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    Tuesday, July 23, 2024

    Connecticut College announces interim president

    Connecticut College announced Thursday, June 8, 2023, that Leslie E. Wong would become interim president on July 1. (Submitted photo)

    New London ― Leslie E. Wong, a member of Connecticut College’s Board of Trustees and former president of other educational institutions, will become interim president of Connecticut College on July 1, the college announced Thursday.

    He succeeds Katherine Bergeron.

    “It is such an honor to be named interim president of Connecticut College,” Wong said in a message to the college community. “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.”

    The board unanimously elected Wong as interim president, the college said in a news release.

    Debo P. Adegbile, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, cited Wong’s “deep experience in higher education leadership and a strong understanding of Connecticut College through his Board of Trustees service and committee-related work” in an announcement.

    Wong has a Ph.D. in educational psychology and was president of San Francisco State University and Northern Michigan University and interim president of the University of Southern Colorado, according to the release. He is married to Phyllis Michael Wong, who wrote “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,” the release states. “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.”

    A search committee of 15 trustees, faculty, staff and students plans by late June to select a national executive search firm that specializes in higher education, the release states. 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.

    Bergeron announced in March that she would resign at the end of the spring semester following protests and a no-confidence vote from faculty. Bergeron wrote that she thought hard about the events and would continue to learn from them, as she hopes it is possible for everyone to do the same.

    Former Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Rodmon King resigned in protest over a planned college fundraiser at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Fla., with an alleged anti-Black and antisemitic history. In a later letter to the board of trustees, he accused Bergeron of “bullying behaviors.”

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