Dr. Bernadette Cole, a highly respected media personality and trailblazer in Sierra Leone passed away earlier today, Tuesday, May 23, 2023, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in journalism and academia.
Born and raised in Sierra Leone, Bernadette Cole received her early education at St. Joseph’s Secondary School, where she excelled and graduated with a Division 1. She continued her studies at St. Edwards Secondary School May Park, Kingtom, before pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, History, and International Relations from Fourah Bay College, USL.
Her thirst for knowledge and passion for journalism led her to obtain a Master of Arts degree with distinction in Journalism from the University of Wales, Cardiff.
Throughout her illustrious career, Bernadette Cole broke barriers and overcame gender biases that existed in the media industry during her prime.
She started as a Correspondent for the London-based West Africa magazine, representing Sierra Leone from her home country. Her dedication and expertise propelled her career forward, and she eventually held the position of Principal Information Officer at the Ministry of Information.
In a transformative move, Dr. Cole became the former Public Relations Officer of the University of Sierra Leone (USL), where she played a pivotal role in establishing the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College. This department became instrumental in shaping the careers of numerous journalists, inspiring hope and building a brighter future for aspiring professionals in the field of journalism.
From 1993 to 2009, Dr. Bernadette Cole served as the head of the Mass Communication Department, leaving an indelible mark on its growth and success. Her contributions were further recognized when she assumed the role of Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Fourah Bay College (FBC) from 2009 to 2013.
In 2014, she was appointed as the Director of Alumni and International Relations at the University of Sierra Leone, a position she held until her passing.
Beyond her impactful career, Dr. Cole was also a published author, with her book titled “Mass Media, Freedom and Democracy in Sierra Leone” serving as a valuable resource for students in the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College (FBC). Her scholarly work provided insights into the intersection of media, freedom, and democracy in Sierra Leone, contributing to the academic discourse in the field.
Dr. Bernadette Cole is survived by her husband, Mr. Tunde Cole, a retired Solicitor General of the Sierra Leone Judicature, and their two children, Avril Tundette Cole, an International lawyer residing in Canada, and Barton Cole, a civil engineer.
Her passing leaves a void in the media industry and academia, but her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of journalists and scholars.
The nation mourns the loss of an exceptional woman who dedicated her life to promoting the power of media, championing gender equality, and advancing education in Sierra Leone. Dr. Bernadette Cole will be remembered as a true icon and a source of inspiration for generations to come.
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