We are excited to shine a spotlight on some of our wonderful Bard donors and encourage you to read their stories and interviews to learn about their love of Bard and why they feel inspired to give. Every gift allows Bard to hold its place as an institution of excellence that is driven by a love of learning, and supported by the generosity of our alumni/ae, parents, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, friends, and foundations.
P.S. Want to see yourself featured here? We thank you in advance for your gift and ask that you email [email protected] for next steps. We would love to shine a spotlight on you!
Eric Goldman ’98
From Rochester, New York, to Turkey and China, to Phoenix, Arizona, and the Czech Republic, to Greece and numerous places in between, Eric Goldman ’98 has made it possible for students from all over the world to receive a Bard education. Since 1982, Eric has annually supported talented students in the fields of economics or social studies through the Eric Warren Goldman ’98 Endowed Scholarship Fund, with 49 scholars and counting. Read his full story to learn more about Eric’s time at Bard and how his generosity has helped shaped the College.
Eric Goldman ’98
From Rochester, NY to Turkey and China to Phoenix, AZ and the Czech Republic to Greece and numerous places in between, Eric Goldman '98 has made it possible for students from all over the world to receive a Bard education. Since 1982, Eric has annually supported talented students in the fields of economics or social studies through the Eric Warren Goldman '98 Endowed Scholarship Fund. 49 Scholars and counting.
While these students have all matriculated into Bard directly from high school, Eric’s route to Bard was far different. Although he graduated from Bard with the class of 1998, Eric was already recognized as a successful entrepreneur. Eric headed straight for Wall Street after graduating from high school. Within just a few years, his financial acumen propelled him from an initial internship in arbitrage into the realm of investment banking. In his early twenties, he was written about in Fortune and profiled on NBC. He was a financial wunderkind. Over the next decade, Eric’s business expertise extended to several ventures: energy and alternative energy companies, a laser manufacturing firm, and a restructuring firm. A true multi-talented Bardian.
Eric entered Bard through what was then the Continuing Studies Program, a program to provide adults returning to college with the opportunity to study for a Bard degree. He focused on American Studies. Dick Wiles was his advisor and with whom he maintained a life-long relationship. Eric’s senior project, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Revelations from his Hudson Valley Heritage,” an exploration of F.D.R’s “laboratory” for social and economic experiments, led him to spend many hours in the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park. As a returning student, Bard let him pursue his education according to a schedule that allowed him to work at the same time.
From a young age, Eric demonstrated his strong sense of social responsibility through volunteerism and philanthropy. Eric became involved with Bard in 1979 through his interest in the construction of the new arts center, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center. Additional funds were needed to complete the facility, and thanks to his generosity it opened in 1981. The college’s trustees invited Eric to join the board and he served from 1981-1985. As a Trustee, he spearheaded Bard’s first endowment campaign and worked tirelessly on innovative curriculum and programmatic changes.
Since then, Eric has championed and generously supported other building projects and programs on campus: the Bertelsmann Campus Center, Richard. B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, and the Anne Cox Chambers Alumni/ae Center. Most recently, his efforts helped create and support the Bard Center for the Study of Hate. As a member of the Bard College Alumni/ae Association Board of Governors since 2004, Eric led the Board of Governors Endowed Scholarship Fund as part of its 150th Anniversary Campaign. A collector of art and antiquities, he has donated several prized artifacts; a letter by composer Gustav Mahler and paintings by Milton Avery, for instance. His generosity and tireless advocacy for Bard has inspired others to support the college from alumni/ae to neighbors to philanthropists.
In 2018 Bard awarded Eric the Bard Medal, the alumni/ae association's highest honor. His citation noted: "We honor you for your forty years of service and dedication to Bard. Your bond with Bard began, improbably, as a benefactor and trustee. Your philanthropic efforts created the Milton Avery Arts Center and secured the future of the MFA Graduate Program, now one of the leading programs in the country. You then did the improbable: you chose to take a break in your career and attend college. You chose Bard. Taking a pause in a brilliant career in finance you became an undergraduate student, completing your BA in American Studies. Your love of art, your commitment to education, and the study of economics and history were strengthened by your experience as a student and led you, as an alumnus, to support scholarships, the library, and new initiatives at the College. You have been a tireless and articulate leader within the College's alumni/ae association. The Bard Medal marks the deep gratitude and admiration of your alma mater."
Eric Warren Goldman Scholars often stay in contact with Eric following their graduation. These communications led to the formation of the Bardians in Finance affinity group which meets regularly to network, talk about the latest financial and economic trends, and mentor current students and younger Bardians.
