“We love what Barnard did for our daughters,” says Susan Henshaw Jones, mother of Alice H. Eaton ’05 and Elizabeth “Liza” K. Eaton ’07. “It helped introduce them to the world.... It gave them a sense of confidence to advance themselves, to move forward, to be of service.” Even before both daughters graduated, Jones and her husband, Richard K. Eaton, had decided they wanted to help make a Barnard education available to as many other young women as possible. And so, in 2004, the Alice Henshaw Eaton 2005 and Elizabeth Kellogg Eaton 2007 Scholarship Fund was born.
“The fund grew out of both girls’ love of their Barnard experiences and their enthusiasm for the diverse group of young women at Barnard.” Jones continues, “Clearly this kind of mix is not possible if scholarships are not available.”
Alice and Liza heartily agree. “The types of friends we made at Barnard couldn’t have been made anywhere else,” Liza says. “Everyone was so engaged—people had interests and wanted to pursue them. It was the intellectual environment I was hoping for.”
Native Upper West Siders who had moved to Washington, D.C., as children, both Eaton daughters had long wanted to go to college together. When Alice decided she wanted to go to a small liberal-arts college in a big city, she discovered that “Barnard is one of the few schools where that’s possible.” It was a match, and Liza soon followed.
A political-science major, Alice combined her interest in African development and nongovernmental organizations by taking a job after graduation with WaterAid, an international not-for-profit group that focuses on water-access issues and related policy matters in the developing world. Following two years in the New York office, where she specialized in fund- raising and program development, Alice moved to London and worked for the headquarters office part-time while getting a master’s in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics. Then came a 10-month assignment in Ethiopia, where she traveled around the country evaluating water sources and speaking with local women about issues involving water.
“I always look at any kind of development work as wanting to improve the lives of women first,” says Alice, now back in New York and thinking about her next move. “That’s definitely a Barnard value.”
Spending her first two years after graduation as a coordinator in Citigroup’s recruiting department, Liza left in September for Dublin to pursue a master’s degree in Irish literature at Trinity College. An English major with Irish predecessors on her father’s side, she grew interested in Irish literature—particularly the poetry of William Butler Yeats—through various courses. She credits her professors with “making her read in a particular way” giving her a lens through which to examine literature in a critical manner.
Thus far, the Eaton scholarship fund has supported students in social sciences and the arts, from the east coast to the west. The first Eaton scholar, Emily Bucholz ’07, was an urban- studies major from Ohio who received aid from 2004 through 2007. The following year an award went to Lidia Bardhi ’10, an architecture major from Ridgewood, New York. This past year’s recipient was Gilli Messer ’10, an anthropology and theatre major from California.
“Barnard needs to have as much flexibility as it can to give scholarships where needed, across the spectrum,” Jones says. “We would love it if our scholarship could help science-minded young women,” adding with a laugh that her own family is “not particularly science-minded.” Jones herself, a graduate of Vassar College, is currently president and Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York, while Eaton, former chief of staff for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is a judge of the U.S. Court of International Trade.
Now Alice and Liza are keeping up their own Barnard ties. Besides staying in touch with friends, they maintain connections with the College itself. Alice says, “We just started planning my five-year reunion.... I love going back— it’s such a lovely, personal campus. I have fond memories of my time there.”
-by Trudy Balch '78, photograph courtest of the Eaton Family