Million Gift Launches Sally Kerlin Institute
“Sally” Kerlin ’36, demonstrated a lifelong
commitment to Bank Street. After graduating from Radcliffe in
1934, Sally considered becoming a doctor. Then a friend told
her about a new school for teachers with a unique progressive
philosophy of education that was starting up in an old warehouse.
A first visit impressed her so much that she chose to enroll
at Bank Street as a graduate student. For the next sixty years,
she served Bank Street as a student, teacher and alumna. She
became a member of the Board of Trustees in 1954, and served
as Board President from 1956 to 1963. In 1998, she became a
life trustee, one of only five ever elected.
Sally embodied Bank Street’s kind of independent thinking,
and she also exemplified compassionate giving. In her many years
at Bank Street she was particularly committed to both environmental
education and hands-on learning. In December 2001, she and her
husband, Gilbert Kerlin, put their interest in the environment
into concrete terms: they established the $4 million Sally Kerlin
Endowment for the Teaching of the Natural and Environmental
Sally died on December 23, 2001, at the age of 89, but her legacy
continues—as it has for three generations. Her daughter,
an alumna, now serves on the Board of Trustees and a granddaughter
earned her master’s in 2000.
In addition to the Kerlin gift, which benefits all programs
in the institution, Sally left in her will an additional $400,000
unrestricted bequest to the Bank Street College Endowment Fund.
This gift helps ensure that the College has the needed funds
to continue providing the unique Bank Street education it always
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