Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum was announced Monday as one of four recipients of the 2013 Academic Leadership Award, from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The honor makes Tatum the first ever HBCU president and first president in the state of Georgia to earn the prize. Carnegie said each winner is an exceptional president of a U.S. college or university, and that the award is in the form of a $500,000 grant to be used in support of each honoree’s academic initiatives.
The other 2013 honorees are Richard H. Brodhead, President, Duke University; Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University; and John L. Hennessy, President, Stanford University.
The award honors university presidents who are not only resourceful administrators and managers, but also have a keen interest in the liberal arts and a commitment to excellence and access, curricular innovation, reform of K-12 education, international engagement, and the promotion of strong links between their institutions and their local communities, Carnegie said.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition. I am grateful to work with colleagues who believe in the transformative power of education, and who understand the opportunities we provide are not for our students alone, but for the communities they will influence when they leave our gates. I am thrilled to receive this award and use it in the service of our mission,” said Tatum.
Read the full release from the Carnegie Corporation below.
The Academic Leadership Award, established in 2005, builds on Carnegie Corporation’s long tradition of developing and recognizing leadership in higher education. The award honors university presidents who are not only resourceful administrators and managers, but also have a keen interest in the liberal arts and a commitment to excellence and equity, curricular innovation, reform of K-12 education, international engagement, and the promotion of strong links between their institutions and their local communities.
“At a time when we all recognize that education is crucial to the future of our society, economy, and democracy, the quality of the leadership of higher education institutions is of paramount importance,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “I’m very proud that Carnegie Corporation, since 2005, has singled out 16 exemplary college and university presidents in the United States.”
Since being named President of Spelman College in 2002, Dr. Tatum has proven that, with vision and commitment, access and excellence in higher education do not have to be mutually exclusive.
The college is known for admitting—and graduating a large percentage of low-income, first generation students. During her tenure, the percent of students qualifying for federal Pell Grants has risen from some 30 percent to over 50 percent, about 87 percent of all students receive some form of financial aid, and scholarship support has tripled. Further, The Carnegie Corporation noted that President Tatum has:
*Championed women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math); almost a third of Spelman students earn degrees in those fields, defying what President Tatum calls “the low expectations for women and minorities in science.” The National Science Foundation reports that between 1997 and 2006, Spelman prepared more African American women to earn Ph.D.s in STEM than Georgia Tech, Duke, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill combined.
*Cultivated community service; each year, Spelman students contribute a total of more than 40,000 hours of service to their community through programs such as Project Impact. Students volunteer within a designated 1.7 mile area surrounding the campus with activities that focus on education, economic development, health, and environmental sustainability in partnership with some 40 community organizations, including 15 schools and education programs.
*Dropped intercollegiate sports in favor of a focus on student health. Concerned over the fact that an alarming proportion of young black women are prone to having serious health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes, she invested the money saved by eliminating team sports in favor of fitness and intramural programs that emphasize activities that career women are likely to maintain for a lifetime, such as tennis, golf, and yoga. Read Hall, the college’s gymnasium built in the 1950s, is being renovated to serve as a state-of-the-art fitness facility.
The Corporation solicits nominations from previous winners, as well as from the leaders of national organizations representing higher education. The nominations are carefully reviewed, with particular scrutiny given to a candidate’s long-term record of accomplishment and innovation.
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