Greetings to the Wellesley Community

July 1, 2016
Wellesley College Paula Johnson in her office on her first day.

Dear Wellesley Community,

It is with great pride and joy that today I begin my tenure as the 14th president of Wellesley College. I join you as we wrap up one academic year and look forward to the promise of the next. I join you with tremendous excitement about what the future holds for Wellesley.

Since being appointed by the Board of Trustees in February, I have been engaged in learning about this remarkable institution and community. What I have learned inspires me and makes me enthusiastic about all that lies ahead. I am also in awe of the physical beauty of Wellesley, from its unforgettable architecture to its open meadows and lovely Lake Waban.

As I begin my tenure, I want to thank Kim Bottomly for her leadership and for all the work she has done to strengthen and advance Wellesley. Along with the important contributions of our former presidents Diana Chapman Walsh and Nan Keohane, Kim Bottomly’s achievements have furthered Wellesley’s position as a leading institution of higher education. We are building on a strong foundation.

To Wellesley faculty and scholars—Your individual and collective research, teaching, and writing both advance your scholarly fields and prepare young people to contribute to the world in positive and meaningful ways. In a summer that I know will be filled with productive academic work, I hope that you will also find some time for relaxation. I look forward to working with you and learning from you. 

To the staff—You make it all come together in seamless ways that I admire and appreciate. I will rely on your efforts and support, as together, we chart the path forward.

And, to the students—You are our hope for the future and you are the agents of change that the world greatly needs. I am excited at the opportunity to get to know each of you and to learn about your hopes and dreams for your time at Wellesley and for the future. 

Over the coming months, as I listen and learn, I will have more to discuss with you about plans and priorities. For now, let me share a few of my thoughts:

First, I am dedicated to fostering an environment on campus that appreciates the richness that a diversity of ideas, experiences, and backgrounds brings.

Second, as someone who has devoted much of her life to the well-being of women, I will emphasize the importance of health and wellness—for our entire community.

Finally, as a firm believer in the value of the liberal arts, I am dedicated to advancing Wellesley’s multi-and inter-disciplinary approach to teaching and learning, one that deepens insight and broadens thinking. I will champion the scholarship—the opportunity—that lives at the intersection of ideas and the convergence of disciplines.

So let me share my excitement for the journey ahead, one that is full of potential, of endless possibilities, of great promise.

I wish you a happy and healthy Fourth of July.


Paula A. Johnson