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.
“WHAT A FANTASTIC IDEA, TAYARI!"
Mary Schmidt Campbell, President - Spelman College
"DR. COLE, THANK YOU FOR LIVING AN INSPIRING LIFE. YOUR LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN IMPECCABLE! YOU WERE AN AMAZING ROLE MODEL FOR US!"
Stephanie Jackson Evans, C'91
“THANK YOU FOR BEING A BEACON OF INSPIRATION, DR. COLE!"
Kimberly Geddings Arrindell, C'91
"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
"YOU INSPIRED US ALL TO DREAM THE BOLDEST DREAMS AND TO BRING THEM TO FRUITION. THANK YOU SISTER PRESIDENT!
Sherri Williamson Napper, C'91
"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
“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
Carletta Jones, C'91
"JUST DONATED! SO PROUD OF YOUR HARD WORK AND THE CHARTER MEMBERS."
Jill Ashton Hughes, C'91
"DEAR DR. COLE, YOU ARE SUCH A BLESSING TO US. WE ARE HONORED TO BE A BLESSING TO YOU!"
Kecia Harris, C'91