May 2023 Board of Trustees Meeting Summary

A report on the board meeting held May 4–6, 2023.

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke College community,

The spring meeting of the Board of Trustees took place on campus May 4–6, 2023. We were delighted that President-elect Danielle Holley and incoming trustees Nancie Fimbel ’68 and Markeisha Miner ’99 joined us to participate. After a full tenure review, and on the recommendation of the faculty and the Education Committee of the Board, the trustees voted unanimously to award tenure to President-elect Holley and to appoint her at the rank of full professor.

The Board spent significant time discussing the College’s mission and future, with President Tatum sharing what she has learned as interim president with regard to strategic directions. This includes attracting, retaining and supporting faculty and staff and strengthening our infrastructure with initiatives such as the geothermal project (more below) and Summit, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) project that will modernize the College’s software systems and processes. President-elect Holley will shape important aspects of the College’s future after she takes office July 1. She will release a complete strategic plan during her first year in office after additional feedback sessions with the College community and after final approval by the Board.

The College took a bold step toward sustainability at the spring meeting when the Board gave final approval to modernize the campus’s heating and cooling with a carbon-neutral geothermal system. The project is a geo-exchange system which, through heat pumps, uses the ground as a renewable heat source in winter and heat sink in summer. It is a critical component toward our goal of being carbon neutral by our bicentennial in 2037. The first phase of construction began this week, on May 30. The Board will monitor project progress and costs throughout all phases of construction.

The trustees approved a balanced budget for 2023–2024, with total expenses of $162,986,000. This includes a 4.5% pay increase for all eligible employees effective July 1. The budget also includes additional funds to be held in reserve until the compensation study currently underway has been completed. After the completion of the compensation study this summer, it will take some time to make the individual determinations required for employees whose jobs are not being paid competitively as indicated by the study. We expect that part of the process to be completed in the fall.

As is our tradition, the Board held a farewell dinner thanking and celebrating the trustees who have fulfilled their terms. We deeply appreciate the exemplary services of Kathy Collins ’74 (vice chair of the Board), Ellen Flannery ’73, KC Maurer ’84 and Sarah Wells ’10. After dinner, we went to Blanchard Hall for M&Cs, where we thanked President Tatum for an extraordinary year of service by naming the Beverly Daniel Tatum Unity Center in her honor!

The trustees noted the April election of Lale Topcuoglu ’99 as Alum Trustee for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2024. They also voted to elect Carly Basile ’16 as Term Trustee from the Ten Most Recent Graduating Classes for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2023.

Other formal actions of the Board

The spring meeting of the Board of Trustees also included:

  • The awarding of degrees, on May 21, 2023, to 420 seniors and 34 graduate students, and the awarding of certificates for three students.
  • The promotion of Mara Breen, Justin Crumbaugh and K.C. Haydon to full professor and Rick Feldman to senior lecturer.
  • The awarding of endowed chairs to Lisa Ballesteros, Calvin Chen, James Harold, Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Kate Singer and Lucas Wilson.
  • The reappointment of assistant professor Shakia Barron and senior lecturers Peter Jones and Mark Shea.
  • Confirmation of the retirement of professor Steven Dunn, effective June 30, 2023.
  • The awarding of emeritus status to Robin Blaetz, Steven Dunn and Karen Remmler.

We salute the faculty members who received promotions, reappointments, endowed chairs and emeritus status, and we extend heartfelt thanks to our retiring faculty for the profound impact they have had on generations of students.

A number of trustees returned to campus for the joyous occasion of Mount Holyoke’s 186th Commencement. We offer hearty congratulations to our graduates, our honorary degree recipients Lan Cao ’83, Nancy Welker ’63 and Imani Perry and all those who celebrated their reunions this month.
Thank you to everyone for another stellar academic year and for the work you have done to strengthen our community and envision a bold future.


Karena Strella ’90
Chair, Board of Trustees

Beverly Daniel Tatum
Interim President