The following message was sent to the Barnard community on September 3, 2019:


Dear Barnard Community,

Welcome, everyone! I hope you had an enjoyable and productive summer and are ready to start the 2019-2020 academic year.

Last week, I had the honor of greeting our returning and transfer students and meeting the wonderful Class of 2023, the most selective and diverse class in our history. I look forward to getting to know this accomplished group of students who will add their unique and powerful voices to our community. 

Barnard is dedicated to academic excellence and helping our students push boundaries while discovering their passions. Log on to our newly designed website at to see how the College’s many stories are unfolding. Today more than ever, we are focused on supporting the whole student, both in the classroom, where our world-class faculty share their research and expertise, and beyond our gates in a rapidly changing world. And this means caring about health and wellness, tackling issues of diversity and belonging head-on, and making sure that our graduates are ready for life after Barnard.

This year, we are kicking off a new initiative, “Feel Well, Do Well @ Barnard,” to raise awareness of the health and wellness support students can count on in all aspects of their life at Barnard. Health and wellness are not separate from the classroom but intricately tied to academic success, and we want Barnard students to have what they need to thrive on their individual paths to success. This requires a focus on physical and mental health across campus, not just within the walls of the Furman Counseling Center or the Primary Care Health Service. It also means ensuring there are many avenues for social connectedness throughout our community, and opportunities for dialogue (both formal and informal) among students, faculty, and staff. Feel Well, Do Well @ Barnard evolved from an assessment conducted on campus last year by the Jed Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting emotional and mental health. Our goal is to be at the forefront of helping students find the balance needed to succeed at Barnard and beyond.

A focus on health and well-being also necessitates that we ensure equitable access to services, that diverse voices are heard and inform our work, and that our community feels supported in a challenging national and international climate. With these goals in mind, we are pleased to welcome Ariana González Stokas to Barnard as our inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In this newly created position, she will encourage community engagement and facilitate difficult dialogues in ways that will ultimately support and strengthen the campus culture as a whole. She will lead ongoing reviews of our current policies, assess the campus climate for transparency, and co-chair the Community Safety Group. Vice President González Stokas is also chairing the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which continues its important work. Look for the Council’s next newsletter and further updates in the weeks to come. 

Ensuring that our students have opportunities in an inclusive, equitable environment means looking outside the Barnard gates as well, where over 75% of our students participate in internships. Our goal is to raise funds that will allow Barnard to support every student with one paid internship during the course of their four years at the College.  In the past two years, we have raised $7.9 million for a range of programs at Beyond Barnard, growing the number of funded internships that the College supports by 40%. Since its launch in spring 2018, Beyond Barnard continues to shape the national conversation on the preparation and advancement of women in academia, industry, nonprofits, the arts, and government. Be sure to visit the upcoming Fall Opportunities Fair on Friday, September 6, featuring more than 100 employers and graduate school recruiters, as well as alumnae panels and coffee chats. 

I want to offer a very warm welcome to our new Dean of the College, Leslie Grinage, whose knowledge and experience will be a tremendous benefit to Barnard. If you haven’t done so already, please introduce yourself to Dean Grinage, who is looking forward to working with the entire community in this vital role.

And finally, I hope to see everyone at Convocation on Tuesday, September 10, at 4:30 p.m. in Riverside Church. We are honored and proud that Sheila Nevins ’60, head of MTV Documentary Films and an award-winning documentary executive producer, will deliver the keynote address. 

Meanwhile, let me welcome you back to Barnard. I look forward to a successful year ahead.

Sian Leah Beilock