History of the Bennett College National Alumnae Association (NAA)
The National Alumnae Association was initiated under the presidency of David Dallas Jones in 1948. Mamie Mundy McLaurin, affectionately known as Ma Mac, was assigned the responsibility of organizing the alumnae to assist in raising funds to support the College. There have been several outstanding presidents of the Association who provided dynamic leadership for the organization in the early years. They were:
Alma Tarpley Taylor ’30 (1954-1957)
Juanita G. Wells ’37 (1957 – 1959)
Fannie Lee Hinnant ’45 (1959 – 1965)
Maxine Haith O’Kelly ’49 (1965 – 1966)
Elizabeth Alston Edwards ’40 (1966 – 1967)
There was a period when the Association was inactive. Emma O. Smith ’48, who served on the Bennett College Board of Trustees from 1974-1985, and was the chair of the board from 1979-1985, was instrumental in getting the president of the Bennett College National Alumnae Association a seat as a board member. The Association was reactivated in the seventies under Dr. Isaac H. Miller’s presidency. Subsequently, the following alumnae were elected to the office of President of the Association:
|1971-1975||Marion Benton Tasco ‘60|
|1975-1977||Arney Hall Johnson ‘37|
|1977-1979||Bernice Johnson ‘51|
|1979-1985||Tressie Wright Muldrow ‘62|
|1985-1989||Gladys Ashe Robinson ‘71|
|1989-1993||Deborah Tillman Love ‘79|
|1993-1997||Tressie Wright Muldrow ‘62|
|1997-2001||Ellease Randall Colston ‘53|
|2001-2005||Marion Lee Bell ‘53|
|2005-2009||Audrey Demps Franklin ‘72|
|2009-2012||Lisa A. Johnson ‘81|
|2012-2017||Deborah Tillman Love ‘79|
|2017 to present||Gwendolyn Mackel Rice ‘61|
Purpose of the NAA
- To act as a connecting link between Bennett College and alumnae throughout the world
- To create, develop and promote alumnae chapters.
- To foster wholesome fellowship and goodwill among Bennett College alumnae
- To interpret the College to parents, students, benefactors and other segments of the community
- To vigorously participate in the student recruitment program.
- To achieve a wider recognition and broader understanding of the educational aims and achievements of Bennett College.
- To encourage an atmosphere of financial commitment among the alumnae and other constituents
An individual who has attended Bennett College for at least one semester regardless of whether or not she received the bachelor’s degree is classified as an alumna.
The executive committee of the NAA provides leadership for the Association. The members of the organization elect executive committee officers to represent them every two years. Term of office is not to exceed two consecutive terms in the same office. They officers consist of: President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Parliamentarian. The immediate past president is an ex-officio officer for a year. In addition, there are 8 regional coordinators:
Alumnae chapters assist in fostering the advancement of the College by strengthening the image through programs and services in local communities. It is a medium through which former students and graduates may communicate with each other, coordinate programs to recruit students and support the College in fund-raising and other activities.