BY ERIC L. HINTON
Dr. Julianne Malveaux:
Taking Bennett College
to the next level
On March 29, Bennett College
for Women in Greensboro, N.C., will
inaugurate Dr. Julianne Malveaux as the 15th
president in its 135-year history. DiversityInc recently
spoke with Dr. Malveaux to discuss her upcoming
agenda for Bennett, why all black-women colleges
are still relevant in 2008, and her plans to establish
Bennett well into the future.
Q Going into 2008, how would you categorize the
state of Bennett College?
A Bennett College is on solid ground. We remain
physically fragile, but we’re making constant improvements to meet our bottom line.
Q What are your main objectives going into the year?
A Physical stability. Our theme for 2008 is “
Bennett C.A.R.E.S.” Revitalization was the theme for the
2002–2007 period. Now the theme is We C.A.R.E. “C”
is for capital improvement, “A” for academic excellence, “R” for restoring core values, “E” for enhancing
the quality of student life, and “S” for supporting
sustainability. So, we’re moving from good to great.
Q What has been your biggest transition?
A I now understand that I represent more people than
myself, that my comments are seen now as not my
own thoughts or utterances but those of a community. So I’ve had to learn to be more circumspect.
Q You’ve always been known for being very outspoken and direct. Has that been difficult for you?
A It’s been challenging. There’s a story at Bennett of a
former president, Dr. David Dallas Jones, who would
walk around campus, and when he saw young women,
he would ask, “What is your purpose?” That is literally a question I start with every day, “What is your
purpose?” My purpose is to take this institution to
another level. So anything else that I have to do really
pales in the face of that.
Q What made the position an enticing one for you?
A It’s like the collision of all of my loves. The stability of African-American institutions, my love for
higher education and my love for the advancement
of African-American women. Those things just sort of
collided and it was a place that I could do this.
Q DiversityInc.com recently asked our readers if an
education from an HBCU or an all-women’s school
was best for their children. If you were asked that by
a parent, how would you make the case for HBCUs?
A The case would be made depending on the child
and what that child was looking for. Small liberal-arts
colleges are places where you learn how to think, not
necessarily what to think. It’s where you’re engaged
in a very small learning community, where you have
hands-on access to your professors and the opportu-