The Packer Collegiate Institute: A Story of Education in Brooklyn

Shelby Baier White

Shelby Baier White Class of 1957

Shelby Baier White, Class of 1957 is an author, collector and philanthropist. Along with her late husband, Leon Levy, she has a passionate interest in the ancient world, which is the focus of much of her philanthropy. Shelby is the Founding Trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation in 2004. In 2007, Shelby helped create the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, a center for advanced research and graduate education at New York University. The Foundation also supports arts and humanities institutions, gardens and bird conservation, neuroscience research and human rights. Through the Leon Levy Foundation, Shelby has been a leading donor to Brooklyn’s major institutions, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Public Library. Shelby also helped create, with the Bahamas National Trust, the First National Park on the island of Eleuthera.

Through its signature Leon Levy Foundation Archives and Catalogues Program, the Foundation is currently supporting the cataloguing of Packer’s institutional records dating to 1843 at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Shelby serves on the boards of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York University, The Institute for Advanced Study, The New York Botanical Garden, The Bard Graduate Center, and the Writers Room, and is Chairman of the Board of the American Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Shelby Baier White received a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MA from Columbia University.

Shelby received a Sesquicentennial Award from Packer in 1995. Her very generous gift to the Building on Success campaign led to the creation of Packer’s Belle Alenick Baier Atrium. She has been an advisor to the Board of Trustees and is a loyal and generous alumna.

Accepting the award in the Chapel, Shelby said of her years at Packer, “I learned so much about learning for its own sake. I learned to succeed, by applying what I knew.”

Brooklyn Historical Society interviewed Ms. White as part of it’s Voices of Brooklyn oral history collection: Civic Leaders series. The interview may be accessed through BHS’s Oral History Portal.