Johnnetta Cole recently brought closure to a decade of service as the seventh president of Spelman College. In the fall of 1998 she joined the faculty at Emory University as Presidential Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Women's Studies and African American Studies.
Dr. Cole began her college studies at age 15, when she entered Fisk University in an early admission program. She completed her undergraduate degree at Oberlin College and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern University.
Through her teaching and research, Dr. Cole became a steadfast advocate for people of color and women throughout the world. Her passion and persistence for equality and self-enrichment through education and community service paved the way for her appointment as the first African American woman to serve as president of Spelman College since its founding in 1881. During Dr. Cole's presidency, Spelman was the first historically Black college to receive top rankings in various surveys.
Textbooks written and edited by Dr. Cole are used in classrooms throughout America's colleges and universities. Conversations: Straight Talk with America - Sister President, was published in 1993, and continues to be widely read. Dr. Cole's newest book Dream the Boldest Dreams: And Other Lessons of Life, was published in September 1997.
In 1992, Dr. Cole served as a member of President-Elect Bill Clinton's transition team as Cluster Coordinator for Education, Labor and the Arts and Humanities.
Dr. Cole is an active participant with numerous community and civic boards and organizations including The Carter Center of Emory University, the Atlanta Rotary Club and The United Way of Metro Atlanta. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, The Link Inc., and the National Council of Negro Women. She is a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation and Gallaudet University. Dr. Cole is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Anthropological Association. She has been a director on the Corporate boards of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Merck & Co., Inc., Home Depot and Management and Training Corporation.