News | Student Life

Barnard senior fund to restore Greek Games statue, go to financial aid

  • Linda Yin for Spectator
    NEW LOOK | Barnard's class of 2014 Senior Fund Committee announced on Tuesday that part of the senior gift will go towards restoring the Greek Games statue of Athena.

Members of Barnard’s class of 2014 can now boast that they will be leaving the campus shining a little brighter than they found it, literally.

The Senior Fund Committee co-chairs announced on Tuesday afternoon that a portion of this year’s senior gift will go toward restoring the Greek Games statue from the class of 1905, and the remaining funds will be donated to financial aid. The announcement was made at a balloon-and-doughnut-adorned gift-reveal event outside on the Lehman Lawn walkway.

Malvina Kefalas, BC ’14 and senior-fund co-chair, said that the committee proposed three options for a senior gift: a campus-renewal project; funding the Bear Essentials program, an add-on to the financial-aid package that provides items such as coats or bedding to students who otherwise can’t afford them; and a one-time scholarship to one student in the class of 2018. A survey of around 150 students from the class of 2014 revealed nearly equal support for all three options.

“We’ve decided to do a multicomponent gift in which we are set on doing two of the things. We have to see where we are at the end of the year in June if the third portion is possible. But so far we’ve decided that the first part of the gift will be the restoration of the Greek Games statue,” Jennelle Fong, BC ’14 and Senior Fund Committee co-chair, said, adding that the next step is deciding whether to fund the Bear Essentials or the expendable scholarship—or, funds permitting, both of them.

As of April 7, 24 percent of the class had donated to the senior fund—which Fong said means it’s well on its way towards exceeding last year’s participation rate of 68 percent. The highest ever class participation was 77 percent, in 2009.

“The idea of the expendable scholarship was because the biggest strain on Barnard is the endowment and financial aid and providing scholarships to those who need it. This is our way of extending a hand and really investing our gift into a future student,” Fong said. 

Depending on how much money the class raises, the scholarship would be given to a member of the class of 2018 for all four years at Barnard, and after graduating, the recipient would meet the class of 2014 at its five-year reunion in 2019.

The fund has already covered the $8,500 cost of restoring the Greek Games statue, which includes removing the green that is seeping over the marble at the base, filling in and touching up the gold lettering beneath the statue, and installing a plaque from the class of 2014 acknowledging its contribution. Kefalas and Fong said that they chose the same firm that restored the Statue of Liberty.

“It’s going to look clean, it’s going to look beautiful, but it’s not going to look like a brand-new statue,” Kefalas said. “We want to keep the quality of years lived that it has.”

Kefalas said that the statue has nostalgic significance for the class of 2014.

“The class of 2014’s first year here was the first year that the Greek Games was revived. It is a nice way to capture that memory for us,” Kefalas said.

“We’re coming full circle with it,” Fong added.

Additionally, Kefalas and Fong said on Tuesday that actress Greta Gerwig, BC ’06, will be the speaker at the leadership donor event for students who have donated at least $50 to the senior fund.

“We are just thrilled that students are going to have the chance to interact with her and get to talk to her and just be around her. She is a young alumna, so she is really able to speak to the experience of going forth as seniors into the world, what’s next for us,” Kefalas said.

Kefalas added that Gerwig has played strong female roles in films such as “Frances Ha” and “Lola Versus” and that the senior fund is eager to honor her contribution to the Barnard community.

The leadership donor event will be on May 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the North and South Towers of Sulzberger Hall.

emma.goss@columbiaspectator.com  |  @EmmaAudreyGoss

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous headline for this story referred to the Greek Games Statue, which depicts Nike, as the Athena Statue. Spectator regrets the error.

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BC Alum posted on

Headline alert, the statue is of Nike, not Athena.

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