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.
Quince starts Ammerman Center's “The Body and Technology” Colloquia Series
The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology's "The Body and Technology" Colloquium Series 2016-2017 begins with two free events open to the public: a Nov. 14 talk by Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and their concert performance the following evening, Nov. 15.
Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble is an all-female vocal quartet, an artist-run ensemble committed to commissioning, creating, performing, and educating about new and experimental vocal repertoire. With the precision and flexibility of modern chamber musicians, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble specializes in experimental repertoire that is changing the paradigm of contemporary vocal music. Learn more at www.quince-ensemble.com.
In their talk, “Entrepreneurship in Contemporary Music,” taking place in Olin Science Center, 014, at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, Quince will be discussing their own experiences in the American contemporary music scene: from working with composers to designing a website to navigating the world of nonprofits to creating new, musical opportunities in order to ensure a sustainable and thriving career in this ever-changing music world.
The concert, “Machine Music”, by Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Hall, Cummings Arts Center, includes an appearance by Camel Heard, the College's choral ensemble. A reception will follow. Camel Heard is an advanced mixed vocal ensemble of approximately 12-16 members open to majors and non-majors by audition. This ensemble performs a diverse repertoire from the medieval period to the 21st century.
Wendy Moy, assistant professor of music, director of choral activities, and co-associate director of events for the Ammerman Center, said of the concert, “I am very excited about this residency with Quince Vocal Ensemble as it offers our students a glimpse into the professional world of singing within a choral context. Quince will be performing music that re-conceptualizes how we use the voice in an ensemble setting through the use of extended techniques, electronics, and voice manipulation apps. Our students will learn how to bridge the gap between their “classical” training and the techniques required to perform cutting-edge experimental music. In addition, they will learn valuable lessons about the collaboration, skills, and creativity needed to be an entrepreneur in the arts. From this residency with Quince, it is my hope that our students will envision what a creative life in the arts can look like now and beyond graduation.”
The 2016–2017 Ammerman Center Body and Technology Colloquia series presents a wide-range of thought provoking work by artists, researchers and performers, manifesting and reflecting on the current multiplicity of relationships between technology and the body, and the ways these can shape, enhance or control our lives.
The Body and Technology Colloquia series will also address post-human bodies shaped by the Mexican-American borderlands and the politics of otherness (Guillermo Gomez-Pena with La Pocha Nostra, February 27-28, 2017), to clone-bodies generated and shaped by science fiction and algorithmic excess (Lee Blalock, April 3, 2017).
The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology gathers faculty and students who study and contribute to the symbiotic relationship between technology and the arts. Through interdisciplinary collaborations and individual work, students and faculty not only promote proficiency in working with technology, but also deepen the understanding of the meaning and role of technology within the larger context of the liberal arts.