A sizable donation of two million dollars was gifted earlier this semester by alumna Suzanne Arkin, a past Editor-in-chief of the Phoenix, to Sarah Lawrence’s burgeoning science department. The Suzanne Arkin Endowment hopes to attract students interested in the sciences, but unsure of a classical liberal arts education.
Sarah Lawrence has long stood as a college directed specifically at the liberal arts, and while that focus will most likely still remain, the Suzanne Arkin endowment will greatly influence the course of Sarah Lawrence’s Science department for many years to come. The donation is set to Transform the school’s science program, said Dean of the College Kanwal Singh. “While the College is well known for the arts and humanities, our pedagogy, which gives students research experience from day one, is also particularly well suited for the sciences.”
Arkin’s clearest inspiration for the donation comes from her son, who has a degree in the sciences. When asked on this matter, she explained that she had originally set to make out the donation in her will, but her son convinced her to accept an early endowment. She contacted the fundraising department, who she explained were “courteous and kind,” and, “incredibly helpful as I expected them to be.” Eventually, she hopes to give Sarah Lawrence students meaningful jobs in the sciences as well as extern and internships.
Arkin emphasized that the sciences are an important part of today’s workforce, and said she hopes to see a Nobel laureate in the school’s future. As the country as a whole becomes more acclimated towards scientific endeavors, she explained, so too must liberal arts schools in order to stay competitive. The hope is that in the foreseeable future Sarah Lawrence will be able to exercise a formidable science department. When and if that happens will be the real test of the Susan Arkin endowment. She described her own time as a student at Sarah Lawrence, remembering, “There was only a beaker and a microscope, [so] I hope to be able to give students the right materials to carry out their research.”
Zachary McInnis '20