Barbara Goldburg Donor Profile
by Ian Wisekal
For someone who is “not a musician,” Barbara Goldburg has led a remarkably musical life. In addition to her work with the Lamont Society since 1983, for which she served two years as president, the Denver native played the piano in her youth and now focuses on the guitar, which she has been studying for over 30 years.
It was Marion Gottesfeld, the former DU trustee and Goldburg family friend, who first called upon Barbara and Jan Friedland to help reinvent the support group for Lamont. At the time, Goldburg was volunteering for Rose Medical, Kempe and Arapahoe Mental Health Centers, writing and presenting programs on mental health to K–8 students. Gottesfeld was “a dynamo…the kind of person you didn’t say ‘no’ to,” Goldburg remembered, and her suggestion proved perceptive: Goldburg immediately took to Lamont.
“Lamont has the joyful component,” Goldburg said. When Joseph Docksey, then Lamont’s director, encouraged her to serve as president of what was known as Lamont Music Associates, she was honored. “I’m so appreciative of the work the professors do and the work the students do to become musicians,” she said. To showcase this day-to-day work—not just the polished, stage-lit performances—Goldburg instituted what is now called Day at Lamont. This annual event, which gives Lamont Society donors the opportunity to sit in on classes, rehearsals and lessons, has become the most popular donor event each year. “It’s what I’m most proud of,” Goldburg revealed.
Another innovation was to open the doors of many Lamont Society events (lectures, faculty performances and the like) to donors at all levels, greatly increasing participation and involvement. To Goldburg, the change was not only philosophical but pragmatic: “I still think it’s the best deal in the city,” she said. “Lamont is a great gift to this community.”
Over the years, Goldburg has gotten to know and follow the careers of many Lamont students. One such relationship started with a recital: when Julian Bohorquez, a clarinet alumnus, played his senior recital at Lamont, Goldburg was struck by his brilliant musicianship and warm demeanor. The two became friends, and when Julian went to Pittsburgh for graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon, Goldburg connected him with her daughter, Carol, who is an economics professor there. Bohorquez ended up living with Carol during the school year, and he stayed in touch with the Goldburg family. Barbara was thrilled to attend Julian’s marriage to Lamont alumna Katie Bloise in 2019.
During the pandemic, Goldburg has remained active, albeit closer to home. Instead of “an awful lot of running around,” she has indulged in domestic pleasures, such as knitting and tending to her cat, Saul. And, like students across the globe, Goldburg has pivoted to remote learning. Her classes in Kabbalah, a discipline in Jewish mysticism that she has studied for 14 years, have moved to Zoom; her short story book club meets online; and she frequently attends virtual lectures from One Day University, an adult education program. When we spoke, Goldburg was excited about that day’s lecture, “The Meanings of Freedom,” from a professor at Rutgers University. “I’m busy; I’m never bored,” she assured me.
Like everyone in the Lamont community, Goldburg looks forward to returning to live events in the Newman Center. While she has enjoyed Lamont’s online offerings, she said, “Every time I walk into the wonderful building, it just makes me happy.” We look forward to welcoming back Goldburg, and all our wonderful supporters and patrons, just as soon as we can.