Bennett College Inaugurates President After 15 Months in OfficeGREENSBORO, N.C.
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, credited with rescuing Bennett College from a possible closure, was inaugurated as president of the college last month.
Cole arrived at Bennett in July 2002. But she postponed her inauguration until the college could clear up Bennett’s standing with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The association has placed Bennett on probation for two-straight years over financial irregularities, problems that occurred before Cole’s tenure began. Probation is the association’s most serious sanction next to revoking a school’s accreditation.
Association officials took a four-day look around campus last month, a visit that left Cole feeling better about the future.
“I can tell you we’re feeling very positive, very hopeful, very prayerful,” she said.
The association will announce in December whether it will lift the probation.
More than 2,000 supporters attended Cole’s inauguration last month, which raised more than $2.7 million for the school. Several celebrities were in attendance including Bill Cosby, Maya Angelou and Coretta Scott King.
Speaker after speaker credited Cole with rescuing Bennett from near-certain closure, erasing a reported $3.8 million deficit and raising $14 million — all in 15 months.
Problems remain for Cole, however. Enrollment has dropped for several years, dipping below 430 in August. Cole wants to enroll 600 students next year.
— Associated Press
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