Columbia College Alumni Association

Close Search

You are here

From the President

Headshot of Sherri Pancer Wolf ’90
Meet the New CCAA President

Sherri Pancer Wolf ’90 became president of the Columbia College Alumni Association in January 2023 and is only the second woman to lead the association in its nearly 200-year history. Columbia College Today interviewed Wolf in February to learn more about her College experience as a student and as an alumna, what she finds rewarding about giving back, and her vision to strengthen the CCAA.

Congratulations on your new role! How are you feeling about it?

Thank you; I am very excited! Living in Greater Boston, I first got involved with the CCAA Board of Directors so I could stay connected to Columbia and NYC. It ended up being so much more than that for me — I was able to enjoy programs that connected me with students and faculty and helped me develop meaningful relationships with other alumni. I am now very excited to get more alumni involved in existing programs as well as create programs that will further strengthen our community.

What brought you to the College? What was your experience like?

Choosing the College was an easy decision for me. I grew up in a small town in New Jersey and my family would make trips into the city a few times a year to see Broadway shows and for other events. I always felt like a visitor, but I could not wait to become a local. Also, my father grew up in the Bronx and my mother in Washington Heights, so they were thrilled that I chose to attend a school in their hometown.

In 1986, I was a part of the fourth fully coeducational class — but more significantly, it was the first class in a fully coeducational College. I loved the Core Curriculum; when I studied in London for a semester, my experience was more poignant because I had a broadened perspective on art and music. My time at Columbia was special — some of my best friends are from Columbia, my most challenging and rewarding academic experiences were at Columbia and my life journey generally began and was framed there.

I majored in economics, and began my 30-year career in finance as an analyst on Wall Street after graduation. Then I got an M.B.A. from MIT’s Sloan School in 1994 and became very interested in the technology sector. I enjoyed roles as a technology equity research analyst and as an executive at an internet company, and I worked with several startups. I am currently a CFO at a division of Bain & Co. My husband, Doug Wolf ’88, and I recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We live in Newton, Mass., and have three children: Stephanie, Ally ’21 and Jason ’24.

What volunteer experiences have you had with Columbia as an alumna? What made you decide to give back?

I have been an Alumni Representative Committee interviewer, Columbia College Fund Class Agent and co-chair of my 25th Reunion Committee, and Doug and I host the annual Summer Sendoff for incoming students in the Boston area. Most recently I was co-chair of the College Fund.

My most rewarding volunteer experiences have been roles with Columbia College Women and the CCAA. I was co-president of CCW and led its relaunch in 2015. We rewrote the mission statement, restructured the organization and introduced a range of new programming. It was inspiring to highlight and celebrate the professional accomplishments of female graduates and to make this a cornerstone of CCW’s new programming strategy. On the CCAA board I co-chaired the committee that launched the Odyssey Mentoring Program. I’ve loved seeing how important a resource OMP has become, both for students to connect with alumni and for alumni to help students as they navigate their Columbia journey. My relationships with my own mentees have become important in my life — I recently attended the wedding of one!

Was there a volunteer experience that was particularly meaningful for you?

Yes. Spearheading the 2017 conference that brought more than 300 alumni and students together to celebrate 30 years of coeducation at the College. It took months to plan and was an opportunity to work closely with my talented CCW Board as well as to showcase successful alumnae. Panels, lectures and workshops were led by alumnae who had broken ground in finance, science, media, entrepreneurship and the arts. I was very proud of the strong reception and immediate impact: We were able to engage a lot more alumnae with CCW. In conjunction with the event we launched the Alumnae Leadership Circle, which has increased female-driven philanthropy at the College. Overall, it was extremely rewarding to be a part of elevating the voice and perspective of Columbia women.

You’ve become CCAA president at an important moment for the College — as we begin a new chapter under Dean Josef Sorett’s leadership. What are you most excited for?

I have spent time with Dean Sorett and found his warmth and passion for the College to be energizing. There is an excitement on campus about his fresh perspective. I am thrilled to work with him and help him to strengthen the lifelong relationship that every student and former student has with the College.

What do you see as the greatest strengths of the CCAA, and where do you see opportunities for growth?

The CCAA’s greatest strength is the incredible group of alumni volunteers who comprise the board and its many committees. And as the CCAA has continually become more diverse in its membership, its value has grown and the opportunities to engage alumni have expanded. Our primary goal is to help, support and engage our alumni, but there are always areas to deepen our connections with students, build a stronger bridge with faculty and expand our reach geographically. For example, we recently launched Columbia College West Coast to celebrate the West Coast community through local events, the first of which are happening this month in L.A. and San Francisco. I hope to introduce more creative ways like this for our alumni to come together, no matter where they live.