Neuroscientist From Tufts Named Trinity College President

Mar 27, 2014

Hartford's Trinity College has announced its next president. Joanne Berger-Sweeney is a neuroscientist who will be the college's first woman and first African American to lead the school. 

She is currently is the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She was introduced by trustee Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh, who said Berger-Sweeney is excited about being in Hartford.

"She understood that Trinity is both in and of Hartford," she said.

Then it was Berger-Sweeney's turn to speak.

"I could look at the campus and see just how beautiful it is. I could feel welcomed by the buildings or maybe quite impressed by them," Berger-Sweeney said. "But we all know that it's really the people that make an institution and the number of people that have come out to welcome me today is really heartwarming."

One major task before her is improving the college's relationship with the city -- one that was strained a couple years back after a still-unsolved attack on a student. Some in the community felt that the city's residents were wrongly taking the blame for the incident.

Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden is a Trinity graduate and is also on its board of trustees. He says Berger-Sweeney is sensitive to those issues. He's also pleased with her selection.

"Participating in selecting the college's first woman in its close to 200 year history -- that's pretty amazing. And the first person of color to lead this institution. So, on a deeply personal level, this is a moment of great pride," he said.  "We have a long and rich history as a college. But we are moving rapidly into the future."

Berger-Sweeney begins her new job on July 1. She succeeds President James Jones, who has been in that role for 10 years.