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.
Connecticut College’s Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology Presents: [Re]Generation
The Connecticut College Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology presents their spring exhibition, [Re]Generation, which opens on Jan. 21 and runs through Feb. 21 at Cummings Arts Center.
[Re]Generation exhibitors question the power dynamics that influence technology and culture, and how to influence these dynamics to create a more equitable and inclusive field. The exhibit features the work of Angela Ferraiolo, Asha Tamirisa, Jenny Vogel, and 2019-20 Ammerman Center Visiting Fellow Elisa Giardina Papa. Within the exhibition, hybrid physical and digital systems both reveal and critique the world’s engagement with technology.
Elisa Giardina Papa’s “Technologies of Care?” documents new ways in which service and emotional labor are being outsourced via internet platforms, exploring topics such as empathy, precarity and immaterial labor. Positioned in the center of the gallery as discrete stations, this video work visualizes the invisible workforce of online caregivers.
“The Knife Cuts Two Ways” by Angela Ferraiolo is a playful series of brightly colored videos of repeating patterns on monitors partially covered in mounds of shiny wrapped candy. This work is inspired by both comic books and scroll painting.
“How Much Memory is Needed” by Jenny Vogel challenges us to think about the waste of virtual objects in online environments. Created with custom software, this live streaming video installation represents a generic 3D world that continuously accumulates random 3D models, fills up the frame and then resets. This work is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ short story “On Exactitude in Science (1946),” which raises the question of the usefulness of a map that is so exact that it eventually reaches the size of the actual territory.
Asha Tamirisa’s work “ARTIFACT” is a sculptural installation motivated by the connections between textiles and electronics, communication technologies and computational media. The piece literally weaves textiles and electronics materials into a singular tapestry. By bringing together these seemingly disparate materials, the work illuminates the shared technical and labor histories between these materials and technical processes.
This exhibition is free. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1–4 p.m. A reception and gallery talk with featured artists will be held from 4:15–6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6. The exhibition is part of this year’s [Re]Generation Summit, where artists, scholars and leaders in the field of arts and technology will gather to consider how we facilitate structural changes to the disciplines of arts and technology to be more equitable, collaborative and open in the 21st century.
For more information, contact Ammerman Center Director and Curator Andrea Wollensak at email@example.com.