As Montclair State University's first woman president, Susan A. Cole ’62 led the institution through two decades of impressive growth
As the first year of my three-year term as president of the Alumnae Association of Barnard College (AABC) draws to a close, I’m grateful for the honor of serving, largely because I’ve gained a closer view of the myriad ways our alumnae are extraordinary.
For a small sampling of the power of our alumnae, please watch the videos of our AABC Award recipients that were created for (the stellar!) Reunion Reimagined 2021. You will see how these scientists, artists, advocates, and trailblazers were influenced by their time at Barnard to become people who make important contributions to the world.
To see further evidence of the talent of our alumnae — or just to find your next good book, album, podcast, recipe, movie, television show, or gift — please visit Millie’s List, a compilation of alumnae creations that could keep anyone busy for weeks.
I know there are many of us who are neither AABC Award recipients, nor on Millie’s List, nor the owners of eye-popping titles and citations in our Class Notes. You, too, are using the fire of your Barnard education to raise families, serve communities, do meaningful work, and make important differences every day in the lives of those around you. You are vital members of our alumnae community.
Participation in AABC events is not meant to be exclusive. You are a member in good standing if you completed one or more years at Barnard, and you are automatically eligible for all the privileges of membership.
Recently, in an anonymous survey among our own AABC board, we discovered a perception that a lack of financial means made some alumnae feel excluded at least once during the past.
Although it’s true that the Annual Gala, the College’s signature fundraiser for student financial aid, has been historically out of reach for some (and has been for me at many points in my not-so-distant past), the move to virtual this year enabled Barnard to make the event accessible to anyone who donated any amount to support the gala. All events are meant to embrace the entire alumnae community, and as the College eventually transitions back to in-person gathering, we hope to provide similar opportunities.
During a couple of the Alumnae Circles I attended in the past year, I was relieved to hear the fleshed-out versions of several alumnae stories and their resemblance to my own complex, nonlinear path, which bears little resemblance to what we envisioned for ourselves as students.
As your life shifts in unexpected ways, I hope you will consider Barnard’s AABC a constant — a source of support, learning, and community for you regardless of your circumstances, financial or otherwise. In the years to come, we will continue to have a virtual component to AABC events to make participation ever more accessible across time zones, income brackets, childcare challenges, and abilities.
Looking forward to our next two years together.