Professionally, in recent years Eric has devoted his time to the EWG Consulting Group and the Extended Family Office Group to assist individuals and families with their philanthropy, provide advice on legacies, estate planning, and art advising, among other areas. His core beliefs in helping others from an ethical and unbiased perspective inform his business practices.
As Eric has said repeatedly, “I believe in helping students with opportunities that they couldn’t normally have. And, you influence the life of a student scholar, and they make an impact on the world and their professions. And, hopefully they will give back, too.”
Bard is deeply grateful to Eric for his commitment to a liberal arts education as a pathway to an enriched and informed life. His generous philanthropy offers a Bard education to talented students and significantly enhances the welfare of the College.
Youssef Kerkour ’00
Youssef Kerkour ’00 majored in Drama and Dance at Bard. He has been a supporter of the Bard College Fund since 2019. To find out more about his love of Bard, why he gives, and the very special person he would like to have dinner with, be sure to read his full interview.
Youssef Kerkour ’00
My name is: Youssef Kerkour . . . aka Yousoft, aka Sephalufagus, aka Wikipedia.
My major at Bard was: Drama/Dance
The snack I could eat an entire bag of is: Chex Mix. As a foreign student in the US for the first time, I stood no chance. I remember borrowing my friend Erin's car one Freshman semester and driving to the Super K-Mart in Kingston at 3am to buy shedloads of Chex Mix. I also bought about $200 worth of stuff because . . . see above about standing no chance.
I never leave home without: Deep question. Twenty years ago, and certainly in the years after Bard, I would have said "50 cents in quarters". It was my emergency phone call money and I saved it through thick and thin. No matter how broke. It was my ejector-seat money. Today I never leave home without my wedding ring and picture of my kids.
I would love to have dinner with: Leon Botstein! When I first got to Bard he had not been to the theater to watch student shows in a while and in my arrogance I believed I should convince him otherwise. I asked for a meeting and found myself sat in front of him at his home and we debated the case. I found him just as kind, gentle, and powerful as he appears on stage! To his credit, he came to our shows after that but I now wish I used that opportunity to pick that brain of his about all manner of things. With my brawn and his brains, we'd make lots of money.
I spent countless hours on campus in/at: I mean does anyone not say Blithewood? Haha. I spent way too much time there. The brochure said "A place to think" so I thought 'Challenge accepted!' I remember they forecast lightning one year and when the rain started, I sprinted to Blithewood from my dorm room in Tewks to watch the chain lightning on the river. Pure magic. Also, glow-in-the-dark rocks, come on!!
I knew Bard was the right place for me when: Talking to Professor Bob Rockman about Shakespeare, freshman year. Here was a Jewish professor emeritus, talking to a young Muslim kid from Morocco about Shakespeare which they both had a passion for. He was curious about my culture in a way that I had assumed would be hard to find in the US. We would talk about our faith and I found him returning time and again to the similarities and shared experiences. He came to represent what Bard was for me. A place where difference is not a barrier to connection and communication. It was a wonderful feeling and that feeling is what my memory of Bard consists of.
A special ability I learned while at Bard was: Endurance in the theater! I was cast in all three plays the theater department put on each semester. I don't think anyone had done that in decades and fortunately I continued doing 6 plays a year until I graduated. I learned how to hang in there longer than most could. When I joined the Royal Shakespeare Company I did the same thing; all three plays, all understudy versions of the plays. The RSC works actors to the depth of the bone under normal circumstances, so that work load I took on was extreme to say the least. However, I was asked to return year after year and remained at the RSC for the next 5 years. Bard prepared me for it without a shadow of a doubt. Also . . . eating quickly. Two full trays from Kline. Every station. All the sauces. All the drinks. Boom, down in about 8 minutes.
When I go back to campus, the first place I’ll go is: Blithewood and the old Avery Theater grounds, then to the "new" theatre.
When I think of Bard now, I think of: The Bard Prison Initiative. My friend Max had an idea while we were still at Bard and he developed it into what I genuinely believe is the future of incarceration reform. I have no doubt it's an uphill battle to get the US to roll out similar programs nationwide. It's perhaps not profitable to the current prison model to churn out reformed prisoners who can boast a near 0% re-offending rate . . . all thanks to their Bard degree. But I really believe in it as a sort of Archimedes Lever for the reformation of individuals. Education and its potential as a force for good in the world is an often quoted concept but the BPI seems to manifest it in reality. I'm incredibly proud to know it exists and to be associated with Bard as a result.
