Wellesley Names Harvard’s Paula A. Johnson Its 14th President

February 11, 2016
Dr. Paula A. Johnson

It is our honor and great pleasure to announce that Paula Johnson, MD, MPH, a professor and faculty member at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has been named the 14th president of Wellesley College.  Dr. Johnson, an internationally renowned and innovative leader, currently serves as chief of the Division of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she founded and is executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology. She will be the first African American to serve as president of Wellesley College.

The Wellesley College Board of Trustees, advised by a search committee that included trustees, alumnae, students, faculty, and staff, unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Johnson. The extensive, eight-month search process that led to her selection began when President Bottomly announced that she would step down in the summer of 2016, after serving for nine years.

We hope you will join us for a community gathering this afternoon to meet Dr. Johnson. We will start in Alumnae Hall at 4:10pm for brief remarks, then move downstairs to the ballroom for conversation. (If you are not able to attend in person, please join us online.) To get a head start on introducing her to the Wellesley community, Shivani Kuckreja ’16 and Charlotte Harris ’16, both of whom served on the search committee, spoke with Dr. Johnson at her home last week.

The search committee was fortunate to have an exceptionally strong pool of candidates to consider, and was unanimous in recommending Dr. Johnson to the Board of Trustees. Her record as a scholar and leader, together with her passion for women’s health and education, the energy and insights she conveyed in our discussions, and her enthusiasm for Wellesley convinced us that she is truly the best person to lead the College at this time.

Dr. Johnson brings a strong appreciation of Wellesley’s academic culture and distinctive contributions to higher education. She will be a compelling champion for the liberal arts and for the enduring value of the educational and scholarly work of Wellesley faculty and staff. Having devoted her life to improving the lives of women, Dr. Johnson brings a rare understanding of the issues of equity, inclusion, and well-being that are so important to our community.

Dr. Johnson was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. She has also been recognized as a national leader in medicine by the National Library of Medicine, was a 2015 honoree of the International Women’s Forum, and is the recipient of innumerable awards recognizing her groundbreaking achievements on behalf of women.

Dr. Johnson attended Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and she received her MD and MPH degrees from Harvard. She trained in internal and cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her husband, their son and daughter, and a Havanese puppy.

We look forward to seeing you at Alumnae Hall later today.

—Laura Daignault Gates ’72 and Debora de Hoyos ’75 P’07