SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Mount Holyoke College has selected a new president.

Danielle Ren Holley will become the twentieth president beginning on July 1, 2023. She is the first Black woman in the college’s 186 years to serve as permanent president, and the fourth Black woman to lead one of the original Seven Sisters Colleges.

President-elect Holley’s background includes being a legal educator and social justice scholar. She has served as dean and professor of law at the Howard University School of Law since 2014. She has been on the faculty at the University of South Carolina, Hofstra University School of law, practiced law in Houston, Texas, and has written dozens of articles and essays for law reviews.

She earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and served as a law clerk to Judge Carl E. Stewart on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

“President-elect Holley’s wide expertise and knowledge will undoubtedly be an asset to our College and our community. As law and society have become increasingly intertwined, President-elect Holley has enthusiastically risen to meet the critical need for interdisciplinary legal scholarship. She will provide a unique, necessary and advantageous lens through which to focus on the liberal arts,” said Mona Sutphen ’89, trustee and co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee.

“I am enormously honored to have had a part in the appointment of President-elect Holley on behalf of our student body,” said Yihan Zhang ’25, one of the two student representatives for the Presidential Search Committee. “In addition to her demonstrated professional commitment to understanding and practicing the law, she is personally motivated to pursue excellence on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff she represents. She will also be dedicated to strengthening inclusivity at our cherished College.” 

Her full curriculum vitae can be found on the Mount Holyoke College website.