By Lindsay Garten
On April 6, despite the rain, alumnae and friends of Barnard College gathered for the College’s annual Scholarship Dinner and Auction, Shaping the Future. The event honored this year’s recipients of the Frederick A.P. Barnard Award, Ellen V. Futter ’71, President of the American Museum of Natural History and President of Barnard from 1980 to 1993. The event also honored Barbara Novak ’50, art historian and Barnard Professor Emerita. Greta Gerwig ’06, whose latest film Arthur opens this weekend, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. After Gerwig’s opening speech, Marjorie Dugan ’11, the recipient of a scholarship, explained how lucky she felt to be able to attend Barnard.
The scholarship dinner raised a record $2.1 million for financial aid at Barnard, a large increase from last year’s $1.7 million. Instead of auctioning off prizes, this year’s auction was for actual scholarships.
About the Honorees
Ellen V. Futter, born in New York City and raised in Port Washington, New York was one of the recipients of the Frederick A.P. Barnard Award. Futter graduated magna cum laude and Phi Betta Kappa from Barnard in 1971 and from Columbia Law School in 1974. As a junior at Barnard, she was elected as student representative to the College’s Board of Trustees. During her first year of law school Futter was asked to complete the Board term of former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg. She was then elected to continue as a trustee. After graduation from Columbia Law, Futter practiced corporate law at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and, in 1980, took a leave of absence to serve as Barnard’s Acting President. The following year, she was appointed President of Barnard becoming the youngest president at the age of 32. During her tenure as President Barnard instituted a new curriculum, became a residential college, launched its first capital campaign and reaffirmed its status as its own institution. Since 1993, Futter has been the President of the American Museum of Natural History. This made her the first female head of a major New York City cultural institution.
Born in New York, Barbara Novak ’50, is one of America’s premier art historians. Novak graduated summa cum laude from Barnard where she was taught by Julius Held, a Rubens and Rembrandt scholar. She then went on to graduate school at Harvard University where she wrote a doctorate dissertation on Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand, two artists from the Hudson River school of painting. Futter became a faculty member at Barnard in 1958. She retired in 1998 as the Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of Art History Emerita. Barnard’s Art History Department has a chaired professorship in her honor. Futter is the recipient of many awards and medals, including the Woman of Achievement Award from the Barnard Alumnae Association and the Archives of American Art Fleischman Award for Scholarly Contribution to American Art. She is also the recipient of the Teaching of Art History Award from the College Art Association.
|photo credit: Samantha Plotner|
Lindsay is a sophomore at Barnard and Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Nine Ways of Knowing.