National Institute on Aging

Bennett College in North Carolina Names a Building in Honor of Johnnetta Cole

Johnnetta B. Cole, the former president of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, was recognized by having a dormitory named in her honor on the college’s campus. The Johnnetta Betch Cole Honors Hall will be reserved for students with at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Johnnetta Cole was president of Bennett College from 2002 to 2007. Earlier, she was president of Spelman College in Atlanta. Dr. Cole is also a professor emerita at Emory University in Atlanta. When she left Emory, Dr. Cole had been serving as the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Women’s Studies and African American Studies.

In 2009, Dr. Cole was named director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. She retired from this post in March 2017.

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 more than 60 honorary degrees. She will give the commencement address at the University of Washington in June.


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