Dr. Johnnetta Cole
In 1987, Dr. Johnnetta Cole became Spelman College’s first black female President. However, the appointment was also noteworthy for several other reasons. At Cole’s inauguration, Bill Cosby and his wife donated $20 million, which was the single largest contribution from an individual to an historically black college (HBC). Under Cole’s leadership, the SAT scores of Spelman’s freshman classes ranked consistently higher than any other HBC. Also, in 1992, the college was ranked number one on U.S. News and World Report magazine’s annual survey of best college buys. The magazine also ranked Spelman the top regional liberal arts college in the South. In 1996, Money magazine listed Spelman as the number one HBCU, the number one women’s college, and the seventh best college in America. While Cole was President, Spelman’s capital campaign also raised over $113 million, which is a record amount for HBCs. She is also the first woman to be elected to the Board of Coca Cola Enterprises, and the first black woman to serve as Chair of the Board of United Way of America.