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.
2021-22 onStage at Connecticut College Guest Artist Series Continues With Spring Lineup
Connecticut College’s onStage Guest Artist Series continues this spring with three signature performances, culminating with the reopening of the newly renovated Palmer Auditorium.
“Live performances are back, and this season is filled with world-class music, dance, theater, literature and visual art, presented by artists from a wide spectrum of cultural and creative backgrounds and perspectives,” said Robert A. Richter, director of arts programming. “We are also excited to celebrate the opening of the Athey Center for Performance and Research at Palmer Auditorium. This revitalized space will serve as a campus and community hub for innovation and best-in-class performances.”
The spring season’s performers are:
Stefon Harris & Blackout Friday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., Athey Center for Performance and Research at Palmer Auditorium
Vibraphonist Stefon Harris's passionate artistry and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him to the forefront of the jazz scene. Heralded as "one of the most important artists in jazz" (The Los Angeles Times), he has earned four GRAMMY™ nominations, and was named Best Mallet player eight times by the Jazz Journalists Association.
Tickets: $22; Seniors: $20; Students: $11
Tempesta Di Mare Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Sunday, April 3, 3 p.m., Evans Hall
With every performance Tempesta di Mare creates a sense of discovery. This stems from the ensemble’s signature interpretive approach to baroque music as a dramatic, rhetorical craft—like oration and acting—an approach shared by the composers and performers when the music was new. The concert includes work by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and other contemporaries.
This concert is presented in honor of John Anthony, Professor of Music, and his fifty years of dedication to the students of Connecticut College and the campus community. It is presented with support from Carol Stratton Beers ’89, Jim Beers ’88, Pauline Imberman ’87 and Marc Baylin ’85.
Tickets: $22; Seniors: $20; Students: $11
Pablo Sainz-Villegas, classical guitar Friday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Evans Hall
Praised as “the soul of the Spanish guitar,” Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great guitarist. With his “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” as described by The New York Times, his interpretations conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of Rioja, his homeland’s rich musical heritage, known for his passionate, emotive and openhearted playing.
Tickets: $20; Seniors: $18; Students: $10
Please note: In keeping with Connecticut College’s Covid-19 policies all visitors to Connecticut College, including those attending events and performances, must abide by Connecticut College’s Covid-19 protocols. Visitor protocols are as follows:
All visitors to the campus, regardless of vaccination status, are expected to wear masks indoors at all times.
Connecticut College requires that all visitors fill out and sign an Attestation Form that states they are vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a negative test and do not have any Covid-19 symptoms. A copy of the form may be downloaded here and brought to events. Forms will also be available at the venue.
For tickets and more information, call (860) 439-2787 or visit the onStage Guest Artist Series webpage.