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A Black Woman Will Lead Mount Holyoke College For The First Time In Its 186-Year History

By Melissa Noel ·

Danielle Ren Holley, a celebrated legal educator and social justice scholar, has been named Mount Holyoke College’s 20th president, the Massachusetts based women’s college announced Monday. She will become the first Black woman to serve as the college’s permanent president in its 186-year history.

Before being selected for this role, President-elect Holley served as dean and a professor of law at Howard University School of Law since 2014. Among her many accomplishments, she is widely credited with revitalizing the university’s historically significant law school and elevating its stature as the leading educational institution of social and racial justice lawyers.

Earlier in her career, she was a distinguished professor of educational law and associate dean of academic affairs at the University of South Carolina. She also served on the faculty of Hofstra University School of Law and practiced law at Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas. Holley holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

“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,” Board of Trustees Chair Karena V. Strella said in a statement shared with ESSENCE.

“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. My personal and professional endeavors reflect my commitment to creating educational opportunities for talented and deserving students, including those who may encounter doors that are closed or unwelcome,” Holley said.

“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,’ Holley added.

Mount Holyoke joins Harvard University and Columbia University, who recently announced the appointment of their first female leaders of color and a growing list of other universities that women will lead in the fall.

President-elect Holley will begin her tenure at Mount Holyoke College on July 1.


The post A Black Woman Will Lead Mount Holyoke College For The First Time In Its 186-Year History appeared first on Essence.

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