Taft alumni have elected Dr. Nikki Mayhew Greene '93 to serve her alma mater as the newest member of Taft's Board of Trustees.
Nikki is Assistant Professor of Art History at Wellesley College and the Visual Arts Editor of Transition: The Magazine of Africa and the Diaspora, published by Harvard University (Indiana University Press). She received her B.A. with honors in art history from Wesleyan University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Delaware. Teaching art history at Wellesley College is Nikki's dream job! She finds teaching particularly rewarding in a predominantly women's environment. She views the professoriate as a vocation that entails amplifying students' voices, advocating for access and equity within higher education, and preparing our country's future leaders to think critically, write eloquently, and speak boldly, be it within museum galleries, on corporate boards, or on the floor of Congress.
Nikki has traveled throughout the United States and abroad, including to Chile, England, Ethiopia, Italy, and South Africa, to deliver lectures on the Arts of the African diaspora. She has held numerous fellowships, including the Barra Foundation Fellowship at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and the Richard D. Cohen Fellowship at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is currently completing her forthcoming book, Grime, Glass, and Glitter: The Body and the Sonic in Contemporary Black Art (Duke University Press).
A proud native of Newark, NJ, Nikki was awarded a scholarship to attend Taft through the Wight Foundation, an organization that supports bright students from the greater Newark region in attending independent schools. Nikki credits Taft as being a springboard to pursue her interests in language, art, culture, and leadership. She was an active volunteer in the Watertown and Waterbury regions before she spent a transformational uppermid year in Barcelona, Spain, through the School Year Abroad program. In Spain, Nikki studied art history for the first time—entirely in Spanish. She returned to Taft her senior year with a broader global perspective on her education and better prepared to take on leadership roles as a school monitor, corridor monitor in Mac House, head of the Black Student Union, and member of United Cultures at Taft.
Nikki now lives in Wellesley, MA, with her husband, Simeon, and two children, Mia (12) and Xavier (9), who fell in love with Taft at her 25th Reunion last year! Nikki writes about art, education, the life-work balance, and racial discrimination on her blog: nikkigphd.com.