Suzanne Walsh, MSSA 1994, JD 1997, was appointed president of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina—the 19th president for the historically black, women’s only private college.
An education innovator who will begin her new position on August 1, Walsh formerly held leadership roles with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments. She got her start in community college work as the Coordinator of Special Projects at Cuyahoga Community College.
“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 earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Cornell University. She received her Master of Science in Social Administration from the Mandel School in 1994 and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1997. Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte awarded her an honorary doctorate when she spoke at the school’s commencement in 2017.
In January, she was named to the board of the Trellis Foundation, a Texas charity that helps low- and middle-income students attend college. Walsh is also currently a member of the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations board and is on the advisory boards for Roadtrip Nation, Uncollege, and Sokanu.
Walsh 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. At Lumina, she worked on an initiative to make college more affordable. At the Gates Foundation, where she was deputy director of postsecondary success, she helped lead projects to help students do better in college and assist institutions in making changes to help their students graduate.
Education leaders who have worked with Walsh over the past 20 years express strong praise for her work and thoughtful leadership. 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.”
News source and photo credit: Bennett College.