Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney has been elected to The Henry Luce Foundation Board of Directors. The Luce Foundation is an independent foundation that seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. The Foundation focuses on grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.
“I speak for my esteemed colleagues, the Directors of the Board of the Henry Luce Foundation, when I note our great enthusiasm for Dr. Joanne Berger-Sweeney’s election and our sure confidence of the value she will bring to our work,” said The Henry Luce Foundation Chair of the Board, Margaret Boles Fitzgerald, in announcing the September 2020 appointment. “Her professional credentials are stunning; so, too, is her life history, which mirrors the diverse aspirations and goals of leadership, scholarship, and global engagement to which the Luce Foundation has aspired for over 85 years. Dr. Berger-Sweeney adds a gracious and strong voice to those of our directors, staff, and grantmaking partners around the world as we further our mission and strive for programmatic excellence.”
Berger-Sweeney began her academic career as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College 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. During her tenure as president of Trinity College, and in the four years preceding as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, Berger-Sweeney has dedicated her strategic, visionary leadership to promoting diversity and inclusiveness, campus-community relations, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
“Her tenure as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University and as president at Trinity position her—a neuroscientist—to think ably about the breadth and depth of Luce Foundation programs,” said Tom Pulling, Chair of the Luce Foundation’s Nominations and Governance Committee. “As a current sitting college president, she brings important “realtime” knowledge of the trends and challenges in higher education and beyond.”
“I am honored to join the Luce Foundation’s Board of Directors,” said Berger-Sweeney. “The foundation’s mission aligns with my own and that of the institution I lead, Trinity College. As a global community of learners, we provide an innovative learning environment built on a foundation of a traditional liberal arts education. I look forward to bringing that perspective to bear in service to Luce, an exceptional organization that has advanced our understanding and appreciation of the world.”
While President of Bennington College, Luce Foundation President Mariko Silver met and collaborated with Berger-Sweeney. “I had the great pleasure and honor of working with Joanne Berger-Sweeney while we were both college presidents,” said Silver. “Her experience and insights in higher education are second to none. I am thrilled to welcome her to the Board of Directors of the Henry Luce Foundation.” Their collaboration extends to a grant awarded to Trinity College last year by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a network of Women of Color leaders, on which Berger-Sweeney serve as principal investigator, with Silver and Johnnetta Cole, president emerita of Spelman and Bennett Colleges as co-investigators.
Berger-Sweeney serves on many boards including the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, which she chairs; the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private institution, that has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education; and AFS-USA, a leading intercultural education organization headquartered in New York City.
Berger-Sweeney received her undergraduate degree in psychobiology from Wellesley College and holds a 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 completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Health (INSERM) in Paris, France, and has authored more than 60 scientific publications. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been honored with a Lifetime Mentoring Award from the Society for Neuroscience.