SOUTH HADLEY — Sonya Stephens, the acting president of Mount Holyoke College, has been named the college’s 19th president, effective July 1. The Mount Holyoke College board of trustees announced its decision to appoint Stephens on April 23 after an extensive presidential selection process that began in January. A formal inauguration will be held in September. The decision was unanimous.
Stephens was made acting president in July 2016. During her tenure, she has overseen the implementation of the Plan for Mount Holyoke 2021 and been focused on ensuring the college’s long-term financial stability. Other key efforts include the creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative, which led to the annual BOOM! (Building on Our Momentum) learning conference and to the hiring of the college’s first chief diversity officer.
Stephens led the development of the college’s comprehensive self-study for re-accreditation by the New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges, and launched the Community Center construction and the opening of the Dining Commons. She is also overseeing the college’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by its bicentennial in 2037.
“I am truly honored by the board’s decision, by the confidence that they and the broader community have placed in me, and by this opportunity to lead Mount Holyoke College,” Stephens said. “The shared commitment to the success of our students; the intellectual vibrancy of this community; the freedom to think, speak, and engage in ways that are always candid, challenging, and fulfilling; and the traditions and connections across generations all make this an exceptional place to live and to learn. Our mission and purpose are more relevant than ever. I could not be more excited about the next chapter in Mount Holyoke’s long history of excellence.”