Vietnam-era Barnard President dead at 90

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Martha Peterson, the 7th president of Barnard, died at her home in Wisconsin on Friday. She was 90 years old. Back in the 60’s, she worked to compromise with students who were protesting the war in Vietnam.

From the New York Times:

“In Miss Peterson’s estimation, she once told a reporter, her most
significant achievement was working out an arrangement between
Barnard and Columbia that allowed students at both colleges to take
an unlimited number of courses at the other school while retaining
Barnard’s autonomy.”

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  1. ok...barnard vs. columbia

    tots...flame away.

  2. way to go peterson

    for helping create the stupid school ambiguity.

    also whats up with barnard and people named martha?

  3. correction

    3rd president, 6th head. The first three heads of BC held the title of 'dean.' The 4th stylized herself as president to put herself on equal footing with the president of columbia and subtly underscore and assert barnards 'independence' from the university.

  4. Interesting '68 note

    she was inaugurated during the building occupations of the '68 riots. protesters showed up at her inauguration over the 'Linda LeClair Affair.'

  5. who  

    is linda leclair. and i guess since i'm asking this, poster number five must be tao tan or raza.

  6. Hannah

    I love that in true Barnard fashion she is "survived by her companion, Dr. Maxine Bennett."

  7. Elle

    Wow, this woman died, and people are still cracking jokes.

    It seems as though she was a truly exemplary woman. RIP.

  8. mimi

    Linda Leclair, if I'm not mistaken, was the Barnard student who was kicked out of the college for moving off campus to live with her boyfriend. Apparently back in '68, you had to have permission to move off campus, as well as a damn good reason. Fornication outside of marriage? Not a good reason. Caused quite the hullabaloo, protests and such. But then again, that was the order of the day.

  9. RIP

    i don't think that people purposely are trying to be insensitive..it's just that individual deaths of people who don't have a connection to you usually don't strike people in a such a manner that they even think that way..the desensitivisation is kind of sad

    and as a little extra added news..that former fed editor is now a court of appeals judge http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_4075990 one step away from the highest court in the land..where its time to start getting columbia's tally equal to the other schools...http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/gaynor/060628 as for the other columbia prof who's been nominated (in the link above)..its nice to see we can still get right wing nuts panties in a bunch

  10. she was 90  

    it's not like her death was tragic or unexpected.

  11. Sara

    Did they lock her in her office during the '68 riots?

  12. Anonymous

    I knew Martha Peterson when I was at Barnard. She was an extraordinary person. It was revolution time. I marched into her office with a couple of friends and announced that Barnard wasn't "relevant" enough. We needed an "experimental college" to explore the meaning of life, live communaly and utterly change the world. Instead of throwing us out of her office, Martha Peterson said yes. And, we made it happen. The next year a mix of Barnard and Columbia students lived communally in the Paris Hotel as the Barnard-Columbia Experimental College. Kate Millet was hired as our faculty. The second year the EC expanded and moved to "the children's mansion". Did we change the world? I don't know. I know we changed the lives of Experimental College participants. Many of us are still in touch.

    Thank you, Martha Peterson. Rest in Peace. (and, love!)


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