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Educator Pushes Boundaries for Women

Posted February 15, 2007
Updated February 19, 2007

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— Bennett College President Johnetta Cole has raised the profile of the historically black women's college in Greensboro while shattering the glass ceiling for educators.

Cole, 70, arrived at Bennett five years ago after retiring as president of Spelman College in Atlanta.

"I remember being at the door to the president's home at Spelman, and somebody knocked at the door," she said. "They said, 'Is he here?' and I said, 'Who?' They said, 'The president, of course.' I said, 'No, he's not here, but I am.'"

Bennett is on more solid financial footing under Cole's leadership, and she said she has tried to raise the expectations for everyone at the school by pointing not only to heroes but also to women she calls "she-roes."

"(Bennett is) a historically black college for women that simply delivers on the outrageous notion that women can do anything," she said.

Like gender, she said, race should place no limits on what a person can do.

"Surely we humans have the intelligence to figure out that (race is) irrelevant, but we haven't done that yet," she said.

Cole plans to retire again in June--shortly before getting married.
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