Dr. Bernadette Cole, former Chair of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), passed away in Freetown this morning, leaving behind a legacy of remarkable achievements and contributions to journalism and education in Sierra Leone. Born and raised in Freetown, Dr. Cole began her educational journey at St. Joseph’s Secondary School, where she excelled and obtained a Division 1. She did her sixth form at St. Edwards Secondary School May Park, Kingtom.
Driven by her passion for knowledge, Dr. Cole pursued higher education at Fourah Bay College, USL, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, History, and International Relations. Her dedication to journalism led her to pursue a Master of Arts with distinction in Journalism at the University of Wales, Cardiff. During this time, she also served as the Freetown Correspondent for the London-based West Africa magazine, showcasing her commitment to quality reporting.
Dr. Bernadette Cole’s career spanned across various notable roles within the field of communication and education. She began her professional journey at the Ministry of Information, starting as an Information Officer and eventually rising to the position of Principal Information Officer. Dr. Cole also served as the former Public Relations Officer of the University of Sierra Leone, where she played a crucial role in fostering positive relations between the institution and the public.
One of Dr. Cole’s significant contributions to academia was the establishment of the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College, aimed at training aspiring journalists. She served as the department’s head from 1993 to 2009, dedicating her expertise and passion to shaping the future of journalism in Sierra Leone. From 2009 to 2013, she held the position of Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Fourah Bay College, showcasing her leadership skills and commitment to academic excellence.
In 2014, Dr. Cole was appointed as the Director of Alumni and International Relations of the University of Sierra Leone. Not only was Dr. Bernadette Cole an accomplished academic and administrator, but she was also an author. Her book, “Mass Media, Freedom, and Democracy in Sierra Leone,” remains a respected resource in the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College. Through her insightful writings, she contributed to the understanding of the role of media in promoting democratic principles in Sierra Leone.
She was married to Mr. Tunde Cole, retired Solicitor General of the Law Officers Department and survived by two children, Avril Tundette Cole and Barton Cole.
Throughout her illustrious career, Dr. Bernadette Cole’s dedication to journalism, education, and her country was evident. She will be remembered as a mentor and teacher to many, guiding and inspiring future generations of journalists. Her invaluable contributions to the field of media and her commitment to academic excellence have left an indelible mark on Sierra Leone. Dr. Cole’s legacy will continue to inspire and guide those who follow in her footsteps. May her soul rest in eternal peace.