Wellesley College Appoint First African American President

Dr. Paua A Johnson Makes History as First African American President of Wellesley College

Paula Johnson

According to the Boston Globe, Wellesley College named Dr. Paula A. Johnson as President, making her the first African American to ever head the school.

Johnson will replace H. Kim Bottomly, who announced in April that she would be stepping down after nine years of service, after a unanimous amount of recommendations from a committee of students, alumni, trustees, faculty and staff.

Wellesley sophomore Gabrielle Taylor told the Globe Thursday,“For someone who looks like me, a black woman, to become president of Wellesley College—it is so inspiring to me. She truly embodies black excellence.”

Johnson will also become the 14th president of the women’s liberal arts college. “Wellesley could not be more relevant today in terms of its role in providing an outstanding liberal arts education, which we know is so critical to developing the next generation and to the future of our world,” she said.

The Globe reports that Johnson feels a special  duty toward the school, promising to work to “strengthen and [deepen],” the college’s diversity, while also ensuring “that our residential experience is taking full advantage of that diversity, that our young women are really experiencing all the richness that that diversity brings on campus.”

Johnson urged the importance in preparing students to be well-equipped for the expanding leadership opportunities for women and for addressing the continuing disparities in women’s employment and health care options.

Johnson, a Harvard Medical School professor, is also physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is Founder and Executive Director of the Brigham and Women’s Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology.


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