Joanne Berger-Sweeney elected Trinity’s 22nd president


Joanne Berger-Sweeney, who takes over as president of Trinity College on July 1, 2014, speaks to the crowd gathered at her official announcement on March 27, 2014.

Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D., was named in March as the 22nd president of Trinity College following a unanimous vote by the College’s Board of Trustees. An accomplished teacher, scholar, neuroscientist, and administrator, Berger-Sweeney has served since 2010 as the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Berger-Sweeney, who came to Tufts after serving 19 years as a faculty member and associate dean at Wellesley College, is the first African American and first woman to be elected president of Trinity. She will succeed James F. Jones, Jr. as president on July 1, 2014, following his retirement after 10 years of distinguished service.

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Patrick Hoagland ’16 takes a selfie to remember with President James F. Jones, Jr., President-elect Joanne Berger-Sweeney, and Charles Smith Scholar Sean Dunn ’16.

“Trinity College is an institution that honors its traditions and embraces its future, and with the selection of Joanne Berger-Sweeney, we have found the right leader to renew our commitment to the value and delivery of an excellent liberal arts education,” said Paul E. Raether ’68, chair of the Trinity Board of Trustees.

Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh ’80, chair of the search committee and chair-elect of the Board of Trustees, added, “She impressed us with her strong academic credentials, curricular innovations, collaborative nature, and enthusiasm for the Hartford community.” Thornburgh will become board chair simultaneously with Berger-Sweeney’s assumption of the presidency on July 1, 2014.

Berger-Sweeney said of her selection, “I am honored and humbled to be joining the Trinity community at such an important time for the College and for American higher education. … With the strong alumni and alumnae support base, I look forward to the successes the faculty, staff, students, and I will achieve together.”

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Joanne Berger-Sweeney with her family: son Tommy, husband Urs V. Berger, Ph.D., and daughter Clara.

Berger-Sweeney received her undergraduate degree in psychobiology from Wellesley College, 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.

She and her husband, Urs V. Berger, Ph.D., also a neuroscientist, are the parents of two children: Clara, age 17, and Tommy, age 13.

Read Joanne Berger-Sweeney’s bio here.
View photos from the March 27, 2014 announcement here.
Social media content from the announcement and President-elect Berger-Sweeney’s tour of campus the following day can be seen on Storify.