Tatum ’75 steps down to focus on scholarship

[Beverly Daniel Tatum '75] By Aditi Kini '13

After 13 years as President of Spelman College, Beverly Daniel Tatum '75 is stepping down to "return to her scholarship on racial difficulties in education," the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

In the course of her presidency, Beverly oversaw the radical increase in alumni giving from 13% to 41% at the all-woman, historically black college in Atlanta. In this video interview, she talks about what makes Spelman unique, the recession's effect on economically disadvantaged communities, and investing in the next generation of college students:

ERIC KELDERMAN: The great recession that happened in this country just a few years ago has put enormous financial pressure on all institutions, but in particular on smaller niche colleges. You've weathered that fairly well. Some other historically black colleges and other small niche colleges—religious colleges—have had a great deal of difficulty maintaining the sustainability of their institution. What is it that you think historically back colleges, in particular, need to do to ensure their sustainability into the future?

BEVERLY DANIEL TATUM: The great recession really had a major financial impact on the African-American community, the Latino community as well. It's been reported that it was the greatest loss of wealth since the Great Depression in communities that were already economically disadvantaged. So when you think about the high unemployment rates, the foreclosure rates, all of the things that would make it difficult to fund a child's college education, really impacted the African-American community at a much greater magnitude than perhaps other communities.

That said, if you're an HBCU, that's the community you serve. What that means is you've got young people coming to college who don't know how they're going to pay for it. Whose parents don't know how they're going to pay for it. And because HBCUs have been historically underfunded, they don't have the large endowments able to fund financial aid for all the students who need it. This is the fundamental challenge for HBCUs. Talented students, not enough aid: how do you translate that interest of your students into the tuition dollars you need to run your college?

Watch the video…

Image: screenshot from video

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