- At her inauguration as Spelman’s first black female president, Cole already was so influential that actor Bill Cosby gave the college $20 million.
- In one decade, Cole raised almost $114 million, growing Spelman’s endowment to more than $130 million. That made it the largest of any black college at the time and placed it in the top ranks of private colleges.
- Cole also improved the school’s reputation. U.S. News ranked it first among liberal arts colleges in the South, and Money deemed it a Top 10 “best college buy.”
- Arriving at Bennett in 2002, Cole erased a budget deficit by raising $15 million in 15 months. She also boosted enrollment and saved the school’s accreditation.
- To revitalize the college, she enlisted former Sen. Robert Dole and poet Maya Angelou as co-chairs of a campaign to raise $50 million.
So far, the drive is more than halfway to its goal.
- Cole also approached the college’s alumnae and staff. For four straight years, the alumnae alone have given $1 million.
- She’s on a mission. She’s utterly committed to educating African-American women.
- She believes in service. “Doing for others is the rent we pay for living on this earth,” she says.
-- Adapted from “Saving Grace,” Lori Wiggins, The Crisis.