GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Board of Trustees of Bennett College has named education innovator Suzanne Walsh as president of the College as it charts a new path forward in producing phenomenal women scholars and global leaders. Walsh’s experience includes leadership roles with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.
“Bennett College sought a new president to embrace and champion innovative ideas that ensure our long-term viability. We were committed to having an exceptional leader in place when our students returned for the 2019-2020 academic year,” said Dr. Gladys A. Robinson, chair of the Bennett College Board of Trustees. “Suzanne Walsh has the experience, passion, fundraising expertise and personal qualities that will ensure she is embraced by our students, faculty, staff, alumnae and community.”
Walsh will officially start on Aug. 1, 2019. Dr. Gwendolyn O’Neal will serve as interim president of the College until then, at which time she will become the school’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Bennett College has a compelling mission to produce accomplished young women who are ready to lead,” said Walsh. “In an ever-changing world that I believe is thirsting for their leadership, that mission feels more relevant than ever, and what excites me is the opportunity to help translate it for a new era. I look forward to working closely with our board, faculty, students, alumnae and supporters to find new and powerful ways of delivering on Bennett’s promise, which is the promise of a great education and an enduring commitment to the world around us.”
Walsh earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Cornell University, as well as a master’s degree in social work and law degree from Case Western Reserve University. She is a member of the Ohio Bar, and has received national recognition for her portfolio of work with organizations at the intersection of innovation, technology and learning.
Walsh will also work closely with the Board and the Bennett Reengineering Committee (BRC), which was appointed earlier in 2019 to identify ways to transform the College and keep it relevant in a rapidly changing educational environment.
“We have a unique opportunity to take Bennett College to a new level under the leadership of Suzanne Walsh. We are grateful for the work that’s been done so far and look forward to all collectively working together to make this happen,” said Robert J. Brown, chairman of B&C Associates and a passionate Bennett advocate whose wife Sallye Brown is a Bennett graduate.
Education leaders who have worked with Walsh over the past 20 years express strong praise for her work. Daniel Greenstein, Chancellor of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and former director of the Postsecondary Success Strategy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, credited her ability to create and work with cross-functional teams as a key driver in affecting flexible, personalized and affordable approaches to higher education.
“I have had the opportunity to work with Suzanne Walsh on a number of initiatives related to the viability and sustainability of HBCUs in the current education environment,” said Dr. James A. Anderson, former Chancellor of Fayetteville State University. “I am deeply impressed with her ability to analyze complex situations, develop innovative action plans to address challenges and motivate teams to work closely together.”