Former College President Johnnetta Cole Taking on a New Assignment

Johnnetta B. Cole, president emerita of Spelman College in Atlanta and president emerita of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, is taking on a new assignment. She has been named a senior consulting fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She will work on initiatives relating to diversity, accessibility, equity, and inclusion in art museums and the academic disciplines related to the work of museums.

For the past eight years, Dr. Cole has served as director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. She is also a professor emerita at Emory University in Atlanta, where she served as the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Women’s Studies, and African American studies.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Cole enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville at the age of 15. She transferred and completed her bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College in Ohio. Dr. Cole earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology with a focus on African studies from Northwestern University.

Dr. Cole has received 68 honorary degrees.

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