“Barnard likes goddesses,” President Debora L. Spar announced to a packed crowd of close to 300 alumnae, faculty, students and friends of Barnard College at the November 9 “Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece”  event at the Onassis Cultural Center. “We have a goddess moment going on. Our seal is a goddess, our one statue on campus is a goddess, the medal I wear at graduation is Athena and her owl.”

And of course there’s Barnard’s own “goddess,” Diana Vagelos, the benefactress and namesake of the Diana Center, who acted as the evening’s emcee. The event, designed by Maryangela Moutoussis, Alumnae Affairs Manager, also offered the opportunity to hear Prof. Helene Foley, chair of Barnard’s Classics department discuss what it means to be heroic.

We look to the Greeks and Romans for their myths,” she said. Barnard’s own deities on campus reflect “the pursuit of intelligent reason, the unencumbered life of peers, and a competition where everyone wins.”

The exhibit itself featured displays of ancient Greek pottery, usually depicting scenes from the mythic stories of Herakles, Ulysses and Achilles, with some featuring Helen of Troy; bronze figures, reliefs, and other vessels. There were also scenes of heroes defeating Amazon women.
Ultimately, noted President Spar, “We like to celebrate heroes and especially heroines. We want to understand what heroism means, what heroism represents and what we can learn from those who are heroes and heroines.”

View additional photos from the event here.