Suzanne Elise Walsh

President of Bennett College, USA

Suzanne Elise Walsh became the nineteenth president of Bennett College on August 1, 2019. She was most recently deputy director of postsecondary success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading and developing a team and a portfolio of over $70 million in postsecondary investments in institutional transformation in the United States. She previously served in leadership roles with the Lumina Foundation for Education and The Heinz Endowments.

Ms. Walsh has received national recognition for her portfolio of work with organizations at the intersection of innovation, technology, and learning. Education leaders with whom she has consulted praise her ability to create and work with cross-functional teams as a key driver in affecting flexible, personalized, and affordable approaches to higher education, and other leaders have expressed their appreciation for her work on several viability and sustainability initiatives at HBCUs, analyzing complex situations, developing innovative action plans to address challenges and motivating teams.

Ms. Walsh has been a frequent speaker and workshop leader at conferences such as the SXSW EDU, Black Futures Summit, ASU+GSV (Arizona State University (ASU) and Global Silicon Valley (GSV), Council for Independent Colleges, Salesforce Education Conference, and Global Learning Council, of which she is an active member. Other nonprofit board service includes Trellis Foundation, Achieving the Dream, Women’s College Coalition, the Harwood Institute, Global Learning Council, and Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Walsh is a member of the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council, appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has published or edited several books and journal articles on the topic of educational transformation, and is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and fellowships.

Ms. Walsh has honorary doctorates from Case Western Reserve University and Johnson C. Smith University. She was elected to the prestigious Society of Benchers of Case Western University School of Law. She earned a juris doctorate and master’s in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and an associate degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College.

Performances of the speaker