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 presents Ammerman Center ‘Intersections’ arts and technology symposium Feb. 15-17
Connecticut College’s Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology presents the 16th biennial arts and technology symposium, “Intersections,” Feb. 15-17. The symposium brings artists and researchers together to share ideas and present new works, research and performances, all addressing one or more forms of fusion between technology and the arts.
This year’s theme, “Intersections,” represents the moment at which different ideas, interests, and beliefs from varied backgrounds in arts and technology all come together. It also uses technical and creative means to highlight social justice issues College students and faculty have been discussing in classrooms and other campus venues.
“This is an important moment of ‘Intersections’ for our country and for our global society,” said Andrea Wollensak, professor of art and the Judith Ammerman ’60 Director of the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology. “Through the symposium’s commissioned arts, keynote speakers and community events, we will explore the infrastructures and imaginaries pushing and pulling our techno-culture into an ever more precarious relationship with the social and ecological fabric on which our intersectional beings are founded.”
Performances, openings, exhibitions, receptions, concerts and community events are all free and open to the public, including those on the Connecticut College campus and those at the Hygienic Art Gallery in downtown New London. (Paid registration is required for full daily attendance at the paper sessions.)
Featured events include new works commissioned by the Ammerman Center, paper presentations, interactive installations at the Hygienic Art Gallery, Cummings Arts Center exhibitions, and multimedia performances.
Thursday, Feb. 15
4:15 p.m., Artist’s Talk by Dayton Visiting Artist Natalie Bookchin, Oliva Hall, Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College. View Natalie Bookchin's, "Networks Effects" exhibition in Cummings Arts Center Galleries through March 2.
5:30 p.m., Symposium and Exhibition Opening Reception, Cummings Arts Center Galleries, Connecticut College
7:15 p.m., “Nuclear Winter” Interactive sculpture installation with live performance by commissioned artists: Megan Young, Gregory King and Angela Davis Fegan, Cummings Arts Center Galleries, Connecticut College.
8 p.m., Evans Hall, Connecticut College. Multimedia Performances include works for live instruments with electronic sounds and/or digital media, fixed media, voice, live laptop improvisations, customized or hand-made electronics, interactive performances, movement, dance, film and screenings. Friday, Feb. 16
9:30 a.m., Evans Hall, Connecticut College. Keynote Address by Krzysztof Wodiczko, an internationally renowned artist known for large-scale projections on monuments and institutional city facades that explore the relationships between communities, history and public space. ?
5 p.m., Evans Hall, Connecticut College. Multimedia Performances Featuring performance by commissioned artists: Aurie Hsu and Steven Kemper, Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? featuring a live performance for sensor-equipped belly dancer, robotic percussion and live sound processing that explores questions of fluidity between organism and machine. Also featuring, “Imperfect Transmissions” for laptop ensemble, composed by Prof. Butch Rovan, Brown University, to be performed by Rovan, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron and Ammerman Center students.
8 p.m., Tansill Theater, Connecticut College. Experimental Sound Show, including experimental sound and media works spanning electroacoustic improvisation, performances with custom built instruments and interfaces,and audiovisual composition. The artists in this show query the boundaries of media, identity, techno-culture, and performance.
The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College 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.