• College/Year: DC '62, GSNB '67, GSE '83
  • Links to Oral History Sessions: Venable, Bernice (October 1, 2015)


Bernice Proctor Venable grew up in Somerville, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses being raised by a foster parent after the age of thirteen and the support she received from her community in Somerville. She went to Douglass College, where she sang in the Rutgers University Choir and worked as a reporter for The Caellian. She majored in Spanish. Later, she earned her M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Rutgers, M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Rider, and doctorate in Educational Administration from Rutgers. She went on to a career in education as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator in Franklin, Somerville, Elizabeth, Irvington and Trenton. She served as Superintendent in Trenton for six years and in Irvington for two years. She testified on behalf of the plaintiffs in Abbott v. Burke, the landmark decision in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must ensure parity in educational funding between poorer urban school districts and affluent suburban districts. In 1992, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). She and her spouse funded a computer lab at the Hale Center that is dedicated to Paul Robeson. After retiring as an educator, she joined AlphaGraphics, working in sales and marketing.