingness to engage ideas and aspirations of everyone at Conn.”
As a member of the Board of Trustees since 2019, Wong has served on the Executive Committee, chaired the Faculty-Trustee Liaison Committee and served as vice chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in educational psychology from Washington State University and previously served as president of San Francisco State University and Northern Michigan University for a combined total of 15 years. Before these roles, he served as vice president of Academic Affairs of Valley City State University and as interim president, provost and academic vice president of the University of Southern Colorado. He is married to Phyllis Michael Wong, who is the author of the award-winning non-fiction book We Kept Our Towns Going.
Wong, who identifies as a person of Mexican and Chinese ancestry, has served on the NCAA’s Task Force on Equity and Inclusion. He led a national effort to admit Mexican universities into Division II of the NCAA and since 1985 has worked closely with the State Department to promote U.S.-China relations as well as the well-being of Chinese Americans. He also led California’s statewide effort to expand Project Rebound, a social justice initiative that helps formerly incarcerated students to earn college degrees.
With Conn’s interim president position now filled, the Board of Trustees will turn its full attention to the search for the College’s 12th president. A 15-member search committee of trustees, faculty, staff and students plans by late June to select a national executive search firm that specializes in higher education. The firm’s first steps will include seeking input from a cross-section of senior administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and other friends and supporters of the College.
2018-19 onStage at Connecticut College Guest Artist Series Announced
2018-19 onStage at Connecticut College Guest Artist Series Announced
Entering its second century of presenting performing arts for the community, the onStage Guest Artist Series at Connecticut College will kick off the 2018-2019 season on Sept. 29 with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, currently embarking on their fiftieth anniversary tour.
“Each year, we select performances that not only entertain, but inspire and engage our audience as well,” said Robert A. Richter, director of arts programming. “We strive to bring in unique artists in dance, theater and music that challenge our audience while providing an unforgettable experience.”
The Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded by acclaimed New York City Ballet principal dancer Arthur Mitchell. He was inspired to give back to the kids of Harlem following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Fifty years later, the Dance Theatre of Harlem features treasured classics and innovative contemporary works that use the language of ballet to celebrate African American culture.
Theatre Re – “The Nature of Forgetting” Tuesday, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m., Palmer Auditorium
“The Nature of Forgetting” is the story of Tom – a middle-aged father struggling with the early stages of dementia. Theatre Re developed this moving piece on memory and amnesia by collaborating with a neuroscience professor and interviewing older members of their local community to create links between science and the real human experience. A panel discussion will immediately follow the performance, presented in collaboration with the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Lorelei Ensemble Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m., Evans Hall
Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble is driven by their mission to advance and elevate women’s vocal ensembles and enrich the repertoire through forward-thinking and co-creative collaboration. The vocal ensemble comprises nine women who expertise ranges from early to contemporary repertoire. The group is recognized as a source of some of the most innovative and inventing programming, having commissioned and premiered more than 50 new works since its founding in 2007.
Tickets: $22; Seniors: $20; Students: $11 (General Admission) Demonstration and discussion with Lorelei Ensemble: “Crafting a New Normal for Women in Music.” Thursday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m., 1941 Room, College Center at Crozier-Williams
Pickup Performance Co(s) – “Radicals in Miniature” Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Tansill Theater
Obie Award-winning playwright and performer Ain Gordon and percussionist Josh Quillen team up to recount the lives and influence of people that lived on the fringe of society. Through personal recollection, they honor individuals who made their mark on contemporary culture in the 1980s and 90s but who have disappeared from the historical records. According to The New York Times, Ain Gordon “haunts the margins of history…conjur[ing] the sort of distant lives that don’t make it into textbooks.”
Donal Fox, piano, and Quincy Troupe, poet – “Star-Spangled Banner Fractured” Friday, March 29, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Evans Hall
Pianist, composer and improviser Donal Fox and renowned poet Quincy Troupe offer a new collaboration, reuniting for the first time since their work together on Donal Fox’s 1997 album Gone City (New World Records), which The Green Mountain Jazz Messenger described as “powerful vernacular poems of African-American experience.” The program, “Star-Spangled Banner Fractured,” is a vehicle to inspire, educate and fuel dialogue in the critical fight for social justice in America.