Barbara Shepard DC'77

Why I Give - Barbara Shepard DC’77

After graduating from Douglass with a bachelor’s degree in geology and earth science, Barbara Shepard DC’77 went on to earn an MBA from Rutgers and master’s degree in Judaic studies from Cleveland College. While Barbara started her professional career as a geologist, she eventually entered the nonprofit industry and retired in 2010 as a director at the American Jewish Committee (an international humanitarian organization). She is past president of her synagogue, Temple Sinai, and a board member of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the JCC of Houston. For over 25 years, Barbara was an avid marathoner, triathlete, and ultramarathoner. She and her husband, Stephen, have traveled and mountain trekked around the world. They are also members of the National Highpointers Club, an organization that promotes climbing to the highest point in each of the fifty U.S. states. Barbara has completed 41 of the 50 US highpoints and several highpoints overseas.  

What was your most meaningful Douglass experience?

Douglass instilled a lifelong love of learning in me, and I’ve always been grateful for that. I made friends for a lifetime at Douglass, including many strong, independent, and interesting women.  I’m still very close to my roommates. We would all go to the library and study until it closed, and then go to Moscow’s for pizza!  I have great memories of living on campus—Corwin, Jameson, and the Henderson apartments—and of both walking and taking the bus everywhere as my classes were all over New Brunswick, including on Cook, Busch, and Livingston.

Why do you make charitable gifts to Douglass?  

Education means a great deal to Stephen and me. My parents believed strongly in education. However, with five children and my father passing away at a young age, there wasn’t any money available for college. I paid for all of Douglass myself by working continuously, receiving some scholarships and grants, and taking out loans.  I want to help Douglass students with financial support so that they can earn their college degree with as little debt as possible.  Fortunately, Stephen and I are at a place in our lives where we can help others. We want to do that, and we hope they will pay it forward. 

What are your words of inspiration for the class of 2020?

Be open and accepting of new people and new experiences. You are allowed to change your mind and have different careers—it’s a part of growing. Try new things if you’re unhappy or feel stuck in your career! Look at these changes as learning and life experiences.