Dear Barnard Community, 

Six months ago, when we announced the Barnard Year of Science, I shared our dream to transform Altschul Hall into a modern center for scientific education and research. Today, I am thrilled to announce that Diana T. Vagelos ’55 and Dr. P. Roy Vagelos are donating $55 million to fund this renovation and expansion. This gift, more than double the size of any previous single donation in our history, is truly a game-changer for the sciences at Barnard, one that will secure our eminence in the field and further elevate the College as a leader in preparing young women and underrepresented voices for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. 

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center (the R&D Science Center) will be a place for all our students and scholars. The Center is designed to support our inclusive approach to education, bringing together a broad spectrum of intellectual pursuits and the full diversity of our own community, with almost 40% of our underrepresented minority students majoring in STEM. The Center will have the labs and spaces to accommodate the Summer Research Institute (SRI), our signature STEM program, which last year supported almost 10% of our student body. Two of our newest programs—Neuroscience and Behavior, and Computer Science (CS), which are already among our top 10 selected majors—will also benefit from increased spaces in the Center.

Its prominent entrance and open, inviting areas will create an environment that fosters collaboration, encourages interactions with our neighbors in Harlem and Morningside Heights, and showcases key programs, including STEAM in the City, the Science Pathways Scholars Program, and more. As New York City has become a global hub for STEM, Barnard will be able to widen and deepen its connections to the City’s rich network of entrepreneurs and innovators.

I want to extend my deep gratitude to Diana and Roy, who helped inspire the Barnard Year of Science and have transformed the College through their generosity and guidance. This gift adds to their legacy of impacting Barnard, including gifts to make possible the Diana Center, the alumnae center, the computational science center, an endowed professorship, and an incredibly successful financial aid matching program. 

I also want to recognize and thank the family of Daphne Recanati Kaplan and Thomas S. Kaplan P’24, and Cheryl Glicker Milstein ’82 and Philip Milstein CC’71, for significant donations to the creation of the new Center. In addition, the Norman E. Alexander Family G Foundation, Gail Alexander Binderman ’62, president, has pledged a gift for the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center renovation and a second gift to establish the Alexander Science Lecture Series. 

These gifts are set to inspire others to participate in this important renovation through the Science Center Matching Campaign. To date, more than $220 million has been put towards the $240 million renovation, and we’ve raised an additional $35 million for STEM programming. I want to thank the over 100 impactful donors who have helped get this project to this point.

Barnard is so proud to be ranked #9 out of all colleges and universities in the country that graduate women who go on to earn doctoral degrees in STEM-related fields (per capita of science graduates) and one of the only colleges/universities in the country where every student, STEM and non-STEM, will take a course on engaging critically with data—quantitative, qualitative, and spatial. Please visit Barnard Science Facilities to stay up to date on this important renovation and to see the important work that Barnard is doing in the sciences.

Please join me in thanking our donors and celebrating Barnard’s growing eminence in the sciences— matching our leadership in the arts, humanities and social sciences—now and for generations to come.


Sian Leah Beilock, President