President Spar's Biography


Debora L. Spar became the seventh president of Barnard College on July 1, 2008.

Since her arrival at the College, Spar has been a vocal proponent of women’s education and leadership, spearheading initiatives that include the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the theory and practice of women's leadership, and Barnard’s Global Symposium series, an annual gathering of high-profile and accomplished female leaders held each year in a different region of the world.

A political scientist by training, Spar’s scholarly research has focused on international political economy and, more recently, issues of particular importance to women. She is the author of numerous books, including Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Invention, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet (2001); The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception (2006); and Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (2013).

Spar is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and received her doctorate in government from Harvard. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as a director of Goldman Sachs; a director of Value Retail, LLC; and a trustee of the Wallace Foundation. Prior to coming to Barnard, Spar was the Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

President Spar is married to Miltos Catomeris, an architect whose specialty is academic, institutional and corporate campuses. They are the parents of three children.