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Barbara Walters Donates $15 Million To Sarah Lawrence In Bronxville

Barbara Walters
Barbara Walters Photo Credit: Joella Marano/Wikimedia Commons

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Sarah Lawrence College alumna Barbara Walters donated $15 million to the Bronxville school to establish The Barbara Walters Campus Center.

Walters, the noted broadcast journalist and author, and with her charitable trust have made the gift Friday. It is the largest single donation in the college’s 89-year history and comes as it prepares to enter the public phase of a capital campaign.

The Barbara Walters Campus Center, a multi-use building that will serve as the hub of student life and campus community, will bring together aspects of student engagement and day-to-day social and intellectual experiences.

The building will feature adaptable social and academic spaces, a venue suitable for large public and campus events, lounges, dining facilities, the college’s radio station, a media innovation lab, areas for career services, student clubs, activities, and collaborative work.

In addition, it will permanently house the Barbara Walters Archives (which will include edited video interviews, edited transcripts, and personal letters from the notable subjects of her interviews), which Walters announced she was donating to the college in May 2014, and the Barbara Walters Gallery, currently housed in the college’s Heimbold Visual Arts Center.

“The Barbara Walters Campus Center will stand as a tribute to Barbara Walters and her belief in the power of a Sarah Lawrence education,” President Karen R. Lawrence said. “This remarkable woman has changed the face of broadcast news by establishing her unique genre of the investigative, long-form interview. She is a powerful role model for our students, and we deeply appreciate her generosity, her vision, and her many contributions to the College. This gift will enable us to create a powerful magnet on campus – gathering spaces large and small – in which community will flourish at Sarah Lawrence College.”

“When I donated my archives to Sarah Lawrence last year, I told the graduating class at Commencement that at Sarah Lawrence I learned to ask questions,” Walter saids. “I attribute my success, in many ways, to the curiosity and confidence I came away with from this remarkable college. Today I am pleased to be able to make The Barbara Walters Campus Center a reality for future generations of Sarah Lawrence students.”

Walters has arguably interviewed more statesmen and stars than any other journalist in history. She is so well known that her name and a brief biography are listed in the American Heritage Dictionary. In September 2004, after 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent of ABC News’ “20/20,” Walters left the show to begin a new phase in her career at the network. She remains an active member of the news division and network, substantially increasing the number of prime time ABC News specials, in addition to her “Barbara Walters Specials.”

She is also creator and co-executive producer of “The View.” Over the years, Walters has received national recognition for her work and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards, including 11 Emmy Awards, and two Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

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