Home Posts tagged Mount Holyoke College
Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Danielle Ren Holley, noted legal educator and social-justice scholar, will become the 20th president of Mount Holyoke College on July 1. The board of trustees unanimously elected Holley following a thorough and inclusive search process.

Holley is the first Black woman in the 186-year history of Mount Holyoke College to serve as permanent president, and the fourth Black woman in history to lead one of the original Seven Sisters colleges.

Since 2014, Holley has served as dean and professor of law at the Howard University School of Law. She is widely viewed as having renewed Howard’s historically important law school and raised its stature and visibility as a leading educator of social- and racial-justice lawyers.

“In addition to her exceptional leadership and ability to cultivate shared purpose, President-elect Holley brings a strong vision for what Mount Holyoke is and, more importantly, what our college can become. She has a strong track record of strategic growth and innovation, which will serve us well,” said Karena Strella, who chairs the board of trustees. “President-elect Holley is widely recognized for her broad intellectual interests and curiosity, as well as for her rigorous advancement of racial and social justice in the legal field and beyond. We look forward to welcoming her to the Mount Holyoke community, particularly as we continue our work together to create and maintain a culture of belonging and a society that advances the dignity of all.”

Prior to joining the Howard School of Law in 2014, Holley served as distinguished professor for Education Law and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of South Carolina. Earlier in her career, she served on the faculty of Hofstra University School of Law and practiced law as an associate at Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, and she was a law clerk to Judge Carl Stewart on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Holley currently serves as co-chair of the board of directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She also sits on the boards of the Law School Admissions Council and the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science. She is a Liberty Fellow through the Aspen Global Leadership Network and was also a fellow with the American Council of Education at Brown University in 2021-22, and currently serves on the board of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta.

“It is an understatement to say I am excited to join the vibrant and dynamic Mount Holyoke community; in truth, I am ecstatic and exhilarated,” Holley said. “My personal and professional endeavors reflect my commitment to create educational opportunities for talented and deserving students, including those who may encounter doors that are closed or unwelcome. Mount Holyoke shares this vision — here, I have found students who want to break down barriers and create lasting, equitable change for all, and faculty, staff, and alums dedicated to helping these students strive for a brighter and bolder tomorrow. My own liberal-arts education helped me find my path forward, and what Mount Holyoke gives to its students will stay with them long after they graduate.”

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, joined Mount Holyoke College interim President Beverly Daniel Tatum for the announcement of a $250,000 earmark for the college’s Professional and Graduate Education department.

The allocation was made possible through congressional directed spending from the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Neal included funding for this project in the FY 2022 spending bill that was signed into law earlier this year.

“As a former trustee at Mount Holyoke College, I have seen first-hand the innovative and collaborative work that happens on campus,” Neal said. “Not only will this program assist teachers and school support staff here in Western and Central Massachusetts, but it will also be available to those nationwide. Mount Holyoke is once again leading the way.”

The funding will support the Teaching for Our Moment program, which is aimed at addressing the growing crisis of teacher burnout in U.S. public schools. The program kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 29 with a free, day-long conference followed by a six-month professional learning and mentorship program. The programming aims to support teacher wellness and student social-emotional learning while addressing challenges in education that are leading too many teachers to leave the profession.

“The unending pressure on teachers needs to be addressed if we want to retain passionate, talented professionals in the field of education,” Tatum said. “The Teaching for Our Moment program is designed to ensure the highest levels of success for students and higher levels of job satisfaction for teachers. We appreciate Congressman Neal’s support of education in Massachusetts.”

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College President Sonya Stephens announced that she will step down in August to become president of the American University of Paris.

Stephens joined Mount Holyoke in 2013 and served as vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of faculty before being appointed acting president in 2016 to replace Lynn Pasquerella. In 2018, the board of trustees voted to remove the ‘acting’ title.

In a letter to the Mount Holyoke community, Stephens said her new role in Paris is a “unique opportunity to advance a contemporary expression of the liberal arts in France — one that brings together so many of my intellectual and administrative interests and commitments.”

She added that “it has been an extraordinary honor and a privilege to serve you and Mount Holyoke since 2013 and to work in concert with brilliant and exacting students, with a faculty that is as devoted to outstanding scholarship as it is to cultivating inquiry in others and with a leadership team and staff so exceedingly devoted to our mission. It has been inspiring and motivating to work with such an engaged, thoughtful, generous, and dedicated board of trustees, and to come to know, admire, and deeply appreciate the wider alum community. While I have held different roles over these nine years, I see our work together as a continuum — one focused resolutely on the future strength of the college, on enhancing the exceptional educational experience it offers, and on the community that makes this possible, here on campus, across the nation, and worldwide.”

In the past six months, Stephens is the third president in the Five Colleges community to announce she will be stepping down, following Amherst College President Biddy Martin in September and Smith College President Kathleen McCartney last week.

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College announced it has received the largest gift in support of financial aid in its history. Alumna Liz Cochary Gross and Philip Gross have committed $10 million to be directed to scholarships and financial aid.

“With this gift, my husband Phill and I hope to inspire others to invest,” said Liz Gross, a 1979 graduate and a member of the Mount Holyoke board of trustees. “We need to ensure students with diverse backgrounds and from a wide variety of economic circumstances have the opportunity to join the Mount Holyoke community and thrive as student scholars and change agents.”

Nancy Nordhoff, a 1954 graduate, also committed $1 million to support future Mount Holyoke students across the economic spectrum.

“When I heard about the $10 million gift, I found myself wanting to jump right in to support the financial aid and scholarships,” Nordhoff said. “I’m proud to be part of giving, and I encourage others to join us.”

These two gifts are the seed for Mount Holyoke’s new Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge. This challenge offers donors the opportunity to double — or triple — their impact with their endowment gifts.

“The Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge is an investment in the future — the future of Mount Holyoke College and the futures of the talented students who will benefit from the education and the financial support that these endowed scholarships make possible,” President Sonya Stephens said. “I am deeply grateful to Liz and Phill Gross for their generosity, and for inspiring others to join them in their commitment to the college, its students, and the affordability of an outstanding liberal-arts education.”

For first-time donors to endowed financial aid, the Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge will match two dollars for every one dollar contributed for gifts between $50,000 and $250,000. For repeat endowed financial-aid donors, the challenge will match new gift commitments between $50,000 and $250,000 dollar for dollar.

The college is seeking to raise at least $20 million in new gifts and commitments over the next 18 months. As of Jan. 14, Mount Holyoke has already secured more than $5 million in gifts and commitments toward this effort, above and beyond the $11 million in challenge gifts.