A joyous spirit enveloped Riverside Church as the Barnard community assembled for Convocation, the ceremonial opening of the new academic year (see story, page 8). Alumnae of all ages returned—from the class of ’38 through the class of ’16. They donned academic regalia to join students, faculty, and staff for the celebration. Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald ’81, who welcomed the students, said, “I hope that you will nurture the bonds you forge here with your classmates, your professors, and the administration. And I hope, and believe, that you will find that these efforts will reap numerous benefits throughout your life.”

That has been the case for Karen Singleton ’93, for whom a Barnard mentor has become a lifelong source of support. Marjorie Silverman, a former dean for student development, continues to help guide her career more than 20 years after they met on campus. “She wasn’t thinking about mentoring me for four years—it was for a lifetime,” Singleton says. She recalls Silverman telling her, “‘If you walk into a room and there is a Barnard alumna there, she will always help you.’ And it was true.”

Roz Gordon ’62, who came back to celebrate Convocation with her granddaughter Eden Gordon ’19, cherishes Barnard for the “drive instilled in me here,” which propelled her, at 28, to go back to school for a graduate degree with three children at home, the youngest nine months.

The all-women’s environment at Barnard nurtured “a whole different level of confidence,” for Michal Dicker ’14, which she relies on today as a student in the MBA program at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

“There’s an assumption here that, as a woman, your contribution is valuable,” she says. “If no one encourages you that what you’re saying counts, you’ll never believe it.” Being back on campus for Convocation gave her a jolt of the self-assurance she had earned during her college career. “I feel rejuvenated,” she said after the ceremony. “I was thinking: Could they bottle this and export it?”

 

—Jennifer Altmann

 

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