Johnnetta B. Cole to Speak at Mount Holyoke College Commencement

Thursday, April 2, 1998 (All day)
South Hadley, Massachusetts-On Sunday, May 24, Johnnetta B. Cole, the former president of Spelman College and its first African American woman president, will deliver Mount Holyoke College's 161st commencement address.

Commencement ceremonies will take place on Sunday, May 24 at 10:30 am at the Gettell Amphitheater on the Mount Holyoke campus.

An accomplished scholar and academic administrator who has been a prominent voice in higher education for more than a decade, Cole currently serves as Presidential Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Women's Studies, and African American Studies at Emory University. Textbooks written and edited by Cole are used in classrooms throughout U.S. colleges and universities. Her 1993 book, Conversations: Straight Talk with America's Sister President, continues to be widely read. Cole's most recent book is Dream the Boldest Dreams: And Other Lessons of Life.

"Mount Holyoke College is honored that Dr. Cole will speak at the college," said Mount Holyoke President Joanne V. Creighton. "Not only is Dr. Cole a distinguished colleague in higher education, she is also a woman whose passion and persistence for equality and enrichment through education and community service continually inspires others."

Cole will receive an honorary degree along with four other individuals. This year, for the first time, the other honorary degree recipients will also speak briefly, each delivering a short charge to the class of 1998.

Ranging in fields from opera to biology, the honorary degree recipients in addition to Cole will be the following individuals:

Mary E. Clutter, assistant director, biological sciences, of the National Science Foundation. She has enhanced opportunities for women in the sciences during her time at NSF. Clutter's achievements-which have earned her two meritorious and distinguished executive presidential rank awards-include establishing NSF's Visiting Professorships for Women Program and the chairship of the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering.

Anita L. DeFrantz, vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). An attorney and 1976 Olympic bronze medalist in rowing, she is the first woman to serve as vice president of the IOC, and has been called "the most powerful woman in sports" by the Los Angeles Times. DeFrantz has been a tireless advocate for children and for women's athletics and has been awarded numerous national prizes for her work.

Nancy Gustafson, internationally acclaimed opera singer. A 1978 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, the soprano's career covers some of the most challenging roles in the lyric-dramatic repertoire. To name just two, she has appeared as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata in Vienna and Munich, and as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at La Scala, the Weiner Staatsoper, the Beyerischer Staatsoper in Munich, and, most recently, at Covent Garden.

Lilian M. C. Randall, retired research curator of manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. A 1950 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and an internationally known scholar, Randall is the author of Images in the Margins of Gothic Manuscripts, a highly influential work that is widely referenced by art historians and medievalists. She has also published extensively about medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.