Debora L. Spar
President of the Lincoln Center & Author

Debora L. Spar is the president of the Lincoln Center, former president of Barnard College, and author of numerous books, including Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection. This book explores how American women’s lives have—and have not—changed over the past fifty years. Arguing that women have gotten stuck in an endless quest for perfection, Spar calls for a change in gender norms. Her August 2020 release Work Mate Marry Love offers an incisive and provocative account of how technology has transformed our intimate lives in the past, and how it will do so again in the future.


Spar is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and received her doctorate in government from Harvard. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as a director of Goldman Sachs; a director of Value Retail, LLC; and a trustee of the Wallace Foundation. Prior to coming to Barnard, Spar was the Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.While at Harvard, she taught courses on the politics of international business, comparative capitalism, and economic development.


President Spar is married to Miltos Catomeris, an architect whose specialty is academic, institutional and corporate campuses. They are the parents of three children.


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Work Mate Marry LoveHow Machines Shape Our Human Destiny
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A crucial guide to life before—and after—Tinder, IVF, and robots. What will happen to our notions of marriage and parenthood as reproductive technologies increasingly allow for newfangled ways of creating babies? In short, what will happen to our most basic notions of humanity as we entangle our lives and emotions with the machines we have created? In Work Mate Marry Love, former Barnard College president Debora L. Spar offers an incisive and provocative account of how technology has transformed our intimate lives in the past, and how it will do so again in the future.

Wonder WomenSex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection

In this groundbreaking and compulsively readable book, Spar explores how American women's lives have―and have not―changed over the past fifty years. Armed with reams of new research, she details how women struggled for power and instead got stuck in an endless quest for perfection. The challenges confronting women are more complex than ever, and they are challenges that come inherently and inevitably from being female. Spar is acutely aware that it's time to change course.

Wonder Women Debora L. Spar discusses the role of women in today's society and examines how far women really have come. And, more importantly, Spar asks, what will it take to get true equality?

Work Mate Marry Love was recommended as an August 2020 pick at Library Journal.

Read Debora’s op-ed in the New York Times “Aging and My Beauty Dilemma.”

Listen to Debora as a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”

Debora receives honorary degree at Marymount Manhattan College.

Read about Debora’s appointment as president of the Lincoln Center

Follow Debora Spar on Twitter.

Praise for Wonder Women

"Tactfully navigating heated debates and effectively contextualizing historical trends and contemporary problems, Spar's book will be welcomed by readers who envision a world ‘driven by women's skills and interests and passions as much as by men's.’”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Debora L. Spar tackles—and dispels—the myth of perfection with intelligence and humor. Wonder Women is a terrific read.”
—Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of the bestselling Lean In

“Wonder Women is the book I’d give my daughter as a guide to navigating the challenges of being a woman in twenty-first-century America. Debora L. Spar’s is a wise, calm, eloquent voice; she offers essential caution against the idea that anybody can live a life without trade-offs and imperfections, but she does this without ever losing hold of the righteous passion of the feminist movement.”
—Nicholas Lemann, author of Redemption

"Debora spoke to a large group of Manatt women professionals and clients. She was interesting, thought-provoking, and entertaining, leaving everyone talking about the issues Debora raised and their impact on our lives."
—Timi Anyon Hallem, Partner at Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips