Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

With deep sorrow, I write to share the following message from President Bollinger, who regretfully reports the Columbia University community’s first deaths from COVID-19. We are saddened by these tragic losses and join the rest of the University in mourning them and in mourning the loved ones of our own Barnard students, faculty, and staff who have passed away because of this virus. We are also thinking of the hardships that many of our family members and friends are enduring as they struggle to beat COVID-19.

We are immensely proud of our Barnard alumnae who are courageously fighting the coronavirus on the front lines in hospitals in New York City, around the country, and across the world; as well as our Barnard community members who have contributed their time, resources and dedication to mitigating the effects of this pandemic. And, we are deeply grateful for the heroic efforts of Columbia University and the Irving Medical Center to combat the virus from every angle.

To the Class of 2020: I understand that the past weeks’ disruptions have been particularly heartbreaking, as you embarked on your last semester at Barnard — and as you looked forward to honoring your achievements together at Commencement in May. This is a watershed moment in your lives, and I’ve sought your thoughts and those of Gabi Garcia ’20, your class president, on how to most meaningfully mark the occasion after announcing that an in-person commencement could not proceed as planned. And I hear you.

Although the University has decided to hold virtual Class Days, Barnard remains committed to holding an in-person ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2020. We don’t know yet what that will look like, but we are exploring options for the fall or next spring. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you as we move forward.

In the meantime, I will be proud to present you as the Barnard Class of 2020 at the virtual University Commencement ceremony on May 20th for the official conferral of your degrees.

Finally, to all Barnard students, faculty, and staff: in addition to the tragic loss of members of our extended community, I know that you are all also feeling the impacts of the pandemic on your own lives — from isolation to the inability to celebrate holidays such as Passover and Easter with your family. Please know that I am thinking of each and every one of you as we continue to navigate the final weeks of the semester, and I encourage you to continue to take care of yourselves and each other.

Most sincerely,
Sian Leah Beilock, President

Columbia University message

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

This is the message I hoped never to have to convey. I must report the first deaths from COVID-19 within our own extended Columbia community. In recent days, we have lost family members, neighbors, and now at Columbia, we have lost valued employees and one of our own students. Of course, the mortality rate nationally and globally is staggering, but the shock is always greater when the losses occur within your own home and community. I am sure many of you are suffering under the spread of the virus, being personally afflicted or caring for those who are, all the while carrying on with coursework and other responsibilities. Please know we think about you and the burden of these experiences every day.

This past week, I, along with Dr. Lee Goldman, visited inpatient units, an ICU, the Emergency Department, and an outpatient tent at our Medical Center. It is always remarkable to see our faculty, students, and staff in the health sciences provide such superb care to the sick under unimaginable circumstances while at the same time seeking to rapidly generate new knowledge that can help others. These are among the most challenging conditions, filled with anxiety and distress, and everyone is rising to the moment.  

In the few short weeks since many of you left campus, several of Columbia’s most familiar sites have been commissioned into service, including Baker Field, where the hospital is in the process of expanding its facilities. Emptied Morningside campus residence halls are now being used by CUIMC and hospital employees to ease their commutes. Our Libraries and our Engineering School are both producing face shields. All this, along with the research we continue to conduct and the additional intellectual and physical resources we expect to devote to this pandemic in the future, makes us proud.

And, in the final weeks of the semester, it is heartening to know that the academic work of the University continues. We are currently teaching a total of 9,622 courses online—something we previously would not have imagined possible. Continuing with this effort to maintain the functions of the University into the summer, we now expect to offer over 1,800 courses online.

There are two additional developments to note here: With respect to Commencement, individual schools will offer virtual Class Days during that previously designated week. And the University Commencement ceremony will be recorded and shared virtually on May 20th. We still hope to have at some later time an in-person celebration, but it is, unfortunately, not possible at this moment to be more specific.

Lastly, there has been an outpouring of inquiries about what each person might do to help in this crisis. I am happy to say that there is now a consolidated list on our COVID-19 website of ways you might assist and contribute to others. We expect to add more opportunities as they arise.

I want to return to what I said at the outset. I wish I could do more than just express our sense of sadness and loss. I do feel strongly, however, that this is a period when the strengths of universities are manifest and should be recognized. We lodge the professions within our universities, in part because we value and benefit from their expertise but also because we want to nurture a sense of public responsibility as being inherent in these societal roles. The journalist who enters war zones, the lawyer who fights for human rights, and the health worker who braves dangers of infection to aid the ill, all reflect the commitment to the selfless dedication of expertise that universities naturally nurture. As always, however, it is one thing to affirm this commitment, as we regularly do, and another to live it, as we are now seeing so vividly in our Medical Center. It is, therefore, to be celebrated, as an example for us all to follow.

Finally, I would say, if ever there was a time that proves, yet again, that the subjects and preoccupations of the humanities are of transcendent importance in a good life, this is surely one of those

From the President’s House, Jean and I send our warmest regards.  

Lee C. Bollinger





致我们的2020届的学生们:在您们进入在巴纳德的最后一个学期并且期待着在5月的毕业典礼上共同表彰您们的成就,我了解到过去几周的混乱是很令人心碎的。这是您们人生中的一个分水岭时刻,所以在宣布毕业典礼无法如计划地进行后,我向您们和您们届的班长,Gabi Garcia,寻求了如何最有意义地纪念这个场合的想法。我听到您们的心意。




巴纳德学院校长,希恩·莉亚·贝洛克(Sian Leah Beilock)敬上




这是我希望永远不必传达的信息。我必须报告在我们扩展的哥伦比亚社区中的首例COVID-19死亡病例。最近几天,我们失去了家人和邻居。现在在哥伦比亚,我们失去了员工和一位学生。 当然,全国和全球的死亡率都是惊人的,但是当损失在您自己的家庭和社区内发生时,冲击总是会更大。我确信您们中的许多人因病毒的传播而收到遭受,无论是从个人方面或从照顾亲人方面,与此同时进行课业和其他职责。请知道我们每天都在想着您和这些经历的负担。

在过去的一周中,我与李·高德曼(Lee Goldman)博士一起访问了我们医疗中心的住院病房、重症监护室 (ICU)、急诊科、和门诊帐篷。令人惊讶的是,我们的健康和卫生科学学院的教师和学生们在难以想象的情况下为病人提供了如此出色的护理,同时又在寻求迅速产生可以帮助他人的新知识。这些是充满挑战和焦虑的最具挑战性的现状,而每个人都在努力。

在您们中的许多人离开校园后的短短几周内,哥伦比亚最熟悉的几个站点已投入使用,其中包括贝克菲尔德球场(Baker Field),都正在被医院用来扩大设施中。空置的校园宿舍正被哥伦比亚大学欧文医学中心(CUIMC)和医院员工使用,以减轻通勤的负担。我们的图书馆和工程学院都在生产面罩。所有这些,再加上我们继续进行的研究,以及我们期望将来为这一流行病投入的额外智力和物质资源,使我们感到自豪。







哥伦比亚大学校长,李·布林格(Lee Bollinger)敬上


Queridos miembros de la comunidad de Barnard, 

Con profunda tristeza escribo para compartir el mensaje del Presidente Bollinger, quien sentidamente reporta la primera muertes de la Universidad de Columbia del COVID-19. Estamos entristecidos por la perdida y nos unimos al resto de la Universidad en su luto, y en luto de los seres queridos de nuestros alumnos de Barnard, facultad, y personal quienes han fallecido por causa del virus. 

Estamos muy orgullosos de nuestros graduados de Barnard quienes están luchando en contra del coronavirus en los hospitales en la ciudad de Nueva York, a través del país, y a través del mundo; al igual de nuestros miembros de la comunidad quienes han contribuido su tiempo, recursos y dedicación a mitigar los efectos de la pandemia. Estamos también muy agradecidos por los esfuerzos por la Universidad de Columbia y el Irving Medical Center para luchar contra el virus.  

A la clase del 2020: entiendo que las interrupciones de estas ultimas semanas han sido especialmente angustiosas, ya que esperaban celebrar sus logros juntos en la ceremonia de graduación en Mayo. Este es un momento cuenca en sus vidas, he entendido sus pensamientos y los de Gabi Garcia ’20 la presidenta de la clase, en sobre como conmemorar este logro inmenso después del anuncio que la ceremonia de graduación no se llevara a cabo como se había planeado anteriormente. Y los escucho. 

Aunque la Universidad ha decidido hacer dos Class Days virtuales, Barnard permanece comprometidos a hacer la ceremonia en persona para celebrar a la clase del 2020. Todavía no sabemos como se vería, pero seguimos explorando opciones para el otoño o la primavera del próximo año. Espero continuar esta conversación mas adelante. 

Por lo tanto, estoy orgullosa de presentarles, a ustedes, la clase de 2020 con la ceremonia de graduación virtual el día 20 de Mayo para el honramiento oficial de los diplomas. 

Finalmente, para todos los estudiantes de Barnard, la facultad y el personal: además de las perdidas trágicas de miembros de nuestra comunidad extendida, se que están sintiendo el impacto de la pandemia en sus vidas- desde el aislamiento hacia la inhabilidad de celebrar días festivos como las pascuas con la familia. Por favor sepan que estoy pensado en cada uno de ustedes y continuaremos navegando las ultimas semanas del semestre, los animo que se cuiden de si mismos y de una al otro. 


Sian Leah Beilock, Presidenta