Last year, Debora L. Spar resigned her position as 7th president of Barnard College. She was on her way to bigger and better things, like the presidency of Lincoln Center (the complex which hosts the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and many other performing arts organizations). This was a fantastic opportunity by any standards, so the Barnard community saw her off into this new chapter of her life with gratitude and respect.
This Friday, she quit.
In a New York Times article released this morning, DSpar was quoted as saying: “Moving from academia to the performing arts world pushed me to think, learn and lead in new ways. While we have achieved a lot together over the past year, I have also questioned whether the role is right for me. As I looked back on the last 12 months, I ultimately determined that the fit I’d hoped for has not materialized. It is for this reason that I have decided it is best for the organization for me to step aside.”
She is not the first Lincoln Center president to resign suddenly. Her predecessor, Jed Bernstein, was forced to step down after 27 months. Gordon J. Davis resigned in 2001 after only 9 months. Seems like a more stressful job than managing a women’s liberal arts college, though that’s hard to imagine.
DSpar’s tenure as president was marked primarily by an unsuccessful attempt to renovate the New York Philharmonic’s David Geffen Hall, due to a lack of support from wealthy donors. Lincoln Center announced in October that they were proceeding with a simplified plan to improve the hall.
After the article was posted on the Facebook page Overheard @ Barnard, DSpar received no shortage of smug comments from Barnard students. “WHOSE TREES WILL BE DESTROYED NEXT?? FIND OUT AFTER THE BREAK,” said Nina Gonzalez Silas. “When corporate feminism does you dirty in the end,” quipped Victoria Martinez.
Poor DSpar. Let’s hope she finds a new organization to be president of soon – a nice, non-stressful one with very few trees.
My bad on that one via Wikimedia Commons