The Guru Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole

As I watched the 2015 BET Honors recognize luminaries in the African American community I so proud to see HBCU alumni and leaders receive awards for their hard work and immense talents. I am currently apart of the AUC Center ( Atlanta University Center) as a graduate student at Clark Atlanta University.  It is only befitting that I salute this extraordinary woman. This post is dedicated the Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole.

"The ultimate expression of generosity is not in giving of what you have, but in going of who you are." Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole

Who is Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole? Currently serving as the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and prominent member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. A highly accomplished and influential anthropologists.  Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole became the first African American female  President of Spelman College. She served the illustrious school from 1987-1997. She became the President of Bennett College in 2002-2007 the nation's second oldest Historically Black College for African American women. During her time as Spelman's President she successfully  completed a capital campaign with a total of $113.8 million. This became the largest sum raised by an HBCU ( Historically Black College University).  Under her leadership Spelman became the number one liberal arts college in the South. During her tenure as President of Bennett College in North Carolina she also oversaw another successful capital campaign that came to a total of $50 million.

She has served as the first woman elected to the Board of Coca-Cola Enterprises, served as the Chair of the Board of the United Way and was appointed to President Clinton's Transition Team for Education, Labor, Arts, & Humanities in 1992.

Johnnetta Cole was born in Jacksonville, Florida on October 19, 1936. It is evident that she was on the cusp of greatness. She grew up in the segregated south she came from an exceptional family. Her maternal great-grandfather Abraham Lincoln Lewis, was the first African American millionaire in Florida by 1901. Johnnetta's parents were both college educated and products of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Johnetta was an excellent student she enrolled at Fisk University at the age 0f 15. Although she transferred to Oberlin University she graduated with a B.A. in anthropology. She earned her Masters and Ph.D.. in anthropology from Northwestern University.

Dr. Cole's career as a scholar began when she was a professor at Washington State University, University of Massachusetts @ Amherst, Hunter College, and City University. She has written three books. She was awarded The BET Honors Award for Education in 2015.


Toni's Thoughts: I salute you Dr. Cole. If I had the pleasure to meet this woman I would be speechless. Education is the pathway to success. Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole is an example of that. We should all aspire to follow her path.


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