One Last Toast Ere We Part
By Gerald Sherwin '55
President, Columbia College Alumni Association
PHOTO: MICHAEL DAMES
As the school year winds down and spring envelops the East
Coast, awards and events encompass the Columbia community.
Events in February and March included the Columbia College Women
Annual Alumna Achievement Award being bestowed upon Carolina
Gonzalez ’87, an editor at The New York Daily News; Adlar
García ’95 receiving this year’s Leadership
Recognition from the Latino Alumni Association of Columbia
University; and the 2002 John Jay Awards for Professional
Achievement being presented to Joel Klein ’67, Willicm
McDavid ’68, Derek Johnson ’81 and Conrad Lung
’72 at the Plaza Hotel.
Also, Al Butts ’64 received a special honor from the Old Blue
Rugby Group. Former Old Blue stalwarts Bill Campbell ’62 and
Dick Donelli ’59 were in attendance, among many other College
The end of Black Heritage Month featured an appearance by New York
State Comptroller Carl McCall in St. Paul’s Chapel, where he
spoke to many students, alumni and faculty. Asian Heritage Month
was celebrated in Lerner Hall and was attended by a large and
enthusiastic number of alumni and students.
Dean of the College Austin Quigley hosted the annual Dean’s
Day program in April, and a record number of alumni and parents
came back to campus to hear what makes Columbia College great
— the faculty, who spoke on a variety of topics, engendering
much thought and discussion.
At the end of April, the Senior Class Dinner was held under a tent
on South Field. The Dean and the Alumni Association participated in
this exhilarating affair, which was attended by nearly everyone in
the Class of ’02. Thanks to Colleen Hsia ’02 and Ellen
Gustafson ’02 for helping to make this event a huge success
and for starting another Columbia tradition.
As touched on in an earlier column, a relatively new series of
programs designed to bring alumni and students closer together was
introduced this year and has become extremely popular. It all takes
place in the Living and Learning Center, where alumni meet with
groups of students to discuss issues of the day. Alums who have
participated thus far include Larry Grossman ’52, Dick Wald
’52 and Greg Wyatt ’71. Another set of alumni/student
get-togethers is Dinner and Conversation, which focuses mainly on
careers but also includes other topics. Richard Witten ’75,
Arnold Tolkin ’54, Michael Azerrad ’83 and Dr. Gordon
Klein ’67 are among those who have taken part.
As part of the plan to bring Columbia College to alumni and parents
around the country and the world, the dean and other College
representatives traveled to Los Angeles, Orange County and San
Francisco in late March, where several lunches and dinners were
held. The attendees were brought up to date on the state of the
College (especially since 9/11), admissions, financial aid, the
refurbishing of Hamilton Hall, renovations to Butler Library and
many other areas of note.
The hosts in California were David Stanton ’77, Peter
Sullivan ’74 and Steve Silberman ’74 P’03, Susan
Bay-Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy P’03, Marty Jelenko ’67
P’04 and Troy Jelenko P’04, Ed Weinstein ’57 and
Ilene Lederman ’87 (Ed’s daughter) and Alan Stein
’52. Plans are being formulated to return to the West Coast
in late June to greet newly accepted students and their parents,
along with alumni and current students home for the summer.
California will not be the only place visited — destinations
under consideration include Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Atlanta,
Boston and other domestic cities.
Other events coming up include Class Day on May 21, Commencement on
May 22, and of course, Reunion for classes ending in 2 and 7, May
You can all feel that the Columbia family is getting closer and
closer together. Alumni, parents, students, faculty, administrators
— all should be proud of the College. The bar of excellence
is being raised to a new level with each incoming class.
So, dear Columbians, as my term as president of the Alumni
Association winds down, there are many people to thank for making
the past two years some of the most exciting and truly enjoyable
times I have experienced on Morningside Heights: Dean Quigley, the
administrators, the CCAA officers and the full board, including the
next president of the Alumni Association, Charles O’Byrne
’81, First Vice President Bob Berne ’60, Derek Wittner
’65 and the Alumni Affairs and Development staff, and others
too numerous to mention, but most of all, the students who each day
bring new life to our school. Plaudits also go to you, the alumni,
who mean so much to the College, now and in the future.
As you might expect, I still will be around in many other alumni
capacities. The e-mail remains the same (email@example.com) in case you have any
thoughts, questions, bon mots and so forth. Stay well, and thank
you for everything.