Barnard’s Interim President And Presidential Search Committee Announced

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At the panel on Monday
At the panel on Monday

Who can ever fully replace her?

This afternoon, Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, BC ’81 and the chair of the Barnard Board of Trustees, sent an email to the student body about the process of replacing Barnard president Debora Spar, who is stepping down in March. The email announced that Rob Goldberg, Barnard’s current Chief Operating Officer, will serve as Barnard’s Interim President during the transition period. Caruso-FitzGerald cited Goldberg’s “expertise and his level of familiarity with the inner workings of the College” as reasons that he will be a good fit for this position.

In addition, the email described the committee that has been formed to search for a replacement president for Barnard. This committee will be led by Cheryl Glicker Milstein, BC ’82, P ’14, vice chair of the Board, and Ina Drew, trustee and P’13. Other members include trustees Diana Vagelos, BC ’55 and vice chair of the Board, and Frances Sadler, BC ’72; alumnae leaders, Jyoti Menon, BC ’01 and Merryl Tisch, BC ’77; Professors Peter Balsam (Psychology), Alexander Cooley (Political Science), Karen Fairbanks (Architecture), and Monica L. Miller (English and Africana Studies); Dean Nikki Youngblood-Giles; and current students Angela Beam, BC ’18 and Jocelyn Chang, BC ’18. The search coordinator of this committee will be DiAnn Pierce, Special Assistant to the President. The Spencer Stuart firm will assist in the search as well.

Students are invited to submit nominations for Barnard’s next president, which will be taken into consideration during the search. We here at Bwog have a pretty good idea whom we’re going to nominate already.

To the Members of the Barnard College Community:

I wanted to reach out as we begin the important work of finding a successor to President Debora Spar, who will step down in March after more than eight years of exemplary service to the College. We owe President Spar an enormous debt of gratitude and, in the coming months, we will be planning the appropriate send off in order to celebrate her tenure with the entire campus community.

I was fortunate to co-chair the search committee that selected President Spar, so I know from experience that a presidential search can be a challenging and rewarding venture. It is also an unparalleled opportunity to reflect on Barnard’s accomplishments and consider how best to approach the College’s future with our history and mission in mind. I look forward to working together in this pursuit.

The Board and I intend to move swiftly and we have already begun working on the transition plans. I am delighted to announce that Rob Goldberg, our Chief Operating Officer, will be serving Barnard as Interim President during the transition period. COO Goldberg’s expertise and his level of familiarity with the inner workings of the College, from its financial needs and the concerns of students, faculty and staff to the capital campaign and the new building, will be great assets during this period of transition. We are exceedingly grateful to call on his support.

I am also pleased to report that Cheryl Glicker Milstein ’82, P ’14, vice chair of the board, and Ina Drew, trustee and P’13, have agreed to lead the search committee for the College’s 8th President. Together, they have assembled a stellar group that represents the breadth of the Barnard community.

They will be joined by trustees Diana Vagelos ’55, vice chair of the board, and Frances Sadler ’72, as well as two other alumnae leaders, Jyoti Menon ’01 and Merryl Tisch ’77.

Professors from across a broad array of academic disciplines will represent the faculty: Peter Balsam (Psychology), Alexander Cooley (Political Science), Karen Fairbanks (Architecture), and Monica L. Miller (English and Africana Studies).

Dean Nikki Youngblood-Giles will serve on the committee as well, along with Angela Beam ’18 and Jocelyn Chang ’18, who will represent Barnard students. DiAnn Pierce, Special Assistant to the President, will act as search coordinator.

I will be on the committee in my capacity as chair of the Board of Trustees.

I am also happy to announce that the firm of Spencer Stuart will assist us in the search, as they did the 2008 presidential search. The Spencer Stuart team is composed of Jennifer Bol and Michele Haertel. The firm’s recent work includes searches for the presidents of Cornell University and Pomona College.

Of course we are also counting on your assistance as valued members of the Barnard community. We will be holding a series of listening sessions beginning in January so that we can hear your thoughts. We have also set up a process that allows you to share with us the names of candidates whom you believe speak to Barnard’s mission and values and can lead us into the future. You can do so by submitting a nomination at

In the meantime, Cheryl, Ina and I thank you all for your support as we move through this significant and exciting time for the College. And special thanks to President Spar for setting a very high bar as we begin to look for her successor.

Most sincerely,
Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald ’81
Chair, Board of Trustees

DSpar via Bwog last winter

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