Across the years I’ve had the privilege of knowing some pretty phenomenal women, and in just the last week I’ve had the real pleasure of introducing several of them to our newest Trinity Women during the orientation program for the College of Arts & Sciences.
Dr. Johnnetta Cole — what a phenomenal day we had with her at the National Museum of African Art! I first met Dr. Cole (above) when she was president of Spelman College, and then president of Bennett College — she came to Trinity for the annual meetings of the Women’s College Coalition that we hosted for a number of years. Dr. Cole was the first African American woman president of Spelman, the nation’s most renowned Historically Black College for Women. She enjoyed a tremendous decade at Spelman, then retired, then rose to the challenge to lead another Historically Black College for Women, Bennett — and her success there is legendary as well. When she was a women’s college president, Dr. Cole fired-up every room she entered — she called the nation’s women’s colleges out of their period of lethargy in the early 1990’s and into a remarkable period of renaissance and growth. In so many ways, we at Trinity can thank my “Sister President Johnnetta” for calling all women’s colleges to stand up and be proud of this great mission.
Today, as I watched Dr. Cole speak to our Trinity freshwomen, I was moved and inspired all over again. Despite getting ready for a trip later this week to South Africa, she generously spent a great deal of time with our students both before and after our museum tours, and the students were clearly attentive to her message. I especially appreciated her strong words about how educated women must stand up for the rights of all people, must work to defeat the “isms” that plague our society, must never believe that we cannot do what must be done.
I also liked her advice to our freshwomen: you have to get out of bed in the morning to start on the road to achievement. Every morning, no excuses!
The Museum of African Art is a magnificent spot where I hope more Trinity students will find the time to contemplate, meditate and simply enjoy the beauty of the works of art and the gardens. As well, thanks to Dr. Cole’s office and wonderful colleagues (Laura, Frank, Connie, Ruth, Donnie — you are all wonderful!) our students had the opportunity to tour the Freer Gallery and to learn about the great Asian collection there in addition to their tour of the African Art museum.
Thank you, Dr. Johnnetta Cole and team, you made a huge contribution to our orientation program!
Last week, the new freshwomen also had the rare opportunity to hear from two outstanding Trinity alumnae.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius ’70 (above) took time from her impossibly busy schedule to greet our new first years and talk about staying healthy while in college. You can see and hear her talk on our website by clicking on this link. Thank you, Secretary Sebelius, your remarks were great and your presence really added a tremendous learning moment to our program!
Here’s another fabulous Trinity Woman with Secretary Sebelius — our own Student Government President Morgan Kellman ’11!!
Being on the same agenda as a cabinet officer might seem a bit daunting, but not for Dr. Nicole Lang ’89 who is a truly phenomenal woman herself. Dr. Lang spoke to the freshwomen about health careers as well as healthy choices while in college.
A graduate of George Washington Medical School where she also served on the faculty, Dr. Lang is the founder and chief physician at Washington Pediatric Associates, and she is also a member of Trinity’s Board of Trustees.
Thank you, Dr. Lang, for sharing so much with our students!
Here are a few more photos from our day at the Museum of African Art and the Freer Gallery:
What an amazing orientation for our new students! The “Old Girls’ Network” is humming! Let’s keep it going!