Diana Chapman Walsh, "The Claims of Life: A Memoir" (MIT Press, 2023)

The MIT Press Podcast

21-04-2024 • 1 hora 15 min

The engaging memoir of a legendary president of Wellesley College known for authentic and open-hearted leadership, who drove innovation with power and love. The Claims of Life: A Memoir (The MIT Press, 2023) traces the emergence of a young woman who set out believing she wasn’t particularly smart but went on to meet multiple tests of leadership in the American academy—a place where everyone wants to be heard and no one wants a boss. In college, Diana Chapman met Chris Walsh, who became a towering figure in academic science. Their marriage of fifty-seven years brought them to the forefront of revolutions in higher education, gender expectations, health-care delivery, and biomedical research.  The Claims of Life offers readers an unusually intimate view of trustworthy leadership that begins and ends in self-knowledge. During a transformative fourteen-year Wellesley presidency, Walsh advanced women’s authority, compassionate governance, and self-reinvention. After Wellesley, Walsh’s interests took her to the boards of five national nonprofits galvanizing change. She kept counsel with Nobel laureates, feminist icons, and even the Dalai Lama, seeking solutions to the world’s climate crisis. With an ear tuned to social issues, The Claims of Life is an inspiring account of a life lived with humor, insight, and meaning that will surely leave a lasting impression on its readers. Diana Chapman Walsh is President Emerita of Wellesley College and an emerita member of the governing boards of MIT and Amherst College. She was a trustee of the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the Mind and Life Institute, and also chaired the Broad Institute's inaugural board and cofounded the Council on the Uncertain Human Future. Caleb Zakarin is editor at the New Books Network.