About Us: President's Office

Spelman College Graduates with President Beverly Daniel Tatum

Biographical Sketch: Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

A 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum has served as president of Spelman College since 2002. Her tenure as president has been marked by a period of great innovation and growth. Spelman College, long recognized as the leading educator of women of African descent, is now ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation and is one of the most selective women’s colleges in the United States. Overall, scholarship support for Spelman students has tripled since 2002, and opportunities for faculty research and development have expanded significantly. In 2008, the Gordon-Zeto Fund for International Initiatives was established with a gift of $17,000,000, creating more opportunities for faculty and student travel and increased funding for international students. Alumnae support of the annual fund has also tripled, reaching a record high of 41%. Campus improvements include 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% and establishing the campus commitment to environmental sustainability for the 21st century. In 2012 Dr. Tatum made the bold decision to withdraw from NCAA intercollegiate sports participation, a program serving less than 100 students, in favor of a campus-wide wellness initiative designed to impact the entire student community of 2100. Collectively, these improvements serve as the foundation for Strengthening the Core: The Strategic Plan for 2015, which focuses on global engagement, expanded opportunities for undergraduate research and internships, alumnae-student connections, leadership development and service learning linked to an increasingly interdisciplinary curriculum.


An accomplished administrator, Dr. Tatum is widely recognized as a race relations expert and leader in higher 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) as well as Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community (1987). A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, in 2005 Dr. Tatum was awarded the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education for her innovative leadership in the field.

In addition to her active involvement in the Atlanta community, Dr. Tatum is a member of national non-profit boards including the Institute for International Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Teach for America. She also serves on the Georgia Power corporate board of directors as well as the board of the Educational Testing Service. Appointed by President Obama, she is a member of the Advisory Board for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

She holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, and M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Michigan as well as an M.A. 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. President Tatum is married to Dr. Travis Tatum, professor emeritus of education; they are the parents of two adult sons.