President Diana Chapman Walsh to Step Down in June 2007

For immediate release:
April 28, 2006
Mary Ann Hill

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Diana Chapman Walsh announced today that she will end her tenure as the president of Wellesley College in June, 2007. Walsh informed the College’s board of trustees of her decision to leave Wellesley at the board's 136th annual meeting this morning.

“There is never an easy time to walk away from work you love, but I know this is the right time -- for Wellesley and for me,” Walsh said in making her announcement. “The College is robust and focused, with a wonderfully promising future. For my part, the rewarding experience of serving Wellesley with all my heart has reshaped me in ways I now need time apart to absorb, and then to transform into another new beginning.”

A detailed biography of Diana Chapman Walsh.

Walsh, 61, is Wellesley’s twelfth president, a position she assumed on October 1, 1993. She is the fourth alumna to head Wellesley, the nation's leading college for women. Under her leadership, the College has undertaken a number of new initiatives, including a revision of the curriculum, expanded programs in global education, expanded experiential and service learning opportunities and new interdisciplinary programs, including environmental sciences, neuroscience, and computer sciences. During Walsh’s presidency, several new facilities have been constructed, including the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, the Knapp Media and Technology Center, the Knapp Social Science Center and the Newhouse Center for the Humanities.

Other important innovations during this period include the establishment of the Religious and Spiritual Life Program, the creation of the annual Ruhlman and Tanner Conferences on student research and learning and other initiatives designed to strengthen the quality of campus intellectual life.

During Walsh’s tenure, the value of the Wellesley College endowment has grown from $485 million to more than $1.3 billion. Walsh recently led a five-year comprehensive fundraising campaign, which closed in October 2005 after raising $472.3 million, a record for a liberal arts college. Through the campaign, Wellesley boosted its financial aid endowment by $90 million, strengthened academic offerings, expanded internships and experiential learning and restored the campus landscape, including the 11-acre Alumnae Valley.

“Diana Chapman Walsh is an extraordinary leader who has strengthened Wellesley in countless ways,” commented Victoria Herget of Chicago, chair of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees. “Those of us fortunate to have worked closely with her understand how privileged the College has been to have her at the helm. She brings intellect, insight and sensitivity to every situation and creates learning opportunities in each context. The College is deeply indebted to Diana for her selfless and devoted service.”

Walsh is a 1966 graduate of Wellesley, where she majored in English. At Boston University, she earned an M.S. degree in journalism (1971) and a Ph.D. in health policy from the University Professors Program (1983). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the boards of Amherst College and the State Street Corporation.

Before assuming the Wellesley presidency, Walsh was Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she chaired the Department of Health and Social Behavior. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, she was at Boston University, as a University Professor, and Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Public Health.

As a Kellogg National Fellow from 1987 to 1990, Walsh traveled throughout the United States and abroad studying workplace democracy and principles of leadership and writing poetry. She has written, edited and co-edited numerous articles and fourteen books, including a study of the practice of medicine within corporations, titled Corporate Physicians: Between Medicine and Management, Yale University Press, 1987. She is co-editor of Society and Health, Oxford University Press, 1995, an analysis of social and cultural determinants of health and illness.

Walsh’s recent speeches and writings have focused on leadership. Her essay, “Trustworthy Leadership: Can We Be the Leaders We Need Our Students to Become?”, was published earlier this year by Jossey-Bass.

Diana Chapman Walsh was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the Springside School in Chestnut Hill. Her husband, Christopher T. Walsh, is the Hamilton Kuhn Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry at the Harvard Medical School. Their daughter, Allison Walsh Kurian, is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School and is a practicing physician in California.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in women’s education. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and more than 65 countries.