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Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum appointed interim president

March 30, 2022

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke College community,

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum to serve as Mount Holyoke College’s interim president. Dr. Tatum is president emerita of Spelman College, where she served from 2002–2015. She is already known by many in our community as Mount Holyoke’s acting president in 2002, dean of the College from 1998–2002 and faculty in the Psychology and Education department from 1989–2002.

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

During her term, Beverly will be an active presence on campus and in the wider community to advance Mount Holyoke’s mission and core values. In partnership with the Board, faculty, students, staff and alums, she will work to sustain our current momentum and move key strategic projects and vital operational activities forward. She will renew and further external relationships that are integral to the College. 

Dr. Tatum is uniquely positioned to assume this important role. She is a clinical psychologist widely known for her expertise on race relations, racial identity development, the impact of race in the classroom, strategies for creating inclusive campus environments and higher education leadership. Her 13 years as the president of Spelman College were marked by innovation and growth and her visionary leadership was recognized in 2013 with the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award. Dr. Tatum is the author of several books including the best-selling “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race” (now in a new 2017 twentieth anniversary edition) and “Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation” (2007).

In 2005, Dr. Tatum was awarded the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education for her innovative leadership in the field. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, she was the 2014 recipient of the APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. She is a civic leader in the Atlanta community. Dr. Tatum is engaged in educational initiatives designed to expand educational opportunities for underserved students and their families, as well as to connect communities across lines of difference. She holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan as well as an M.A. in Religious Studies from the Hartford International University for Religion and Peace (formerly Hartford Seminary). Over the course of her career — in addition to her service at Mount Holyoke — she served as a faculty member at the University of California, Santa Barbara and at Westfield State University. She is married to Dr. Travis Tatum; they are the parents of two adult sons. 

We are grateful to Dr. Tatum for lending her extraordinary skills and expertise at this time to help position the twentieth president for success and the College for continued excellence. Fortunately, Beverly is able to begin her service in July — allowing for a smooth fiscal year start and ample transition time with President Stephens — and will serve until the search for President Stephens’s successor is completed and assumes office, which is expected to occur in the summer of 2023.

Those who wish to welcome Dr. Tatum may do so via email at welcomebdt@mtholyoke.edu.

With appreciation,

Karena V. Strella ’90
Chair, Board of Trustees