Mount Holyoke College President Sonya Stephens to Step Down in August

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College President Sonya Stephens announced that she will step down in August to become president of the American University of Paris.

Stephens joined Mount Holyoke in 2013 and served as vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of faculty before being appointed acting president in 2016 to replace Lynn Pasquerella. In 2018, the board of trustees voted to remove the ‘acting’ title.

In a letter to the Mount Holyoke community, Stephens said her new role in Paris is a “unique opportunity to advance a contemporary expression of the liberal arts in France — one that brings together so many of my intellectual and administrative interests and commitments.”

She added that “it has been an extraordinary honor and a privilege to serve you and Mount Holyoke since 2013 and to work in concert with brilliant and exacting students, with a faculty that is as devoted to outstanding scholarship as it is to cultivating inquiry in others and with a leadership team and staff so exceedingly devoted to our mission. It has been inspiring and motivating to work with such an engaged, thoughtful, generous, and dedicated board of trustees, and to come to know, admire, and deeply appreciate the wider alum community. While I have held different roles over these nine years, I see our work together as a continuum — one focused resolutely on the future strength of the college, on enhancing the exceptional educational experience it offers, and on the community that makes this possible, here on campus, across the nation, and worldwide.”

In the past six months, Stephens is the third president in the Five Colleges community to announce she will be stepping down, following Amherst College President Biddy Martin in September and Smith College President Kathleen McCartney last week.