February 11, 2019
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
It is with great pleasure that I write to report that the Board of Trustees of Connecticut College has unanimously and enthusiastically approved the reappointment of President Katherine Bergeron to a second five-year term, effective July 1, 2019.
The Board is confident that President Bergeron has the vision, passion, and leadership skills to continue to move the College forward with vigor and purpose, and to advance our mission of educating students to put the liberal arts into action.
Under President Bergeron’s leadership, Connecticut College has made significant strides to ensure its long-term sustainability and success. This includes supporting the development of Connections, a bold new curriculum in the liberal arts for the 21st century; creating a new strategic plan and a new Campus Master Plan; and launching the most ambitious campaign in the College’s history.
President Bergeron has also demonstrated a deep commitment to building a more just and inclusive campus environment, one that enables all people to thrive, reach their full potential, and contribute to the flourishing of others. She has led with wisdom and with a collaborative spirit. At the same time, she has worked to strengthen partnerships with the City of New London and the State of Connecticut, drawing on our historic strengths in entrepreneurship and innovation.
During her first term in office, President Bergeron has worked closely with the community to achieve a number of notable accomplishments:
- Supporting the launch of Connections, the College’s signature approach to the liberal arts that fulfills our mission of putting the liberal arts into action;
- Leading the successful reaccreditation of Connecticut College by the New England Commission of Higher Education;
- Securing some of the largest gifts in the College’s history to strengthen financial aid, career education, and athletics as well as the arts—and leading the most successful fundraising year of all time;
- Opening the Otto and Fran Walter Commons for Global Study and Engagement to augment the College’s longstanding excellence in global education and to increase opportunities for global/local engagement for every student;
- Supporting a 10-year campus sustainability plan to build on the College’s legacy in environmental stewardship and strengthen our commitment to environmentally responsible, economically viable, and socially just policies and practices;
- Developing plans for revitalizing the College’s historic Palmer Auditorium into a center for creative research and performance; for reactivating the College Center at Crozier-Williams into a vibrant hub of student activity; and for moving our Office of Career and Professional Development to central campus;
- Completing Building on Strength, a strategy to enhance the College’s academic distinction, deepen the student experience, support a more just community, and achieve financial sustainability;
- Establishing the President’s Council on Equity and Inclusion to oversee the ongoing work of full participation. Among the first tasks undertaken were the creation of a new statement on freedom of expression and a new diversity action plan for the College;
- Strengthening senior leadership to enhance the College’s capacity to advise and mentor students across the divisions of the Dean of the College, the Dean of Students, and the Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion; and to fulfill our core value of educating the whole person;
- Supporting new approaches to financial aid to address an increasingly competitive admission market;
- Overseeing the completion of major capital projects, including the renovation of the Charles E. Shain Library and the conversion of Hamilton and Morrisson to all-first-year residences;
- Creating the Presidential Staff Recognition Awards to recognize and celebrate staff excellence;
- Inaugurating a dual-degree program in environmental engineering in partnership with Worcester Polytechnic Institute;
- Launching the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series to bring pre-eminent writers, speakers, and public intellectuals to campus;
- Producing Think.Do.Lead., a podcast to showcase the talents of our remarkable alumni, parents, and other members of the Conn community;
- Forming the President’s Leadership Council and the Council of Former and Emeritus Trustees to enlarge the College’s circle of devoted supporters;
- Securing foundation funding to advance our work in developing promising faculty of color; Adding value to the College’s endowment, with new funds for our endowed centers and new endowed scholarships for low- and middle-income students;
- Championing the creation of a second cohort of Posse Scholars from New York City to join our wonderful Posse Scholars from Chicago;
- Bringing Connecticut College into the American Talent Initiative, with its commitment to enroll and graduate 50,000 low-income students by 2025.
Again, President Bergeron has always been the first to admit that none of these many accomplishments would have been possible without the dedication, imagination, and sheer hard work of the Connecticut College community: our talented and committed students; brilliant faculty and staff; strong senior leaders; engaged trustees; and remarkable alumni, parents, and friends, whose love and loyalty for the College are an enduring source of inspiration. With these collective efforts, Connecticut College is on course to achieving greater and greater levels of national and international prominence.
In short, President Bergeron has proven herself a leader of enormous ability, energy, and optimism. She has guided the College on a shared path of educational excellence that will solidify our leadership in the landscape of American higher education.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to express our profound gratitude to President Bergeron for all that she has achieved, and will achieve, in the years to come.
DeFred G. Folts III ’82