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.
Fifth annual Theater Capstone Festival April 26-May 3 showcases seniors' creative works
The Department of Theater presents its 5th Annual Theater Capstone Festival, a collective opportunity for seniors to finish their college careers with a major research or creative project. Admission is free, and each project is performed twice, allowing the public and the Connecticut College community an additional opportunity to view the works, to be performed from April 26 through May 3 in Tansill Theater.
“We invite our students, as they look toward their culminating work, to take risks, to deepen their work, to find their theatrical voices as actors, designers, directors, scholars, writers, or beyond,” said David Jaffe, professor of theater.
The performances, dates and times are as follows:
“firefly / a foreigner's tale” A Capstone in Playwriting by Misao McGregor Thursday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at 4 p.m.
“a firefly that flies too far and burns too bright” - these are the words to describe a generational line of women whose spirits are forced to be contained by their political surroundings. As Hotaru looks back on her life, confronting her time in the japanese internment camps, her granddaughter, Chiyako, looks forward to her future, unsure of how to proceed in a way that will both fulfill her own desires and live up to the sacrifices her family has made for her. In this new play, inherited experience ties these two generations together as they fight for the freedom to love while inhabiting a skin they can’t escape.
“The Nether” by Jennifer Haley A Capstone in Directing by Jason Karos A Capstone in Production/Media Design by Rebecca Brill Weitz
Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m.
We can begin where our bodies end; images - ideas - can create reality. In Jennifer Haley's “The Nether,” friction between the real world and the virtual world of "The Nether" culminates when Detective Morris investigates into a special realm called "The Hideaway." Slowly, Detective Morris and the residents of “The Hideaway” are forced to come to terms with all of what makes them who they are.
“In the Spotlight” A Capstone in Playwriting by Lindsey Ruzza A Capstone in Acting by Lizzy Moreno A Capstone in Acting by Dara Pohl Feldman
Saturday, April 28, at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at 7 p.m.
What happens when power is abused and the lines are blurred? “In the Spotlight” is an original play based on the mental, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the artistic director at the Profiles Theatre in Chicago in 2016. Follow Maya and Violet as they both navigate exploitation and realize the power of female friendship. In an age fraught with confusion and pain, this play attempts to answer questions like how do we hold perpetrators accountable, how do we move on, and how do we reclaim our power?
“in the ribs”
A Punk-Ass Capstone in Devised Theater Created and Performed by Catherine Healey, Gabrielle Schlein and Katie Soricelli Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
We are three new born punk ROCKERS//we are here to draw inspiration from the Riot Grrrl movement//we are here to increase the representation of women in rock music//women on stage//and everything in between//we are here to collaborate without hierarchy//we are here as an ensemble//exploring unconventional forms of storytelling//we are here to scream//to comment//to scream our comments// and we are not your grrrls.
For more information, contact Donna Holman in the Theater Department, firstname.lastname@example.org, (860) 439-2605.