Thank You

Thanks to the generous support and participation of alumni, parents, students and friends, Columbia College had another successful year, raising $29 million in Fiscal Year 2013–2014, including $17.6 million for the Columbia College Fund, to support undergraduate education. Gifts to the College help students find their voices and pursue their dreams. Your generosity gives students access to world-renowned faculty who challenge their perceptions and open their minds to new ideas. Your gifts provide opportunities for students to discover their passions, hone their talents and skills, and explore careers. The College is able to provide an exceptional undergraduate experience for its students thanks to the more than 15,000 donors to the College, Arts and Sciences, Athletics and the Columbia Libraries, and the more than 2,000 volunteers who partnered with us this year.

See Our Volunteers See Our Donors

Columbia College Fund Success

The College Fund had its 11th consecutive year of fundraising growth thanks to the leadership of co-chairs Ira B. Malin ’75, P: ’11, ’17 and Michael P. Behringer ’89, as well as record-breaking fundraising from many reunion classes and increased participation among young alumni. In total, the Fund raised $17.6 million for immediate priorities at the College, including financial aid, the Core Curriculum, internships and student services.  

Nearly 600 alumni volunteered as Class Agents and together raised $2.2 million from 1,333 donors. The Class of 2014 raised $22,682 from 614 students, and 243 seniors accepted Dean James J. Valentini’s “3-2-1 Challenge,” which asks participants to donate for three years, to encourage two friends to donate and to have their gift matched 1:1 by an alumnus/a. 

Columbia Giving Day and Breaking Reunion Records

For the second consecutive year, Columbia College was the undisputed fundraising leader on Columbia Giving Day, held on October 23, raising $2.47 million from 1,585 donors. The College also earned an additional $95,398 in matching funds provided by University alumni and friends. Alumni celebrating a reunion year (classes ending in 4 and 9) also set records with $17.2 million raised in gifts and pledges. The Class of 1964 tied the record for gifts and pledges by a 50th reunion class with $6 million raised in gifts and pledges. The Class of 1989 received 70 John Jay Associates-level gifts, breaking the record for the most John Jay gifts in a 25th reunion.

Illuminating Our Future

Last year marked the end of the seven-year Columbia Campaign, which raised $6.1 billion, the most successful campaign in Ivy League history. More than 200,000 donors from 141 countries made gifts. The campaign raised $1.2 billion in financial aid for all 16 schools, with $401 million designated for undergraduate financial aid.

Once a Columbian, Always a Columbian

The Columbia College Alumni Association, in partnership with the Columbia College Office of Alumni Affairs and Development’s alumni relations team, hosted more than 80 alumni events, giving alumni the opportunity to stay connected to the College, to network with one another and to support current students. And more than 1,400 alumni convened on campus and throughout New York City for Alumni Reunion Weekend and Dean’s Day.

Alumni also played a vital role in the lives of students this year by volunteering and mentoring through Alumni Relations, the Center for Career Education and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. More than 500 alumni mentored students locally and internationally, offering career advice, guidance and friendship. Alumni also interviewed prospective students to inform both admissions decisions and students’ decisions to choose Columbia, with 1,528 alumni interviewing 6,789 prospective students as part of their work with the Alumni Representative Committee. On Class Day, 166 alumni returned to campus to congratulate and show their support for the Class of 2014 by walking in the Alumni Parade of Classes.

A Special Thank-You

After many years of service, three alumni transitioned their College roles during Fiscal Year 2013–2014. We recognize the efforts of Yale M. Fergang ’87, SEAS’88, Ira B. Malin ’75, P: ’11, ’17 and Kyra Tirana Barry ’87, P: ’17, whose dedication to the College has had a tremendous impact on students and alumni. Fergang led the Board of Visitors as chair for two years, having previously served as vice-chair, and was instrumental in the creation of the Board's mandate and bylaws, providing clarity to the primary mission of the Board and influencing improvements to the nominations, recruitment and recognition practices of the Board. Malin led the Columbia College Fund as co-chair for four years. The fund grew each year thanks to his leadership and his commitment to create a better College for his children, their classmates and future College students. As president of the Columbia College Alumni Association for the past three years, and the first female president, Barry revitalized the CCAA and helped establish goals and plans that will invite participation from alumni for years to come. Her guidance and energy were invaluable in helping to establish a strategic vision for alumni engagement.

The College owes its success to the donors and volunteers who continually support efforts to provide the best undergraduate experience and to keep alumni connected to Columbia and to one another. We thank and recognize in the following pages the more than 2,000 alumni volunteers and more than 15,000 donors who partnered with us this year.

Why I Give Back

A person will face any number of challenges throughout his or her life — both personal and professional — but it is the thought process to solve those problems that is the key to success. Columbia gives students the tools to think critically and expand their worldview. It is a path we embarked on College Walk and continue on today.

Joanna Herman ’98 and Brooks Herman ’98

... We are hopeful that by giving back we can influence the next generation of leaders who will continue the cycle of giving. The experiences [we’ve had] and people we’ve met because of Columbia have been invaluable to our careers and lives in general. We are both extremely grateful for the doors the College has opened for us and the friends we've made (and continue to make) through CU. Columbia holds a special place in our hearts, as we never would have met otherwise. We are engaged to be married in 2015.

