Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Tatum believe that her college has better days ahead as she enters her final year there.
After 13 years running the nation’s premiere HBCU for women, Beverly will be stepping down as the president of the school next June. Under her administration, Spelman has been able to combat assumptions that it’s in danger of shutting down due to lower enrollment and financial strain by raising alumni giving to 41 percent.
“I think the future of Spelman is bright,” she asserted during an interview with Time magazine.
Addressing the topic of university finances, Beverly argued that HBCUs aren’t the only institutions that need to be examining better ways to make higher education accessible to people with lower incomes.
“We know that everyone needs an education, but a lot of today’s students can’t afford it,” Beverly said. She then pointed out that many students looking to go to college are facing a few different challenges when it comes to tuition.
“I think that conversation has really gotten more significant for everyone,” Beverly stated, “not just at HBCUs, in part because the vast majority of today’s high school students are coming out of low to moderate income families and are often first generation college students. It’s not just a HBCU question.”
Outside of the financial concerns, Beverly mused that the next person to lead Spelman really needs to consider how it will updates its facilities and educational style to accommodate the dynamic technological landscape.
“I think the next President will certainly need to be thinking a lot about the impact of technology in terms of this rapidly changing world we live in,” she said. “There are lots of conversations in higher education right now that any new president should be thinking about.”
Still that would be a challenge for the next president to rise to. Beverly is looking to the coming school year as a glorious, well-deserved victory lap. “It has been tremendous honor to serve as the President of Spelman College,” said Beverly, who started her career at Spelman as a professor. “It’s been a high point of my career and I’m looking forward to this coming year.”
Before her days at Spelman, Beverly was a writer. She’s aiming to revisit that passion upon her retirement, and she’s already got a topic that she’d like to tackle first!
“I want to return to writing. So my first project will be to work on my next book. One of the books I want to revisit is Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? which was written in 1996,” “I want to reflect on the last 20 years and figure out what I will say differently, but I don’t know the answer to that question yet.”
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