Barbara S. Robinson: Advocating Arts

The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) looks for a group of overseers to bring "long-range perspectives" to the University with expertise in a variety of categories.

And the organization has already made clear the spot it hopes Barbara S. Robinson will fill.

"The HAA wanted someone to do the things that John Lithgow was dong to increase the visibility of arts on campus," says John D. Miller, an HAA regional director.

She graduated from the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration in 1952--a program that was founded in 1937 and lasted until women were granted full admission to the Harvard Business School.

Robinson currently chairs the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Ohio Arts Council and Arts Midwest, all organizations which support arts programs throughout the country.

She also led a successful campaign in 1989 that defeated a move by Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts.

"The woman has an unparalleled track record of leading organizations effectively," Miller says. "And the opposition she organized to Jesse Helms' program really shows she can get things done."

Before her work with agencies promoting the spread of the arts, Robinson was a piano soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Robinson has been especially successful in the field of fundraising for the non-profit agencies she has been a part of. When the budget of the Ohio Arts Council was severely cut in 1993, Robinson was able to bring the Council back to its former level of funds within four years.

"What she does, she does extremely well, and she shows an incredible ability to innovate," Miller says.

Robinson was unavailable for comment.