The Oberlin Impact

Johnnetta Cole ’57 greets Alison Williams, director of the Multicultural Resource Center and associate dean of academic diversity, after Cole’s February 2013 campus visit to discuss the connections between art, identities, and museums. Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy at Princeton University, joined her in the Convocation conversation.

During the span of her career, Cole has served as the first woman African American president of Spelman College and as president of Bennett College for Women, taught undergraduate anthropology, served on both corporate and nonprofit boards, and has earned 55 honorary degrees and numerous awards. Cole credits her genre-spanning career primarily to her liberal arts education at Oberlin.

She is director of the National Museum of African Art, one of the 19 museums under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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Photograph by Dale Preston ’83