I also think of all the wonderful professors and members of staff who are no longer with us and who gave their time and made me feel so welcome. Those quiet afternoons in the theater department, smoking and doing the NY Times crossword with Natalie Lunn. Dancing Flamenco with Aileen Passloff as she chipped away at my self doubt. Lunches with Bob Rock. Frank Oja encouraging me to pursue acting as a career. Bill Driver, Jeff Sichel, Naomi Thornton, Lenore Latimer . . . so many wonderful memories.
I give back to Bard because: I found a home when I went to Bard. I didn't move to the US from Morocco. I moved to Bard. I give to Bard because I know how valuable a campus like that is in today's fractured world. Knowing there's a place in Annandale-on-Hudson where people are putting in the effort to make sure that they understand themselves and their fellows better is a comfort. They go out of their way to understand what causes offence to someone and how to avoid it. To try and constantly make the world that little bit better. When I meet a Bardian I kinda know exactly who I have in front of me. That's pretty special. It's worth supporting!
Max Ellenbogen ’16 and Maeve Weber ’16
Max Ellenbogen ’16 and Maeve Weber ’16 are the third generation of Ellenbogens to meet and fall in love on Bard’s campus. They have been supporters of the Bard College Fund since 2017. Find out why they give, where they spent most of their time on campus, and a bit about their dog Gracie.
Max Ellenbogen ’16 and Maeve Weber ’16
Our names are: Max Ellenbogen and Maeve Weber
Our majors at Bard were: Economics (Max) and Political Studies (Maeve)
The snacks we could eat an entire bag of are: Tostitos Hint of Lime and Swedish Fish
We never leave home without: Gracie, our 5 year old Black Lab/Basset Hound mix, goes just about everywhere with us. We rescued Gracie the summer after graduating Bard.
We spent countless hours on campus at: DTR. From early breakfast sandwiches to late night toasted muffins, Down The Road cafe was the beginning and the end to so many adventures while at Bard. The staff at DTR nicknamed Max "Double Chicken" because all of his orders included double the amount of chicken. Ironically, both of us no longer eat meat.
We knew Bard was the college for us when: Max: I took annual trips to Bard campus throughout my childhood but never fully appreciated it. It was not until I was looking at other colleges to apply when I realized how special Bard truly is. Maeve: I originally toured Bard on a cold, damp day in December. I knew Bard was the right place for me when I fell in love with the school even in the freezing rain.
A special ability we learned while at Bard was: Max taught Maeve to drive his manual transmission car on the back roads around Bard.
We give back to Bard because: Max's family has a long history at Bard. Max's grandmother, Kit Ellenbogen, graduated class of 1952 and credits Bard for breaking her free from her difficult childhood. Bard was the first place she felt free and it allowed her to live a life she otherwise never would have. It is important to us both to continue carrying this torch to help allow others find the freedom that Kit felt.
Anything else you’d like to share or say about Bard: We met at Bard in 2013 and became engaged to be married last June of 2020. Bard was the beginning of our adventure together and we are excited to be the third generation of Ellenbogens to have met at Bard, following Max's grandparents (Kit 1952 and Saul 1950) and parents (Anthony 1982 and Kristina 1983). Every fall we now have a tradition of returning to the Hudson Valley to go apple picking and visit campus, reminiscing of our time there.
Daisy Rosato ’16
Daisy Rosato ’16 majored in Theater and Performance and German Studies during her time at Bard, and has since gone on to become a filmmaker and screenwriter. Daisy has been giving to the Bard College Fund since 2018. To find out why, be sure to read her full interview.
Daisy Rosato ’16
My name is: Daisy Rosato
My major at Bard was: A joint major in Theater and Performance and German Studies
The snack I could eat an entire bag of is: Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips
I never leave home without: My watch
I would love to have dinner with: My mom, or Barry Jenkins, or both!
I spent countless hours on campus at: The library/the Fisher Center
I knew Bard was the college for me when: I went to the first day of L&T . . . or maybe sooner when I met my roommates in Leonard, many of whom are still close friends.
A special ability I learned while at Bard was: How to change a tire
When I go back to campus, the first place I’ll go is: Blithewood
When I think of Bard now, I think of: A place I am proud to be part of and that I know will continue to better itself for every one of its students
I give back to Bard because: Without the funding that I received while at Bard, I wouldn't have been able to do all that I did and continue to work towards today. I give back and pass it forward to the next generation at Bard.
We welcome gifts of any kind, but encourage donations to Bard’s greatest need, through the Bard College Fund. Make a donation today and email us at [email protected] to tell us why you are inspired to give!