UT to Host Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art Oct. 4

Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, will speak at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 4, as part of the Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

Cole’s lecture, “The Case for Diversity and Inclusion,” will take place in the Grand Pavilion Ballroom. Guests are invited to a reception at 5:15 p.m.

The event—which is co-sponsored by the CEHHS Graduate School of Education, the Haslam College of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, UT Libraries, the Department of History, and the Africana Studies program—is free and open to the public. Free parking for the event is available in the Holiday Inn parking garage, and street parking is available downtown.

Cole is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential African-American women in the United States. She was the first African-American woman president of Spelman College, the first woman elected to the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises, and the first African American to serve as chair of the board of United Way of America.

As a scholar, author, and activist for social and economic justice, Cole has spearheaded breakthrough thinking about diversity, leadership, and women’s issues. Cole rallies everyone to embrace diversity as not only a moral and social value but also a compelling case for business.

One of Cole’s best-known quotes is “How much better our world would be if each of us respected difference until difference doesn’t make any more difference.”

In more than 40 years in education, she has also served two United States presidents in leadership roles.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Cole as she addresses the topic of diversity and inclusion,” said Susan Benner, associate dean and director of the Graduate School of Education. “In the field of education, nothing offers a better description of public education than the two words diversity and inclusion. It is through the openness to diversity of thought and perspective that we learn to enjoy the inclusion of all people. We look forward to hearing the messages on diversity and inclusion from such an outstanding thinker, leader, and educator.”

The Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lecture Series is funded by a gift from Henry Calvin Goodrich honoring his wife. The lectures are intended to contribute to the intellectual life of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and to provide the public with new and provocative ideas, stimulating thought about possible solutions to educational problems in the United States.

CONTACT:

Tyra Haag (865-974-5064, tyra.haag@tennessee.edu)