by Karen Doss Bowman
Brett Barth, W’93, and his wife, Natalie, have a strong interest in expanding access to higher education to outstanding students with financial need.
A former Penn Fund Executive Board member, Barth says serving the University in that capacity broadened his view of what it takes to educate Penn students.
“Natalie and I felt that getting a high-quality education and having the opportunity to go to a first-class university was the great equalizer for our own lives,” says Barth, a new member of the Penn GSE Board of Overseers. “We feel that the most important factor to driving anyone’s success is gaining access to a high-quality education at every level. And Penn is the place that is near and dear to our hearts.”
That insight prompted the Barths to support Penn in multiple ways, most recently through GSE. One of Penn’s top priorities is to boost undergraduate financial aid, and Barth has been a leader in that effort as cofounder and chair of the Undergraduate Financial Aid Leadership Council, which strives to strengthen and expand resources for financial aid.
“If you can attract people who really have a heart for an education career and are incredibly talented at it, then making their training affordable seems like a no-brainer.”
“After supporting undergraduate scholarships for many years, we thought that there was more that we could do,” Barth says. “We looked at a number of different opportunities, but what we found at GSE was by far the best in terms of the breadth and excellence of its research and educational programs.”
Impressed with Penn GSE’s strengths in training teachers for the classroom, as well as the School’s broad engagement in innovative research and educational policy, the Barths have established the Brett H. and Natalie W. Barth Scholarship Fund at GSE for master’s students studying teacher education. They are proud of the difference that the School is making throughout the United States and beyond by producing educators and leaders.
“To obtain a teaching degree and then receive a teaching salary is not an attractive monetary investment on the face of it,” says Barth, cofounder of wealth management firm BBR Partners LLC. “If you can attract people who really have a heart for an education career and are incredibly talented at it, then making their training affordable seems like a no-brainer.”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.