Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
I am pleased to inform you that the Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Dr. Leslie (Les) E. Wong as the interim president of Connecticut College, effective July 1, 2023. He will serve until the College’s 12th president is selected and assumes office.
Les has deep experience in higher education leadership and a strong understanding of Connecticut College through his Board of Trustees service and committee-related work. As a member of the Board of Trustees since 2019, Les is well known to many in the Conn community. He has served on the Executive Committee, chaired the Faculty-Trustee Liaison Committee and served as vice chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs. He was among the list of potential interim presidents that the Faculty Steering and Conference Committee (FSCC) identified for the Appointment Committee. He will resign his role as a recently re-elected trustee and serve on the Board in an ex officio capacity, as is customary, until the 12th president is appointed.
Les, who received his Ph.D. in educational psychology from Washington State University, previously served as president of San Francisco State University and Northern Michigan University for a combined total of 15 years. Before these roles, he served as vice president of Academic Affairs of Valley City State University and as interim president, provost and academic vice president of the University of Southern Colorado. He is married to Phyllis Michael Wong, who is the author of the award-winning non-fiction book We Kept Our Towns Going.
Les’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has been evident throughout his career. Identifying as a person of Mexican and Chinese ancestry, he has previously served on the NCAA’s Task Force on Equity and Inclusion. He led a national effort to admit Mexican universities into Division II of the NCAA and since 1985 has worked closely with the State Department to promote U.S.-China relations as well as the well-being of Chinese Americans. He also led California’s statewide effort to expand Project Rebound, a social justice initiative that helps formerly incarcerated students to earn college degrees.
Due to his extensive presidential leadership experience and knowledge of Connecticut College, Les is uniquely positioned to assume this important role. He will get started quickly in the work of leading the College as we prepare to welcome Conn’s first-year class in the fall.
With Les ready to begin the interim appointment on July 1st, the Board is turning its full attention to the search for our 12th president. As you know, a 15-member search committee of trustees, faculty, staff and students – which was self-selected by each constituency – has been charged by the Board with recommending a candidate for this role. We look forward to hearing from the Conn community about your aspirations for our college and for our next president. This is an exciting time for all of us as we come together in identifying our next leader to help chart the path for Conn.
Please join me in welcoming Les as he begins his new role as interim president of Connecticut College.
Debo P. Adegbile ‘91
Chair, Board of Trustees