Johnnetta Betsch Cole

  • Born: Oct. 19, 1936, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree from Oberlin College, master's degree and doctorate in anthropology from Northwestern University
Career highlights:
  • Professor at Washington State University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Hunter College, City University of New York and Emory University
  • Author of several textbooks
  • Sat on the transition team, with a focus on education, for President-elect Clinton ; chairwoman, United Way of America; sat on the boards of Home Depot, Merck & Co. , NationsBank South, Coca-Cola and the Jimmy Carter Center
  • President of Spelman College in Atlanta for 10 years.
  • Taught at Emory University.
  • President of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro.
  • First woman elected to the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises
  • First African American chairman of the board of the United Way of America
  • President of the Association of Art Museum Directors
  • Member of the scholarlyadvisory council of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Cole's administration

    • Raised about $30 million of a $50 million fund-raising campaign - with a goal to raise the remaining $20 million before June 2007.
    • The endowment grew from $7 million to $10 million. * Alumnae giving increased from 14 percent in 2002 to 30 percent 2006.
    • Alumnae have given more than $1 million for four consecutive years.
    • Renovation of three campus buildings, improvements to campus grounds.
    • Formation of the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute.
    Family: Divorced, with three adult sons

  • Apr. 27 2002: Bennett’s board of trustees voted unanimously to hire Cole.
  • Jul 15, 2002: Cole takes office.
  • May 10, 2003: Alumnae give Bennett $1 million, their largest gift ever.
  • Jun 26, 2003: Bennett announces plans for a $50 million capital campaign. Former Senator Bob Dole is named campaign chairman.
  • Jun 30, 2003: Bennett ends its fiscal year with a $300,000 surplus, its first in three years.
  • Oct 2003: Bennett raises $2.75 million during Cole’s inauguration weekend.
  • Dec 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 trustees
  • 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.
  • Feb 2009: Announcement made that Cole will be named director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art on March 2, 2009.
Source:News & Record archive

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