Paula A. Johnson is the 14th president of Wellesley College.

Paula A. Johnson is a pioneer who brings decades of experience in the fields of academic medicine, public health, and higher education. Since joining Wellesley in 2016, she has placed the College at the forefront of STEM education for women and has led the creation of the school’s new strategic plan, which places inclusive excellence at the heart of the Wellesley experience.

During her tenure, the College renovated its aging Science Center, transforming it into a state-of-the-art Science Complex, and President Johnson significantly advanced Wellesley’s focus on global engagement, creating the Wagner Centers for Wellesley in the World and the Hillary Rodham Clinton Center for Citizenship, Leadership, and Democracy.

President Johnson has held several leadership roles in her career as a physician-scientist. She most recently served as the Grayce A. Young Family Professor of Medicine in Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School and a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Health. In addition, she founded the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

President Johnson is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), which recently appointed her to their Commission on Investment Imperatives for a Healthy Nation, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She has received several honorary degrees and numerous awards for her contributions to science, medicine, and public health. Recent honors include: the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Award of Merit (2021), the Harvard Medal in recognition of extraordinary service to the University (2023), and an honorary doctor of law degree from Princeton University (2024).

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, President Johnson attended Harvard University, where she earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. She also trained in internal medicine and cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the leading Harvard teaching hospitals. Dr. Johnson has served on several national and international boards, and she currently serves on the board of directors for Rockefeller University, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities.

Select speeches & panels

Select media & op-eds

  • Dr. Paula Johnson Is Breaking Down the Barriers to Better Health

    Wired Magazine, November 27, 2023

  • To diversify STEM fields, colleges should replace ‘weeding out’ with ‘welcoming in’

    STAT, Feb. 10, 2023

  • How to Build an Economy that Works for Women

    Boston Globe, March 29, 2022

  • What Madeleine Albright Taught Young Students, March 26, 2022

  • Speaking With the Enemy 101

    Boston Globe, September 6, 2019

  • Halting Sexual Harassment

    Scientific American, October 1, 2018

Office of the President

Green Hall
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
President’s Office