Cole, Bateson discuss lives, legacies at Scarritt-Bennett

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole and Dr. Mary Catherine Bateson will present ‘Living a Legacy: A Conversation Between Friends’ at Scarritt-Bennett Center on Saturday, March 16, from 6-8 pm. The women will talk about the trajectory of their lives, their friendship, their passions, and the legacy they hope to leave behind.

Before assuming her current position as the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Johnnetta Betsch Cole had a long and distinguished career as an educator and humanitarian.

At the age of 15, Cole began her college career at Fisk University through the school’s early admissions program and went on to earn a Master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern University. A powerful trailblazer, she has been the first female African American president of Spelman College, the first woman ever elected to the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises, and the first African American woman to serve as chair of the board of United Way of America. Cole has been awarded 55 honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous honors.

Through her work as a college president, university professor and museum director, as well as her published works, speeches and community service, Cole has consistently addressed issues of diversity and inclusion.

Mary Catherine Bateson

Mary Catherine Bateson is a writer and cultural anthropologist. The daughter of legendary anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, she has taught at Harvard, Amherst, Spelman and George Mason University in the U.S., and also in Iran and the Philippines.

In her most recent book, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom, Bateson presents people with the challenge to think about and approach their later lives with the full force of imagination, curiosity, and enthusiasm. At the same time, it encourages older adults to speak up and advocate on behalf of future generations about the world that they will inherit.

Bateson travels and lectures frequently, and is a visiting scholar at Boston College’s Center on Aging and Work.

A book signing will follow the event.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP requested.

For more information, visit the official website at