The Barbara Silver Horowitz ’55 Scholars of Distinction

What is the Barbara Silver Horowitz '55 Scholars of Distinction Program?

The Barbara Silver Horowitz ’55 Scholars of Distinction Program, formerly known as The Barnard Centennial Scholars Program, was established in 1985 to help the College educate extraordinary young women bound for achievement. The Program provides a unique four-year scholarly experience in a cohort with other outstanding students. It offers participants access to research talks with acclaimed academic leaders, the close mentorship of renowned Barnard faculty members, and guaranteed funds to pursue academic research. Scholars are expected to develop a project related to a field of personal interest, and, in their senior year, to produce potentially publishable (or performable) work that will be presented to faculty and peers. This project may or may not be related to their Barnard capstone thesis.

Gina Gionfriddo (left front, playwright and former Centennial Scholar) and Shayoni Mitra (right front, Barnard Theater professor) join Scholars and program directors for dinner.


Scholars and program Directors "Once on The Island" Based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy.

  • Scholar cohort events begin in the student’s first year and continue throughout the Scholar’s time at Barnard. During a Scholar's first two years, these events (often sparked by student suggestions) are enfolded in a one-credit per semester course that is intended to foster community and encourage intellectual curiosity. Activities include attending scholarly events and seminars on campus, visiting off-campus cultural institutions and events, and social gatherings. Scholars often invite relevant faculty to participate in outings and discussions.
  • Every Scholar selects a faculty mentor by the spring of her second year and will work closely with this mentor to define and then plan her research project.  
  • Scholars receive summer funding in order to conduct research or implement their ideas, either on campus or as far afield as they like, depending on the nature of their project. This funding can be spread across three summers but scholars are encouraged to take funding after their sophomore and junior years.
  • During junior and senior year, all Scholars participate in a 1.5-credit per semester seminar. In this setting, Scholars workshop their ideas, research methods, drafts, and presentations of their final project together with their peers, faculty, and occasional invited guests.

About Barbara Silver Horowitz

The Barbara Silver Horowitz ’55 Scholars of Distinction Program is supported by the enduring generosity of Gedale Horowitz and the late Barbara Silver Horowitz.

Barbara was a graduate of Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, a member of the Barnard Class of 1955, and received graduate degrees from Brooklyn College in 1957 and Teachers College in 1970. She worked as an Elementary School Guidance Counselor within the New York City Public School system. During her life, Barbara was actively involved with Barnard as an alumna. Her husband, Dale, as he is known, was a 1953 Columbia College graduate and served as a Barnard Trustee from 1976 until 2009. Dale and Barbara met at Barnard, at a Tea Dance in the James Room. Their daughter Ruth E. Horowitz is a 1983 Barnard alumna and current Trustee of the College. Altogether the Horowitzs have contributed nearly a century of outstanding service to College and visionary leadership that has benefited students, alumnae, and the entire Barnard community.


Scholars of Distinction are selected as first-year students during the admissions process. Prospective Scholars demonstrate advanced academic achievement and possess the intellectual focus and motivation necessary for creative, independent scholarship. The applicant's high school record, counselor and teacher recommendations, personal statement, and other factors are considered by the selection committee.


Scholars' Blog

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Once on this Island and My Love, My Love; or The Peasant Girl in conversation Final bows at Once Upon This Island The first time that I heard about Once on this Island was last...