Mount Holyoke names former dean interim president

  • Contributed Photo/DAVID TATUM Contributed Photo/DAVID TATUM

Staff Writer
Published: 3/30/2022 8:17:42 PM
Modified: 3/30/2022 8:16:47 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College has named a higher education veteran who is well-versed with the institution to be the college’s interim president for the 2022-23 academic year.

Beverly Daniel Tatum actually served as acting president of Mount Holyoke in 2002, and was also dean of the college from 1998 to 2002, as well as a faculty member in the psychology and education department from 1989 to 2002.

Tatum will start as interim president in July of this year, taking over for Sonya Stephens, who announced this month she would be leaving in the summer to head the American University in Paris.

“Mount Holyoke College holds a special place in my heart as I spent 13 very happy and productive years there at a pivotal time in my career, both as a faculty member and an administrator,” Tatum said in a release from the school. “I am tremendously honored and delighted to be invited by the board of trustees to return as interim president during this time of leadership transition. I look forward to working together with the entire Mount Holyoke community in the coming year to ensure the college’s continued success.”

Tatum is also president emerita of Spelman College, where she served from 2002 to 2015, and has been a faculty member at the University of California Santa Barbara and Westfield State University.

Tatum is a clinical psychologist with expertise in education, race relations and their intersections. Her books include “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race” and “Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation.”

“During her term, Dr. Tatum will be an active presence on campus and in the wider community to advance Mount Holyoke’s mission, strategic initiatives, vital operational activities and core values and she will renew and further external relationships that are integral to the College,” said Karena Strella, chair of the Mount Holyoke College board of trustees, in the release. “We are grateful to Dr. Tatum for lending her extraordinary skills and expertise at this time and we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Beverly back to Mount Holyoke as interim president.”

Tatum is also a civic leader in Atlanta and has won both the Brock International Prize in Education and the and the American Psychological Association’s APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology.

Bera Dunau can be reached at
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