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Dean Quigley’s Message to the College Community

May 21, 2008

When the students return to Columbia this fall, my term as Dean will become the second longest in the College’s history. 2008-09 will be the fourteenth year it has been my privilege to serve as Dean and it will also be the final year. Deciding when to move on from a position of responsibility is always a challenge, but wisdom is on the side of doing so when things continue to go well, so that a successor will have the opportunity to steer that positive momentum toward new priorities.

The fundamental responsibility of any Dean of the College is to leave the institution in better shape than one found it and I have sought every year to pursue that goal. I do not need to detail here the familiar record of progress in the College: admissions statistics, facilities renewal, fundraising levels, faculty investments, curricular innovations, student achievements, financial-aid upgrades, student services enhancements, alumni program initiatives, and so on have all characterized College renewal in the last thirteen years. I would rather reiterate what I have emphasized so many times before: success on so many fronts is always collective success, not that of any single individual. It has been my good fortune to work closely with a talented College staff, a dedicated faculty, a creative and supportive university leadership, a deeply committed group of alumni and parents, and a remarkably talented student body. Together, we have strengthened an already prestigious undergraduate College to make it one of the most sought after educational institutions in the land, carefully preserving its long established historical character while setting new goals and instituting new traditions. Our collective achievements have always been precisely that, collective.

Like so many Columbians, I began my life in a place some distance from here and in a world very different from that of Columbia University in the City of New York. But like so many others, mine has become, in enduring ways, a Columbia life, and my pride at feeling a valued member of the Columbia family is reward enough for the part I have had the good fortune to play in making Columbia just a little bit better.

I look forward to my final year as Dean and to many opportunities to thank so many of you personally for providing your wisdom, committing your energies, sharing your resources, and strengthening our beloved College.

With all good wishes,
Austin Quigley