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  • Writer's picturePatricia Salkin

Howard Law Dean Danielle Ren Holley Named 20th President of Mount Holyoke College

Updated: Feb 18, 2023



Danielle Ren Holley was named this week as the 20th President of Mount Holyoke College effective July 1, 2023.


After earning her J.D. Harvard University Law School, Holley clerked for Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She also practiced civil litigation at Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining the Howard University Law School faculty, she was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina. She also previously served on the faculty at Hofstra University School of Law. She is a noted scholar of education law and civil rights, and an expert on diversity in the legal profession and higher education.


A superstar among law deans, Danielle Holley was mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer. According to her bio, Holley is on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and on the board of the Howard University Middle School for Math and Science. She is also Liberty Fellow through the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is also a fellow with the American Council of Education.


In announcing her appointment, Mount Holyoke Board of Trustees Chair Karena V. Strella stated, “In addition to her exceptional leadership and ability to cultivate shared purpose, President-elect Holley brings a strong vision for what Mount Holyoke is and, more importantly, what our College can become. She has a strong track record of strategic growth and innovation, which will serve us well.”


The President of Howard University has credited Holley with leading, "…the law school to unprecedented heights, including moving the Howard University Law School rankings into the top 100 in the U.S. News & World Report, establishing the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center and driving applications to all-time highs, to highlight just a few.” Further the press release reported, “Other achievements of President-elect Holley’s tenure at the Howard School of Law include the introduction of a six-year BA/JD program, the launch of experiential learning and career preparation initiatives with World Bank, Microsoft and Amazon Studios, among others, and a 200 percent increase in fundraising success, including a $10 million grant to support public interest law, the largest in the Howard School of Law’s history.”

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