More than 500 Barnard College alumnae and friends gathered Tuesday, May 3, at the College’s annual Gala at New York City’s historic Plaza Hotel to announce the formal launch of a $400 million capital campaign that will enhance the difference the College can make for its students.

In announcing The Bold Standard: A Campaign for Barnard, President Debora Spar said, “The Bold Standard is the perfect name for our campaign. Not only does it speak to the spirit of Barnard women, but it’s a direct reflection of the audacity and power of this effort, far and away the largest, most ambitious campaign that Barnard has ever undertaken.”

The campaign has three priorities:

  • Building our endowment sufficiently so that we can continue to attract and retain a world-renowned faculty, support academic programs, and maintain our levels of financial aid to all deserving students;

  • Reinvesting in our campus, the focus of which will be an exciting new teaching and learning center that will become the College’s academic hub; and

  • Strengthening and expanding annual giving from a broad and steadily growing base of alumnae, parents, and friends.

The gala raised more than $3.1 million—of which 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to student financial aid—bringing the campaign total to more than $265 million towards its goal. Nina Rennert Davidson ’95 and Merryl H. Tisch ’77 co-chaired the event.  

A highlight of the gala, which was co-hosted by journalist Maria Hinojosa ’84, actress Cynthia Nixon ’88, and Spar, was special recognition of Cheryl Glicker Milstein ’82, her husband, Columbia University alumnus Philip Milstein ’71, and daughter Toby Milstein ’14, for their ongoing support and historic gift for the construction of a state-of-the-art teaching and learning center scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.

The recognition of the family featured daughter Toby joining Tony Award-winning musical theatre composer and arranger Jeanine Tesori ’83 in a musical tribute to Cheryl and Philip Milstein, which was commissioned especially for the evening.

Upon receiving the recognition, Cheryl Milstein said, “The students—starting in 1889 with a class of 14 intrepid individuals, through the early decades of the 20th century when departments were added and class sizes grew, into the rebellious 60s, and then my class, and Toby's, and right now, today—the young women of Barnard have always been bold, brilliant, and fearless in their endeavors. Through all the growth and change, the essence of this College has remained as strong as ever.”

The following morning more than 300 alumnae, students, faculty, and staff celebrated the launch of the campaign with an event on campus. The Wednesday morning event featured Spar, alongside members of the Class of 1959, for the opening of a time capsule that was embedded in a cornerstone during the construction of the Adele Lehman Hall-Wollman Library, which is being replaced with the new teaching and learning center.

After the reveal of the items in the time capsule, attendees were asked to suggest items for a new time capsule to be placed in the teaching and learning center.  

Check out the NY1 piece on the campaign launch and the opening of the time capsule.  

The Bold Standard campaign, slated for completion in 2018, is the most ambitious capital campaign in Barnard’s 126-year history. For more information, visit, email, or call 212-854-2520