Williston Northampton School is proud to welcome Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum—a researcher and author on race relations and a leader in higher education—to campus this fall for the school’s 177th Convocation. Tatum, a former Williston trustee and a parent of members of the classes of 2000 and 2004, will address the school community during an event on the Quadrangle on the evening of September 15. Class dinners follow the event.
A 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, Tatum served as president of Spelman College from 2002 to 2015. Her tenure as president was marked by a period of great innovation and growth. Overall, scholarship support for Spelman students tripled during her tenure, and opportunities for faculty research and development expanded significantly. In 2008, the school established the Gordon-Zeto Fund for International Initiatives with a gift of $17 million, creating more opportunities for faculty and student travel and increased funding for international students.
Alumnae support of the annual fund also tripled, reaching a record high of 41 percent. Campus improvements included the award-winning renovation of four historic buildings and the 2008 completion of a new “green” residence hall, increasing on-campus housing capacity by more than 25 percent and establishing the campus commitment to environmental sustainability for the 21st century.
These improvements served as the foundation for Strengthening the Core: The Strategic Plan for 2015, which focused on global engagement, expanded opportunities for undergraduate research and internships, alumnae-student connections, leadership development and service learning linked to an increasingly interdisciplinary curriculum.
Tatum is widely recognized as an authority on race relations and race’s intersection with education. Her areas of research include racial identity development, and the role of race in the classroom. She is the author of Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation(2007) and “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Other Conversations about Race (1997), a widely taught and recently reissued text, as well as Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community (1987). In 2005 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 also a member of the American Philosophical Society.
She holds a BA in psychology from Wesleyan University, and an MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, as well as an MA in religious studies from Hartford Seminary. Over the course of her career, she has served as a faculty member at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Westfield State University; and Mount Holyoke College. Prior to her appointment at Spelman, she served as dean and acting president at Mount Holyoke College. Tatum is married to Dr. Travis Tatum, professor emeritus of education; they are the parents of two adult sons.