Dr. Dawn S. Chaney, Chairwoman of the Department of Health and Human Performance at Bennett College from 1971 to 1980, said she was attracted to the Institution because of its history as an all-female, African-American institution.
“What I liked best about Bennett was the opportunity to educate young women to be world leaders,” Chaney said. “I relate daily to questions about what brought me to Greensboro, and the answer is always Bennett College. I tell people it’s a wonderful institution for educating young women.”
Even though she stopped working at Bennett nearly four decades ago, Chaney is still involved with the Institution and has returned over the years for Commencement, Founder’s Day and other events. She also recently made a donation to Bennett.
“I believe that Bennett College must continue as an institution for the education of African-American women,” Chaney said. “Bennett College has provided women leaders throughout the world, and particularly in Greensboro and in North Carolina. We must support Bennett College to continue their excellent educational leadership for young African-American women, as the Institution has done for 144 years.”
Chaney’s words are music to the ears of Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins.
“I think it’s wonderful for a former professor like Dr. Chaney to give back to the College,” Dawkins said. “I’m also grateful to her for encouraging others to give to Bennett as well. Bennet College is a great institution that’s steeped in history and tradition, one that deserves to continue educating young women of color for posterity. Hopefully with the support of people like Dr. Chaney, we will be able to do just that.”
Since leaving Bennett College in 1980, Chaney has owned Chaney Properties, which rents single-family, multi-family, commercial and light industrial properties in Greensboro and Guilford County. She is president and CEO of the company.
Dr. Mary R. Scarlette, a member of the Class of 1954, retired from Bennett in 2001 as academic dean after working at the College for 40 years. Before becoming academic dean, she was an assistant professor and the assistant director of Teacher Education/Chairwoman of the Department of Elementary and Special Education. She worked closely with Dr. Chaney during the semester she served as interim director of the Division of Education because, at that time, Health and Physical Education was part of the Division.
“Dr. Chaney is a dedicated, determined and focused educator,” Scarlette said. “She understands and appreciates the legacy, mission and focus of Bennett College. This was evident as she prepared students to reach for and achieve their potential in their chosen fields of study.”
Audrey Demps Franklin ’72, executive director of alumnae affairs at Bennett, agreed with Scarlette about Chaney’s commitment to their alma mater.
“Dr. Chaney was very dedicated to Bennett College during her time here,” Franklin said. “She has also returned to the Institution over the years for various functions. Her recent donation to the College is a testament to her affinity for Bennett. We are grateful for her support.”
Chaney supervised Bennett’s athletic programs while she worked there, including basketball and volleyball. She was also the author of several grants that provided money for special programs.
“I’m especially proud of having assisted in the development of some strong young women who have advanced and made contributions to Bennett and to their individual professions,” Chaney said. “Their foundation remains strong, and I’m glad to know I was a part of that.”