Ralph DeBernardo ’09 (football) and Kaitlyn Busler ’10 (field hockey)

Columbia’s commitment to the Core has provided my friends and me a breadth of knowledge just wide enough that it doesn’t sacrifice depth. Because the Core is built this way, each of us can take the bits and pieces that are meaningful to us to forge a unique relationship with Columbia that extends far beyond the gates of 116th and that somewhat fuzzy May of senior year.

Vesal Yazdi ’11

My Columbia experience has been truly enriched by my involvement in the Columbia College Student Council. ... In my current role as the Class of 2015 president, I’m always astounded by how the definition of this community evolves because of the diversity that exists in thought, experience, ethnicity, academic pursuits, concerns and more within the student body. For me, it creates a renewed sense of curiosity and I believe this is what truly makes Columbia unique — it’s a university where the diversity within our gates reflects that of New York City and the world.

Kareem D. Carryl ’15

We support the College because it is the best thing that has ever happened to our son Ricardo ’16. He feels that everyone in this world should have the opportunity to experience the Core. We are so impressed by his knowledge, maturity and changes! We are confident that because of Columbia and the Core, he will be prepared to handle any situation. We are also so grateful for the brilliant professors who give him time and attention outside the classroom, so we want to help the College continue this amazing work.

Lucila and Alejandro Vollbrechthausen P: ’16

My Columbia College education made me more uncomfortable about the course of world events on the one hand, and more self-reflective on the other. When students and former students embrace their College education, they join a community of lifelong learners. Members of this community share a Core and a commitment — to better know ourselves as individuals and to enlighten the course of civilization. This voyage challenges us like no other, but as Aeneas says in 1:239, ‘A joy it will be one day… to remember even this.’

Chuck Callan ’78

I spent four years at Columbia College as a student who learned so much from my professors, my classmates and the two deans of Columbia College. Dean Lawrence Chamberlain [GSAS’45] and Dean Nicholas McKnight [’21] were always concerned with having the best faculty in the country. They were brilliant and warm individuals. I found learning and warmth from faculty, and classmates provided me with good thoughts and good relations and I am very grateful. Graduating from Columbia inspired in me an urge to create and succeed.

Howard Falberg ’54

A freshman commuter, I learned to read ‘Homer’ while holding the handrail on the subway to Sheepshead Bay. A year later, with a scholarship, I was able to live on campus until graduation. We pre-meds were obsessed with excelling in our science courses, especially organic chemistry. ... I became a professor of anesthesiology at P&S. Some time ago, I was asked to anesthetize [an] esteemed professor of organic chem. ‘Any questions for me, sir?’ ‘Yes, I have one. What were your grades?’ ‘B+, B+, both terms.’ ‘Not bad, not bad.’ We shook hands and smiled. We knew we just shared a unique Columbia moment.

Allen Hyman ’55, P: ’85, ’88, PS’90

It’s easy to forget that the Columbia experience isn’t over when you graduate and go beyond College Walk. Having worked and studied on three continents, I’ve found Columbia alums, current students and faculty all over the world. From seeing the unveiling of Greg Wyatt ’71’s statue of Macbeth in Stratford-upon-Avon, to welcoming the next generation of students in Beijing, Columbians are doing amazing things and creating communities everywhere.

Stephanie Lung ’04

Attending Columbia was single-handedly one of the best decisions I've made. Columbia fostered my academic interests in science in ways unimaginable and afforded me the opportunity to work in the labs of several esteemed scientists, including Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel [P: BUS88]. My first journal publication is from research I completed in a neuroscience lab as an undergraduate. ... As an alumna, I donate to the College and am a volunteer ... because it’s important for me to remain connected to this institution and ensure that students continue to have the same amazing experiences I had.

Brittany Dubose ’08

Nearly a decade after graduation, as I follow my classmates’ extraordinary accomplishments in government, academia, medicine, law and the arts, and at their own start-ups, my respect and appreciation for the education we received at the College (and my desire to give back as an alum) continues to grow. My commitment to a career in public service was solidified by my undergraduate experience organizing Columbia Community Outreach, with support from the alumni community. 

Diana Benton Schecter ’05

... I am constantly reminded that my time at Morningside Heights represented the starting place of my journey as an adult — a journey comprising infinite experiences — bound by nothing. ... Instilled by the Core and nurtured by interactions with classmates and friends, I departed from Columbia with one critical realization at the forefront of my mind: that the intellectual process is many times, if not most, more valuable than the answer. As I approach my ninth year as an alumnus, I strive earnestly each day to transform that realization into a reality — a challenge I find befitting of a Columbia College graduate.

Ganesh Betanabhatla ’05

Having been born in Colombia, and having lived in the United States, Switzerland and now Brazil for the past 25 years, I can tell you that no matter where you live in the world, being a part of the Columbia community will always be rewarding. The education that I received at our alma mater and the Core both gave me a foundation for life. The Columbia community has been an important part of my life ever since, always central and key in my success.

Diana Moreinis Nasser ’87