February 2022 Board of Trustees Meeting Summary

A report on the board meeting held February 24-26, 2022.

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke College community,

Our winter board meeting took place remotely February 24-26, 2022. This meeting focused on establishing a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities in higher education and for Mount Holyoke specifically. Sessions were devoted to curriculum development and to student financial services and financial aid. Our committee work — most most notably in the Before, During, and After Mount Holyoke committees, which focused on the different stages of engagement with the College — extended the work of the general sessions. Trustees identified connections and challenges across the College’s work, prioritizing opportunities for institutional improvement, particularly with regard to what today’s students want in their college experience. Current Mount Holyoke students presented the Student Conference Committee Survey to the board, and student success and mental health and wellbeing were discussed at length in committee.

The Finance Committee focused on the College budget, comprehensive student fees and endowment distribution in support of financial aid investments as a result of the Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge. Donors have responded to this campaign with over $39 million in gifts and commitments in support of endowed financial aid, including 73 entirely new endowed scholarships. We are all deeply grateful to the many donors who have supported this important campaign.

As announced earlier this month, President Stephens informed the board that she will step down from her position later this year. The Board affirmed that Sonya has been a strong president and a highly effective leader with many achievements during her tenure. Through her leadership she will leave the College in a position of great strength. She will be dearly missed. As the February meeting demonstrated, the future of the College is being carefully and thoughtfully charted. Sonya’s final months in office will be busy ones, completing important work and laying a strong foundation on which a new leader can build.

The Board of Trustees will appoint an acting president for the 2022-23 academic year — someone who will be committed to our mission and well-prepared to lead the College through this period of transition. We will make that announcement as soon as possible. The search for the twentieth president of Mount Holyoke College begins now. The board will form a search committee comprising trustees, faculty, students and staff, and we will retain an executive search firm to help us identify and attract top candidates from across the country and around the world. The Board of Trustees looks forward to engaging with all our constituents in conversations about the critical capabilities for our next president. We will write again to the community with more information regarding the search and selection of the new president very soon.

As is customary, we share here the formal business of the Board of Trustees. On behalf of the Board, we express special congratulations to the faculty members awarded tenure, those reappointed to their positions and those named emeriti. We send special thanks to our retiring faculty for their lifelong contributions to the institution we all hold dear. And we welcome our new Board members and thank them for agreeing to serve Mount Holyoke.

Actions of the Board

The winter meeting of the Board of Trustees included the following actions:

  • The setting of the 2022-2023 tuition rate at $58,280, the room rate at $8,620, and the board rate at $8,560 for a total fee of $75,678 (this includes a student activity fee of $218, set by the Student Government Association).
  • The awarding of degrees, on March 11, 2022, to 91 seniors.
  • The awarding of tenure to Professors Katie Berry, Patricia Brennan, Timothy Chumley, Kenneth Colodner, Cora Fernandez Anderson, Corey Flanders, Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel, M. Gretchen Lay, Adeline Mueller and Johannes Norling.
  • The reappointment of Professors Chassidy Bozeman, Meredith Coleman-Tobias, Barbie Diewald, Adam Hilton, Anna Maria Hong, Jennifer Matos, Abhilash Medhi, Marie Ozanne, Marta Sabariego, Noah Tuleja and Ayca Zayim as assistant professors. 
  • Confirmation of the three-year phased retirement of Professor Rachel Fink.
  • The awarding of Emeritus Status to Professor Girma Kebbede, who retires on June 30, 2022. 
  • The re-election of Karena Strella ‘90 as Chair of the Board of Trustees for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2022.
  • The election of Adam F. Falk to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2022.
  • The election of Sarita Gupta ‘96 to a five-year term as alumna trustee beginning July 1, 2023.
  • The election of Farah Khan ’98 to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2022.
  • The election of Lourdes Melgar ’85, P’24 to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2022.
  • The election of Raj Seshadri ’87 to a second consecutive five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2022.
  • The election of Shelley Weiner Sheinkopf ’68 to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2022.
  • Approval to allow the annual distribution from endowment to increase by (a) a distribution for all new gifts received related to the Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge and (b) up to 5% for all other funds in the pool, as long as the total distribution falls within the prescribed range (4.5%-5.5% of the twelve-quarter average endowment value). 
  • Approval of capital projects to begin in fiscal year 2022-23, which will be funded by deferred maintenance reserves in the amount of $7,100,000, existing debt in the amount of $3,714,000 and allocations from savings from previous projects of $200,000 for a total of $11,014,000. These include installing the sprinkler systems in Abbey and Buckland Residence Halls and beginning the College’s transition to an integrated software management system. 

With our thanks to all members of our community for continuing to work, learn and engage in today’s challenging circumstances. 


Karena Strella ‘90
Chair, Board of Trustees

Sonya Stephens