Dream the Boldest Dreams is an endowed scholarship in honor of Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, the first black woman president of Spelman College—a college founded specifically to educate Black women. During her ten years as the first “Sister President” she transformed the institution through record breaking fundraising, innovative curricula, and representing Spelman at home and abroad.
The scholarship’s name is inspired by Dr. Cole’s teachings to the many students she has inspired through hands-on mentoring, classroom teaching, and constant embodiment of American excellence. Housed at Spelman College, Dream The Boldest Dreams, will assist young women who are first-generation college students. As this award is endowed, it will be granted in perpetuity.
This initiative was spearheaded by Spelman College alumnae, but the many donors and supporters represent the broad impact of Dr. Cole’s many passions, affiliations, and leadership positions. In addition to serving as president of Spelman, Dr. Cole also helmed Bennett College. She has served on numerous boards, including The Coca Cola company—where she was the first woman to hold this position. After leaving Spelman, she served as a Presidential Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Emory University. Oberlin College, Fisk University, and Northwestern University are proud to count her among their alumni. As the director of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, she started one of the first diversity and inclusion initiatives at a US art museum. A member of Delta Sigma Theta, she currently serves as President of the Council of Negro Women.
These triumphs are well documented, but those who know her personally will testify to the intangible gifts she shares so liberally with all in her orbit. Not only has she urged us to dream the boldest dreams, she models her own directive. And through her words, deeds, and sterling example, she has made it possible for others to do the same.
This scholarship is a way for all of us to make bold dreams a reality for the next generation. To quote the motto of Spelman College, it is a choice to change the world.
"THIS MISSIVE CANNOT CONVEY THE PROFOUND IMPACT YOU HAVE MADE ON MY LIFE OR THE BOUNDLESS RESPECT I HAVE FOR YOU. THANK YOU FOR LOVING ALUMNAE WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART AND FOR CREATING SPACES FOR US TO THRIVE AND DREAM OUR BOLDEST DREAMS."
Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, C'93
"YOUR LIGHT ALLOWED OTHERS TO SEE THEIR DESTINY."
Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, C'91
"MY SINCERE THANKS FOR YOUR OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP AS PRESIDENT OF SPELMAN, AS AN INSPIRATION TO ALL BECAUSE OF YOUR AMAZING CAREER AND COMMUNITY SERVICE AND MOST OF ALL, FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP."
Honorable Brenda Hill Cole, C'63
"OUR FOREVER PRESIDENT! THANK YOU FOR HELPING US ALL TO DREAM BOLD DREAMS. THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME TO IMAGINE MYSELF AN ANTHROPOLOGIST. THAT ONE VISION HAS WORKED TO SHAPE THE COURSE OF MY LIFE AND I AM GRATEFUL. MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALWAYS."
Marla Frederick, C'94 & The Association of Black Anthropologists
WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE MANY ATTRIBUTES THAT MAKE SPELMAN A GIFT, I REMEMBER HOW SPECIAL IT FELT TO BE SEEN, KNOWN, AND ACKNOWLEDGED BY A POWERFUL WOMAN LIKE OUR SISTER PRESIDENT. DR. COLE, THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE LOVE AND WISDOM YOU POURED INTO US. IT WILL ALWAYS BE AN HONOR TO BE A MEMBER OF YOUR FINAL GRADUATING CLASS.
Carrie L. Ellis C ’97
DR. COLE, BEING A PART OF YOUR FIRST COHORT OF PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS CHANGED MY LIFE! I'M SO GRATEFUL FOR THE EXPERIENCE AND FOR YOU--THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE GIVEN TO SO MANY SPELMAN WOMEN.
Dr. Candice M. Jenkins, PhD, C’1996
DR. COLE, YOUR LIFE AND LEGACY HAVE INSPIRED ME SINCE MY DAYS AT SPELMAN COLLEGE. I CHERISH ALL OF THE MEMORIES INCLUDING THE TIME YOU VISITED NASA MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER WHEN I WAS A WISE SCHOLAR. YOU EMBODY ALL THINGS EXCELLENT AND INSPIRE ALL OF US TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP, ENCOURAGEMENT AND LOVING EXAMPLE OF GRACE. YOU SET THE BAR HIGH AND FOR THAT I'M GRATEFUL.
Kisha Kai Bird Douo
THE MOST AMAZING SISTER PRESIDENT EVER. YOU ARE SUCH AN INSPIRATION.
THANKS FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND PRESENCE TO ENSURE SPELMAN COLLEGE REMAINS A LIFELONG LEGACY!!!!
Dr. Christy Mountain-Bonner
TO OUR FIRST SISTA' PRESIDENT AND THE GREATEST MENTOR EVER!
Kamela Heyward-Rotimi, Ph.D. c’90
Stephanie Jackson Evans, C'91
"DR. COLE, THANK YOU FOR LIVING AN INSPIRING LIFE. YOUR LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN IMPECCABLE! YOU WERE AN AMAZING ROLE MODEL FOR US!"
"THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSPIRATION WHILE A STUDENT AT SPELMAN, AND YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT NAVIGATING LIFE AFTER. YOU CONTINUE TO SET THE EXAMPLE ON HOW TO LIVE OUR BOLDEST DREAMS!"
Treasure McClain, C'97
THANK YOU FOR BEING SUCH AN INSPIRATION TO ME DURING AND AFTER MY FOUR YEARS AT SPELMAN. YOU HAVE PROFOUNDLY AND POSITIVELY IMPACTED ON MY LIFE! 💙💙💙
Dr. Rebecca Paschal-Young, PhD, C'94
"AS OUR FIRST SISTER PRESIDENT, YOU STOOD GRACEFULLY AS THE MIRROR THROUGH WHICH OUR GROWTH AND IMPACT IN THE WORLD WAS AMPLIFIED, BY SEEING OUR POSSIBILITIES IN YOU. THANK YOU."
Kendal K. Whitlock, C'90
"HOLD FAST TO DREAMS, FOR IF DREAMS DIE, LIFE IS A BROKEN-WINGED BIRD THAT CANNOT FLY." LANGSTON HUGHES
THANK YOU DR. COLE FOR INSPIRING US TO DREAM BIG AND BOLDLY!
Karyn White, C'90
"SISTER PRESIDENT WE LOVE YOU ALWAYS. ONWARD!"
Tonya Austin-Braxton, C'90
"YOUR IMPACT ON MY LIFE WAS INVALUABLE. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR GIFT WITH SPELMAN AND MY SPELMAN SISTERS."
Sharon Faulk Jean-Pierre
"THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING YOUR STUDENTS TO HAVE A BOLD VISION FOR THEIR LIVES. I REMAIN INSPIRED AND CONTINUE TO DREAM THE BOLDEST DREAMS. MAY YOUR LEGACY CONTINUE TO INSPIRE GENERATIONS THAT WALK THROUGH THE GATES OF OUR BELOVED SPELMAN COLLEGE."
Sisterly, Tasha Báloney Penny, C'96
"I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOUR TENURE AT SPELMAN. THANK YOU FOR YOUR BOLD LEADERSHIP AND FOR INSPIRING US TO DEVELOP TO OUR FULLEST POTENTIAL! SPELMAN IS AN EVEN MORE OUTSTANDING INSTITUTION BECAUSE YOU TOUCHED IT. WISHING YOU MANY BLESSINGS!"
Tracey McFadden Hembrick C’90
DR. COLE, THANK YOU FOR BEING AN INSPIRATIONAL, COMPASSIONATE AND ENGAGING LEADER. IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO ATTEND SPELMAN COLLEGE DURING YOUR TENURE AS PRESIDENT. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR SETTING THE BAR HIGH AND INSPIRING ALL OF US TO SET AND ACHIEVE OUR BOLDEST DREAMS.
With Spelman Love, Cordelia Tullous C'98
"I THANK YOU FOR THE COURAGE TO COMPLETE MY JOURNEY AT SPELMAN COLLEGE. YOU TOOK TIME TO NOTICE ME FRESHMAN YEAR IN MANLEY HALL ON ONE OF MY WORST DAYS AND GAVE ME A PEP TALK. I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL!!!
Cathon Bush Threat, C'91
"YOU CONTINUE TO INSPIRE WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD WITH YOUR GREATNESS. I AM PROUD TO BE A PART OF YOUR JOURNEY AND SUPPORT YOUR LEGACY."
Nana Annan, C'98
“I AM VERY EXCITED TO BE A PART OF THIS SCHOLARSHIP AND HONORING OUR SPECIAL CLASSMATE DR. COLE."
Leah Johnson, C'91
“THIS INITIATIVE IS BEAUTIFUL AND WILL BE LIFE-CHANGING FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS. I'M THRILLED TO BE ALONGSIDE THIS GROUP OF CHARTER CLASSMATES IN SUPPORT OF AN ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP HONORING DR. COLE, OUR LIVING TREASURE!"
DeAndrea Beasley Berry, C'91
“TEARS ROLLING AS I READ THIS. COUNT ME IN!"
Kim Weaver, C'91
“DR. COLE YOU INSPIRED ME AS A STUDENT AND YOU CONTINUE TO INSPIRE ME NOW."
Cynthia Bowman, C'91
“THIS IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL! SO GLAD YOU SISTERS GOT TOGETHER AND MOVED THIS FORWARD!"
Dionne Ferguson, C'91
“COUNT ME IN!! THIS IS A FANTASTIC WAY TO HONOR THE EVERLASTING BOND BETWEEN THE CLASS OF 1991 AND DR. COLE. SHE WILL ALWAYS BE "OUR" SISTER PRESIDENT!"
Dorian Brown Crosby, Ph.D., C'91