Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Joanne Berger-Sweeney became the 22nd president of Trinity College on July 1, 2014. Berger-Sweeney, an accomplished and passionate teacher and scientist, succeeds James F. Jones, Jr., who served with distinction as president from 2004-2014.


Berger-Sweeney has served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University since 2010, creating the vision and setting the strategic direction for the university’s largest school. She managed a broad set of responsibilities, including oversight of undergraduate admissions, athletics, undergraduate and graduate students, the graduate school, communications, and academic and administrative deans.

While at Tufts, Berger-Sweeney made significant strides in enhancing the strength of the school’s faculty and in expanding interdisciplinary programs, including the creation of the Center for Race and Democracy at Tufts, which studies the impact of race on the lives of individuals around the world, and several undergraduate and graduate academic programs. In addition, Berger-Sweeney was deeply involved in the creation of the Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) program, which aims to provide support for first-generation college students.

Before Tufts, Berger-Sweeney was a member of the Wellesley College faculty, which she joined in 1991 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and rose through the ranks to become the Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience. Her teaching and research career at Wellesley spanned 13 years prior to being named associate dean in 2004. As associate dean, she oversaw 20 academic departments and programs in addition to her teaching and research and led initiatives relating to faculty diversity, interdisciplinary programs, and non-tenure-track faculty. She also served as director of Wellesley’s Neuroscience Program.

Berger-Sweeney received her undergraduate degree in psychobiology from Wellesley College, her M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Health (INSERM) in Paris, France. Berger-Sweeney has authored more than 60 scientific publications and held grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and numerous private foundations.

Berger-Sweeney is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award and a Lifetime Mentoring Award from the Society for Neuroscience (2006). She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and chairs the professional development committee of the Society for Neuroscience.

Berger-Sweeney and her husband, Urs V. Berger, Ph.D., also a neuroscientist, are the parents of two children: Clara, age 17, and Tommy, age 14.