Barbara Goldman Aaron ’53, 1931–2013
The yearbook of Barbara Goldman Aaron ’53 was surely prophetic when it described her as “politicking, tireless, waving pom-poms overhead.” In the years following her graduation, Aaron was one of the College’s biggest boosters, all the while nurturing a beloved family and making friends wherever she went.
“Her warmth and her generosity of spirit were evident to all who knew her,” says President Kim Cassidy. “Extraordinary women, such as Barbara, have shaped Bryn Mawr and continue to have a profound impact on generations to come.”
Trustee Emeritus Betsy Havens Watkins ’61 describes Aaron as “a consummate and tireless ambassador for Bryn Mawr.” She adds, “I cannot think of any single thing that she declined to do when asked. In fact, Barbara usually volunteered before being asked, when she saw something that had to be done. Her love for and devotion to Bryn Mawr were exemplary.”
From founding and managing the BMC/Vassar bookstore in Pittsburgh for 25 years and volunteering for countless committees and reunions to serving as president of the Alumnae Association and as a long-standing trustee and trustee emeritus, Aaron did indeed embody the consummate alumna. President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. ’69, observes that “her splendid work for the Alumnae Association and then the Board of Trustees involved her with many issues before the College, and her intelligence and good sense were most appreciated by those of us on the campus. Barbara always brought energy, good humor, and kindness to our work together and became a good friend to many members of the faculty and administration.”
Originally from California, Aaron lived in Pittsburgh for 47 years with her husband, Marcus (“Pete”), before moving west again. She was devoted to her family and remarked in her 50th-reunion book that she was “settling into a relaxed life in San Francisco and the enjoyment of children and grandchildren, all of whom are in California.” In her husband, Aaron had found a kindred spirit. They shared a love of travel, good stories, and their family, as well as a desire to support each other’s alma maters in a myriad of ways. As McPherson notes, “Pete is as loyal to Bryn Mawr as he is to Princeton, and he often accompanied Barbara to events far and wide for Bryn Mawr.”
Aaron was a steadfast supporter of both The Bryn Mawr Fund and the Alumnae Regional Scholars program. Beginning in 2005, she and Pete also quietly established and built the Barbara Goldman Aaron 1953 Scholarship Fund. Although she modestly avoided public recognition for much of her work on behalf of the College, she always treasured hearing from the Aaron Scholars about how the opportunity to attend Bryn Mawr had transformed their lives.
Fellow Trustee Susan Savage Speers ’51 remarks that Aaron’s “enthusiasm for the College emitted from every pore, and I always enjoyed the way she presided: with humor and grace. Heaven help the disaffected alum when Barbara moved in on her—she didn’t have a chance.” This is because, as Watkins points out, Aaron “so valued and nurtured the relations of alumnae with the College. Barbara may have invented the concept of ‘networking’, and she really cared about our communicating and connecting with each other.”
Her enthusiasm and advocacy extended beyond Bryn Mawr to the Pittsburgh and San Francisco communities as well. She served on the boards of The Ellis School, the John F. Heinz History Center, and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and was active in the United Jewish Federation.
Thus, it is fitting that Aaron’s legacy will be to continue making a meaningful difference in others’ lives. As Director Emeritus of the Alumnae Association Jane Miller Unkefer ’55 reflects, “Barbara was my campus guide and probably responsible for my coming to Bryn Mawr. To this day, she represents the best of Bryn Mawr to me; she was smart, organized, a superb leader, and a caring and loyal friend. But best of all she was fun.”
Dick Gonzalez, 1929–2014
Dick Gonzalez, Class of 1897 Professor Emeritus of Psychology, passed away on March 6, 2014. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Texas and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Gonzalez joined the Bryn Mawr College community in 1959 as a lecturer and was successively named assistant professor in 1961, associate professor in 1963, and full professor in 1968. That same year, he became chair of the department and served in that role for nearly 20 years. In 1979, he was appointed the Class of 1897 Professor of Science, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. He returned to the College, following his retirement, teaching in the Psychology Department from 1998 to 2001 as a Katharine E. McBride Professor.
Throughout his career, Gonzalez focused his research on the comparative psychology of learning and motivation. An expert in the field of Pavlovian conditioning, his research used pigeons, rats, and goldfish to study the evolution of intelligence. A special focus of this research was how the evolution of the brain, as seen in different species, relates to the evolution of cognitive processes. His research was supported by significant grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and recognized by Cambridge University, at which he spent a year in the Department of Experimental Psychology in the ’80s.
Gonzalez was a frequent reviewer for a number of professional journals in his field, including the American Journal of Psychology, Science, Learning and Motivation, Psychological Bulletin, and Psychological Review, and served on the board of editors of the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology from 1975 to 1980. He was also active in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Psychonomic Society and was a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.
John S. Price, 1923-2014
John S. Price, a trustee of the College since 1955, passed away in his home on February 22, 2014, of cancer. Born in Chestnut Hill, Price earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and studied business practices at Columbia University. He reported for active Army duty in September 1943 and served as a forward observer in an armored field artillery battalion in Europe during WWII. John served at Normandy, and in military campaigns in the Rhineland, the Ardennes, and Central Europe. He was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal for his service. When the war ended, he became an officer in the U.S. Military Government and was honorably discharged from Fort Dix, NJ, in May 1946 with the rank of first lieutenant. In returning to civilian life, Price worked in the publishing industry in New York before deciding in 1950 to devote his energies to the arts and cultural activities in Philadelphia and Italy. For 60 years, Price was president and executive director of the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia. In 1995, he was awarded the Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana from then-president Oscar Luigi Scalfaro for his work with Italy.
Price was married for 66 years to the former Martha Eastburn Stokes ’47, who died in 2009. He is survived by two sons, Nicholas and Philip; 14 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; a brother; and two sisters.