Virginia Girard: 'I hope to become a curator so that I may preserve art for future generations.'

April 26, 2017

Virginia Girard

History of Art

Hillsborough, CA

Why did you choose Cornell?

I choose Cornell because I knew I wanted to study art history, and a visit to the Johnson Museum in high school convinced me this was the place to be. With a collection of 35,000 works that spans six millennia, and curators who are eager to interact with students, one can find art relating to nearly every world culture. The opportunity to learn from this institution in addition to the faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences is unique to Cornell University. Coming from the Bay Area of California, I was curious to experience New York, but I was looking for a school in a rural environment. Cornell provides all of the resources of a university in a major city, but maintains an appreciation for the environment and a respect for the campus surroundings.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

“Any person, any study,” is not a phrase Cornell takes lightly, and after four years here, I do not either. Coming from a high school that emphasized studies in science and technology, I was expecting to find Arts & Sciences to be similarly weighted towards STEM majors. However, I have found every major in Arts & Sciences is treated with equal respect, and I myself have learned to appreciate fields of study that are out of my depth. I realized that connecting with students is not about studying the same subject, but understanding that we share the same passion for our majors.

What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?

This fall I will begin a master's program in art history in London, and I hope to obtain my Ph.D. in the U.S. Over the next decade I would like to continue researching and writing about art, making contributions to academia and engaging the public with art history. I hope to become a curator in a major institution so that I may preserve art for future generations; it is especially important today that the arts continue to serve as a source of inspiration and a means of connecting people of all cultures.

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