Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., has elected its first African American and first female president in its almost 500-year history, according to a press release.

Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D., will become the 22nd president of the college starting July 1. Sweeney, who is currently dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., was hailed by the college for being an "accomplished teacher, scholar, neuroscientist and administrator." Berger-Sweeney’s scientific career has focused on Alzheimer’s research.

"I know everyone is looking for a leader to take the institution to the next level, but I think it's really important for the people here to understand that I recognize how fantastic Trinity is now and we’re just trying to build it, make it stronger, better and greater. But it already is a fantastic institution," Berger-Sweeney said in a video introducing herself.

She received a master's in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.