Former President Debora Spar will not be attending the Barnard Commencement ceremony due to scheduling conflicts, Dean of the College Avis Hinkson told the class of 2017 at a graduation rehearsal Monday.
Spar surprised the Barnard community earlier this year with her announcement that she would be resigning in March to become CEO and president of Lincoln Center, leaving over a year before her contract was set to expire in June 2018. Following this announcement, Spar was still slated to attend Barnard Commencement, though Interim President and COO Rob Goldberg would be handing graduates their diplomas. As of Monday evening, Spar’s name was removed from the Commencement website.
According to several seniors present at the graduation rehearsal, many students laughed after Hinkson’s announcement.
“When Dean Hinkson told us that President Spar wouldn't be attending, the room was a mixture of emotions,” Jess Gregory, BC ’17, said. “Some obviously seemed sad, but oddly enough a whole lot of people actually laughed. Dean Hinkson said she was surprised to hear this reaction—as was I. I was expecting shocked silence, but that only prompted more laughter.”
Gregory noted that she felt this response was due to students’ dissatisfaction with Spar’s sudden departure.
“I was kind of sad to see that students felt such—is animosity the right word? Contempt? Toward President Spar,” Gregory said. “But I also have talked to certain students and understand why they may feel upset at this notion.”