Hartford, Connecticut, January 27, 2017 – Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College president and professor of neuroscience, and Mark E. Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (CSCU), have been selected to co-chair a working group of public and independent institutions of higher education to develop a plan to support innovation and entrepreneurship in Connecticut. The working group of presidents from more than 30 colleges and universities elected Berger-Sweeney and Ojakian as co-chairs at the group’s first meeting in New Haven on December 14, 2016.
The working group was convened in response to section 27 of Public Act 16-3 and is charged with producing a master plan to foster opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship at institutions of higher education across the state. The master plan is to be submitted by May 1, 2017, to the board of directors of CTNext, a statewide organization that works to support entrepreneurship.
CTNext will support the working group throughout the process and will, ultimately, review and submit an approved master plan to the Higher Education Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee. Once approved, grants-in-aid totaling $10 million over five years have been earmarked to support initiatives consistent with the master plan.
“As co-chair, I look forward to working closely with colleagues from across Connecticut,” said Berger-Sweeney. “Our strategic planning to support entrepreneurship and innovation is critical to the economic vitality and future of the state.”
“I’m excited to work with all our presidents, both public and private, to find ways to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship at our institutions,” said CSCU President Ojakian. “Our mission is help our students turn their creative ideas into businesses that will grow and thrive in Connecticut.”
Berger-Sweeney became the 22nd president of Trinity College in July 2014. She served previously at Tufts University as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to Tufts, she was at Wellesley College, where she served for 19 years as a faculty member and associate dean. Berger-Sweeney received her undergraduate degree in psychobiology from Wellesley College, an M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She also holds two patents for elements of her research of Alzheimer’s disease and of RETT syndrome, a neurological disorder that primarily impacts young girls.