From 2017 to 2023, President Sian Leah Beilock redefined what it means to be an exceptional woman leader — a Barnard attribute that she embodied as a point of pride in her six years of service to the College.

“I see Barnard as a place where we can help ensure that young women are getting the academic preparedness as well as the mindset to go out and pursue their passion — whatever that is,” said President Beilock in her first interview at the College, with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science columnist Natalie Angier ’78. 

Since then, President Beilock has amplified her commitment to this pursuit by supporting and emboldening students to take intellectual risks as they prepare to become leaders in a rapidly changing world.

This meant championing and establishing new initiatives in STEM education, health and wellness, and career resources that support students and alumnae. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the world in its tracks, President Beilock ushered in a remarkable period of expansion and growth at the College. 

From the 2018 launch of Beyond Barnard to record fundraising last year, revisit a sample of President Beilock’s greatest hits at the College.

Celebrating President Sian Leah Beilock’s Top Barnard Moments

President Beilock Joins Barnard

Leading cognitive scientist Sian Leah Beilock is named the 8th president of Barnard College.

President Beilock Is Inaugurated at Riverside Church, NYC

In her remarks, President Beilock announces the launch of Beyond Barnard — a signature initiative assisting students and alumnae with career opportunities before and after graduation.

Barnard Establishes Its Own Computer Science Program

Rebecca N. Wright becomes Barnard’s Druckenmiller Professor of Computer Science and director of the Diana T. and P. Roy Vagelos Computational Science Center, inaugurating Barnard’s computer science program

The College Commits to Collaboration and Technology

Barnard celebrates the grand opening of the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning, bolstering the College’s many disciplines that interact with technology.

“[The Milstein Center] is a place where we will look at pedagogy with fresh eyes and innovative tools and an opportunity to change the way we think about libraries and study spaces and how we interact in the classroom.”—President Beilock

Barnard Establishes the 4+1 Pathways Program

The College announces the Accelerated 4+1 Pathways, offering students a dual five-year bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering, Eastern European studies, international affairs, public health, or social sciences from one of five prestigious graduate programs at Columbia University.

Barnard Hosts Hillary Rodham Clinton

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the College with New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, to discuss the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act for New Yorkers.

The Feel Well, Do Well @ Barnard (FWDW) Initiative Is Launched

President Beilock follows through on her commitment to support physical wellness and mental health with a campus-wide initiative that empowers students to thrive both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Taking care of yourself is an important part of feeling and doing your best. That’s what this initiative is all about.” —President Beilock

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Takes the Lead

Barnard’s Council on Diversity establishes four principal responsibilities for the College that results in an expansion of the offices of DEI, CARDS, and Access Barnard. In 2019, Barnard welcomes Jennifer Rosales — currently the Vice President for Inclusion and Engaged Learning, and Chief Diversity Officer — as the inaugural executive director of the Center for Engaged Pedagogy to advance President Beilock’s vision of taking a holistic approach to learning by cultivating an inclusive campus.

President Beilock Champions STEAM

The president extolls the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) curriculum and challenges students not to limit their studies or career options strictly to the humanities or to STEM. This initiative leads to STEAM in the City (SITC), an annual training fellowship program for local K-8 educators.

The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation Center for Well-Being Is Announced

Expanding the FWDW initiative at Barnard, the Francine LeFrak Center will include state-of-the-art spaces for well-being programming, including financial fluency and wellness initiatives, a fitness center, and dance spaces. The Center, currently under construction, will have a phased opening beginning in late 2023. In 2021, the Center and Beyond Barnard co-hosted Insights: Powered by Barnard — a series of virtual conversations between President Beilock and thought leaders in women’s health and financial wellness.

President Beilock Declares the ‘Barnard Year of Science’

At Convocation, President Beilock announces the official start of the 2021-2022 Barnard Year of Science (BYOS) to showcase the scholarship, research, and innovation happening across the College.

The Department of Neuroscience and Behavior Flourishes

The College hosts “Cognitive Neuroscience at Barnard: Exploring the Human Mind,” a panel discussion featuring several of Barnard’s neuroscientists, including BJ Casey — a renowned neuroscientist who had joined the department in July 2022 as the Christina L. Williams Professor of Neuroscience. The department has grown to more than 100 majors since its inaugural event in 2019.

Barnard Is Named Top Fulbright Producer for Fifth Year in a Row

With a record-breaking 21 semifinalists, Barnard is recognized as one of five U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Students and Fulbright U.S. Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Barnard Receives $55 Million Gift for Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center

 As the Barnard Year of Science celebrates all things STEM-focused on campus, the College receives a $55 million gift — the largest-ever single donation to Barnard — from Diana T. Vagelos ’55 and Dr. P. Roy Vagelos to fund the new Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center.

Jhumpa Lahiri ’89 Returns to Barnard

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and alumna Jhumpa Lahiri ’89 returns to campus as the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing.

“I’ve followed [Lahiri’s] work since long before I began leading the College and have thought often about how she described Barnard as a wonderful place for exploration — a place where students feel comfortable taking risks as they decide how they can leave their mark on the world.” —President Beilock

President Beilock Announces She’ll Step Down in 2023

President Sian Leah Beilock’s next step will be to lead Dartmouth as their first woman president, following six years of bold leadership at Barnard.

Barnard Welcomes a Diverse Class of 2026

The College receives 12,009 applications — the most ever — and admits 9% of applicants, beating its own lowest record-breaking admissions rate. It welcomes a cohort representing 29 countries; 60% are students of color. Nineteen percent of admitted students identify as first-generation, while 42% of them express an interest in Barnard’s STEM programs.

The Barnard Center for Toddler Development Has a Grand Reopening

President Beilock and Tovah Klein, the Toddler Center’s director and adjunct associate professor of psychology, celebrate the Center’s 50th anniversary with the Barnard community, alumnae, and donors in its newly renovated space in Milbank Hall.

“In my final semester as Barnard’s president, it’s immensely satisfying to see another long-term goal come to fruition. This year marks half a century that Barnard’s Center for Toddler Development has been a leader in studying and fostering young children’s growth and development.” —President Beilock