staffers setting up the Inauguration tent

Wellesley College Inaugurates Paula Johnson as Its 14th President in a Ceremony that Celebrates the Vibrancy of a Liberal Arts Community

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tomorrow at 2pm, Wellesley College will inaugurate its 14th president, Paula Johnson, in a ceremony both steeped in tradition and imbued with a vision for Wellesley’s future. Johnson (M.D., M.P.H.) is an internationally recognized researcher, educator, and leader in women’s health, and she comes to Wellesley with decades of experience improving the health and lives of women. She becomes the College’s first African-American president.

Among the speakers saluting President Johnson will be Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University; Kathleen McCartney, president of Smith College; and Vivian W. Pinn ’62, M.D., senior scientist emerita, National Institutes of Health.

The inaugural theme will explore how a liberal arts education—and more specifically the premier college for women—can create positive change through bold exploration of the intersections and connections among people and ideas, and across communities and cultures.

Prior to tomorrow afternoon’s ceremony, faculty and alumnae will lead panels on campus related to the inaugural theme. Today, “Intersections: A Faculty Symposium” (at 1:30pm) will feature two panels. In the first, “Creating New Futures,” faculty will share research, scholarship, and the arts in a celebration of the interdisciplinarity of the liberal arts. In the second, “Feminisms across Time and Space,” faculty will analyze feminism in its historical and contemporary dimensions and manifestations.

Tomorrow at 9am, “Connections: An Alumnae Panel,” will be moderated by Desiree Rogers ’81, CEO of Johnson Publishing and former White House social secretary under President Obama. Amidst a national discussion about the past, present, and future of feminism, Wellesley alumnae representing different generations (from the Class of 1950 to the Class of 2012) will explore, in terms both personal and political, what feminism is and what it means for them.

All panels will be held in the Diana Chapman Walsh ’66 Alumnae Hall.

The Boston Globe previewed the event in its "Names" column.

Full details on the inauguration can be found on the College’s official inaugural website. See the schedule here.

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Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies

Irene Mata, associate professor of women's and gender studies, is an expert on gender issues in society and popular culture, particularly for women of color and immigrants. Mata is also a specialist in the study of immigration and immigrants and how immigrants, especially women, are culturally represented and perceived; she is the author of Domestic Disturbances: Re-Imagining Narratives of Gender, Labor, and Immigration.

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