Bennett College


  • 1873: The Warnersville Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as St. Matthew’s Methodist Church) basement served as an elementary and secondary school for 70 children.
  • 1874: The Freedmen's Aid Society took over the school.
  • 1878: A group of former slaves purchased the present site for the school. College level courses and buildings were added.
  • 1926: The Women’s Home Missionary Society joined with the Board of Education of the Warnersville Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as St. Matthew’s Methodist Church) to make Bennett College, formerly co-educational, a college for women.
  • January 1998: Bennett asks for $57,000 from the U.S. Department of Education for financial aid. The college mistakenly receives $5.7 million. President Gloria Scott illegally uses $1.6 million to pay the college's bills.
  • October 1998: Bennett repays $4.5 million of the money it was mistakenly sent by the Education Department.
  • April 1999: Bennett finishes repaying the Department of Education, but still owes $400,000 in interest and penalties.
  • December 1999: Bennett is reaccredited by Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for 10 more years.
  • May 4, 2000: Scott announces she will retire after the 2000-01 school year. She has been president of Bennett since 1987.
  • December 2000: Bennett receives a public warning from the Commission on Colleges because it missed a deadline for giving its 1997-98 financial audits to the commission. Scott blames a computer software failure for scrambling some of the college's financial information.
  • April 7, 2001: Trustees name Althia Collins as 13th president. The former vice president for academic affairs at United States International University in San Diego takes office July 1.
  • June 30, 2001: Bennett ends the fiscal year with a $390,000 deficit, its third in four years.
  • Oct. 16, 2001: Students rally in support of Collins, who faces mounting criticism from trustees and alumni.
  • Nov. 13, 2001: Collins says Bennett needs to close a $2 million deficit by the end of the fiscal year.
  • December 2001: Bennett is placed on probation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools because it had not completed an audit showing it is keeping proper track of financial aid.
  • Jan. 19, 2002: Collins resigns as president after less than seven months on the job.
  • Feb. 1, 2002: Charles Fuget takes over as interim president. Fuget had spent much of his career at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but he also has worked for the United Methodist Church, with which Bennett is affiliated.
  • April 27, 2002: Trustees name Johnnetta Cole as Bennett's 14th president. Cole is former president of Spelman College in Atlanta
  • June 2002: Bennett ends its fiscal year with a $3.8 million deficit; Fuget announces plan to save $1 million by reorganizing several departments and eliminating about 25 positions.
  • July 15, 2002: Cole takes office.
  • December 2002: The Commission on Colleges keeps Bennett on probation because of its $3.8 million deficit.
  • May 10, 2003: Alumnae give Bennett $1 million, their largest gift ever.
  • June 26, 2003: Bennett announces plans for a $50 million capital campaign to raise money for student scholarships, faculty salaries and building repairs. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole is named campaign chairman.
  • June 30, 2003: Bennett ends its fiscal year with a $300,000 surplus, its first in three years
  • August 2003: 429 students enrolled for fall classes at Bennett, a 33 percent decline in five years.
  • Oct. 10, 2003: Bennett raises $2.75 million during Cole's inauguration weekend.
  • Oct. 11, 2003: A week after a Commission of Colleges team spends four days on campus, Cole tells Bennett supporters at her inauguration that she is "very positive (and) hopeful" that Bennett will be removed from probation.
  • Dec. 9, 2003: Bennett is removed from probation
  • Feb 2004: Cole is awarded the Joseph Prize for Human Rights by the Anti-Defamation League
  • May 2004: Unanimously elected chairwoman of the United Way of America's board of trustee
  • April 26 2005: Bennett announces faculty and staff cuts.
  • Apr 2005: Citing a group of disgruntled faculty hindering her work, Cole offered her resignation. Trustees and students refused to accept it and, after a swell of support from the campus and community, Cole withdrew her resignation two days later.
  • July 2006: Cole announces her June 2007 retirement.
  • 2007: Julianne Malveaux becomes Bennett’s 15th president. (announced in March, begins work June 1).
  • Feb 2012: Malveaux announces she is leaving after five years as president of Bennett College.
  • Jun 2012: Bennett College leaders announced June 11, that they have appointed Esther Terry, a 1961 graduate of the college, as its interim president. Dr. Terry is the first alumna to ever lead the college.
  • May 2013: Bennett College announced that interim President Esther Terry is the new president retroactive from 2012. She is the 16th president to lead the college.
  • July 1, 2013: Rosalind Fuse-Hall becomes the school’s 17th president. (Announced May 6, 2013).
  • Sept. 27, 2014: Rosalind Fuse-Hall is sworn in as the school's 17th president.
  • Aug. 11, 2016: Bennett College Board of Trustees and Rosalind Fuse-Hallhave mutually decided that Fuse-Hall will step down as president of the college to pursue other opportunities. The board of trustees has appointed Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, who currently serves as the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, as the interim president.


Compiled by Diane Lamb, News Researcher Source: News & Record Archive

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