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February 20, 2023 / 2023 Power 50

2023 Power 50: 9. Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Joanne Berger-Sweeney

In 2014, Joanne Berger-Sweeney became both the first woman and person of color to be named president of Trinity College in the liberal arts school’s 200-year history.

Berger-Sweeney, who led Tufts University as the dean of its School of Arts and Sciences from 2010 to 2014, said it was her parents and mentors along the way that led her to have a career in education.

The 64-year-old Los Angeles native said her father, Paul, was one of the first Black attorneys in LA, and her mother, Arminta, was the first Black woman in a major metropolitan area to lead a Girl Scouts chapter as executive director.

Berger-Sweeney said her major accomplishments so far at Trinity College have included increasing by 50% financial aid for undergraduate students and overseeing the college’s most successful annual fund drive, raising more than $70 million in three years. The college is in the midst of a $500-million capital campaign.

“We are pushing very close to $300 million,” Berger-Sweeney recently told the Hartford Business Journal. 

She also helped get the Trinity-Infosys Applied Learning Initiative off the ground in 2019. The program incorporates elements of liberal arts and tech training.

Berger-Sweeney is a trained neurophysiologist who has contributed to more than 60 scientific publications. She is also a board member of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private institution that has helped shape contemporary education and biomedical research. The recipient of numerous awards, Berger-Sweeney is also a member of the Behavioral Neuroscience Review Panel of the National Science Foundation.

Find out who else is in the 2023 Power 50.

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