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Getting to Know You: President Spar Visits England

In her inaugural address, Debora Spar outlined an ambitious initiative to expand Barnard’s presence outside the United States, “allowing the College to play a more active role in a world increasingly dominated by the international exchange of capital, technology, people, and ideas.” On November 9, 2008, less than two weeks after the investiture, President Spar left for Great Britain and spent several exceedingly full and productive days at both Oxford and Cambridge universities, meeting with presidents and deans of many of the most prestigious colleges. In addition to introducing herself and Barnard to the larger “Oxbridge” community, she explored the possibilities of Barnard students studying for a year at these colleges. Barnard already has a relationship with St. Peter’s College, Oxford, but given growing student interest, President Spar hopes to develop academic partnerships with other Oxford and Cambridge colleges as well. Also on the president’s agenda were the possibility of Barnard faculty exchanges and other joint programs. In between academic meetings, President Spar enjoyed spending time with Barnard alumnae and parents in Cambridge and London, talking with them about new ways to integrate our overseas community with that of Morningside Heights. She had drinks with a group of Barnard alumnae in finance at the Royal Automobile Club in London, met with retired editor of Barnard Magazine Toni Coffee, in Oxford, and was delighted to “take tea” with the extraordinary Dame Anne Warburton ’46, first British woman ambassador when appointed to Denmark, and former president of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.