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Johnetta Cole, 2016 Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lecturer

Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lecture

The Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lecture Series hosted Johnetta Cole, President Emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College for Women as the 2016 guest speaker on October 4 at the Holiday Inn, World’s Fair Park.  The topic of Cole’s lecture, “The Case for Diversity and Inclusion” drew great questions from the audience of over 300 in attendance.  The audience was comprised of faculty, staff, students, community members and sisters from Cole’s sorority, Delta Sigma Theta.

Cole was the first African American woman president of Spelman College, the first women to ever be elected to the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises, the first  African American to serve as chair of the board of United Way of America, has served two U.S. Presidents in leadership roles and currently serves as the director of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art.  These are just a few of the great accomplishments in Cole’s career.  Learn more about Cole here.

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On Tuesday, October 4th, 2016, the Graduate School of Education and the College of Education, Health & Human Sciences will host the 2016 Billie Grace  Goodrich Distinguished Lecture.  The event will begin with a reception at 5:15 with lecture to follow at 6 P.M.  The event will be at the Holiday Inn, World’s Fair site.

Guest speaker for this year’s event will be Johnnetta Cole. One of the most powerful and well-regarded African American women in the US, Cole has a way with making history. She was the first African American woman president of Spelman College, the first woman ever elected to the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises, and the first African American to serve as chair of the board of United Way of America. In over 40 years in education, she has also served two US Presidents in leadership roles.

Cole currently serves as the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Since the mid-1980s, Cole has worked with a number of Smithsonian programs. She currently serves on the Scholarly Advisory Board for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. As a scholar, author, and activist for social and economic justice, Cole has spearheaded breakthrough thinking about diversity, leadership for social and economic justice, and women’s issues.

An inspiring force, Cole rallies everyone to embrace diversity as not only a moral and social value, but as a compelling case for business. She encourages audiences to move beyond the status quo to fully take advantage of the innovative and profitable ideas that stem from a more diverse workforce, membership, and student body. As she notes, “How much better our world would be if each of us respected difference until difference doesn’t make any more difference?”

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