With an auspicious career as a psychologist, scholar, educator, race relations expert and leader in higher education, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., realized a professional goal when, on April 19, 2002, she was appointed the ninth president of Spelman College. Spelman College is widely recognized as one of the leading liberal arts colleges and one of the most selective women's colleges in the United States.
Appointed by President Barack Obama, Dr. Tatum is a member of the Advisory Board for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and is also a member of the boards of the Institute for International Education, Council of Independent Colleges, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Teach for America.
A productive scholar, Dr. Tatum has authored three books, with primary emphasis on racial identity and development. Mount Holyoke College President Joanne V. Creighton praised Tatum in the College Street Journal, saying, "As a scholar and writer, she has helped shape the national discussion on issues of race."
Dr. Tatum's best known article is, "Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: An Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom," published in the Harvard Educational Review in 1992.
The recipient of numerous honorary degrees, in 2005 Dr. Tatum was awarded the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education for her innovative leadership in the field. Her best-selling books include "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). She is also the author of "Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community" (1987).
On December 3, 1997, following the publication of her second book, Tatum was one of the three authors and one of 67 people invited to participate in the "Summit on Race Relations and America's Public Education System," the first program in President Bill Clinton's initiative to improve race relations in the United States. The conversation took place on a stage in a University of Akron auditorium. In an effort to spark a national conversation about race, President Clinton challenged participants to speak about subjects ranging from affirmative action to the role rac plays in their daily lives. C-Span-broadcast the meeting live.
Dr. Tatum appeared on an "Oprah Winfrey" program in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, which examined racism in schools. Teens candidly discussed their biases, stereotypes and perceptions about racism as America has become more diverse. On the program, Tatum suggested providing children with books, movies and other media that reflect diverse populations. She offered several suggestions that were featured Oprah Winfrey's website.
Dr. Tatum earned a B.A. degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. She also holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary and has served as a faculty member at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Westfield State College, and Mount Holyoke College, where she also served as dean and acting president.
Born in Tallahassee, Florida, Dr, Tatum was raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. She is married to Dr. Travis Tatum, a retired college professor. They are the parents of two adult sons.