A Women’s College, Then & Now

Barnard is unequivocally dedicated to the success of women. That commitment is immediately obvious in the way we approach nearly every field of inquiry, from classical studies to labor economics, or in the prominence of the nationally-acclaimed Barnard Center for Research on Women. The College is shaped by the interests and needs of the young women we serve, from our emphasis on strengthening their abilities in the sciences and mathematics to the powerful sisterhood that supports and guides them, both during their years here and after they graduate.

Through it all, Barnard students have the great fortune to be surrounded by women mentors and role models—in the faculty, throughout the College leadership, and most certainly among our outstanding alumnae. Women make up more than 60% of Barnard's faculty, well above the national average of 46%. All of them—men as well as women—believe that the potential contributions of women should be encouraged, recognized, and realized. And, women have led Barnard from the beginning, from Ella Weed in 1889 to Debora Spar, a former Harvard business professor, today.

Barnard’s alumnae, who have made their mark in so many different fields, frequently return to campus to share their stories and offer their expertise. Our graduates have gone on to become world leaders in literature, science, commerce, law, and the arts. They include such renowned women as anthropologist Margaret Mead ’23, writers Zora Neale Hurston ’28 and Mary Gordon ’71, choreographer Twyla Tharp ’63, actor Cynthia Nixon ’88, entrepreneur Martha Stewart ’63, chemist Jacqueline K. Barton ’72, journalist Susan Stamberg ’59, Judge Judith Kaye ’58, and seven Pulitzer Prize winners including Natalie Angier ’78, Jhumpa Lahiri ’89, Eileen McNamara ’74 and Anna Quindlen ’74.

With every graduating class, there is further proof of something we’ve known from the start… Barnard women make great leaders.