Johnnetta B. Cole, the longtime president of historically Black Spelman and Bennett colleges, has been named the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. She will assume the role on March 2.
In her role as the director, she will help expand the African art museum’s reach. Sharon Patton resigned as the museum’s director in January.
Cole currently heads the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. She served as the school’s president from 2002 to 2007. Cole was president of Spelman College in Atlanta for a decade until 1997 where she completed a $113 million capital campaign.
Cole recently advised Smithsonian planners for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.