Aboard the ARC
Remembering Those
  We Lost




Sweet Land of Liberty

By Gerald Sherwin '55
President, Columbia College Alumni Association

Gerald Sherwin '55
Gerald Sherwin '55

The recovery from the pain and losses suffered on September 11, 2001, has been slow indeed. Everyone seems to be trying to get back to something close to normal, if one can remember what normal is. To those who lost loved ones, our heartfelt sympathy goes out to you.

Columbia has handled this tragedy so well, pulling and bonding everyone together. Services were held on campus; forums were set up to discuss the events; and counseling was made available to students and anyone else in the Columbia community. Communications from President George Rupp and Dean Austin Quigley were key elements in keeping everyone informed. In addition to the letter from the president that went to all Columbia alumni, Dean Quigley sent correspondence to the College students, their parents and College alumni. A message board was created on the College Web site, and quickly adopted University-wide, so that people could inform others that they were unharmed. And as the grim news became clearer, those who didn't survive the tragedy were listed.

Students gave blood, donated money and supplies and volunteered their services. Student organizations raised money in special efforts on College Walk. Columbia announced that it was establishing a WTC Scholarship Fund for the children of victims of the tragedy. Memorial services were held around the greater New York area and were attended en masse by Columbia administrators, students and alumni. A remembrance service for members of the Columbia family was scheduled for November 15. Every segment of the Columbia community was involved in one way or another in this healing effort.

An article in the Columbia Spectator talked about the "strength and resolve" of the Columbia community; "being inspired by fellow New Yorkers, particularly by fellow Columbia students;" "coming together;" "performing heroic deeds;" and "being proud of the community."

No one should be surprised. That's what Columbia is all about.

As the days and weeks have gone by, alumni, students and all of Columbia have started getting out, attending events, trying to rid themselves of the gloomy feelings. Outside of New York, alumni in Atlanta have had several get-togethers, and the group in Boston has begun planning for the latter part of this year plus early 2002.

Other efforts are under way on the West Coast. The men's basketball team will be making its first trip to Hawaii since 1968 to play in a tournament on Oahu around Christmas. On the way home, the team will stop off in Los Angeles to play UCLA (where a couple of alumni receptions are planned) and then head down to San Diego to go against San Diego State.

In New York, the Columbia College Young Alumni held its first Young Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony in mid-September. More than 200 alumni, students and administrators attended this stirring event. Getting out, talking, mingling — it was needed by all. The awardees were Charles Ardai '91, president of Juno.com, and Virginia Cornish '91, assistant professor of chemistry at the College.

Fall sports returned to Baker Field and Levien Gym, with appropriate ceremonies before each contest.

Not long after this issue goes to press, the annual Alexander Hamilton Dinner will be held in Low Library on November 13. This year's honoree is University trustee Phil Milstein '71, CEO of Emigrant Savings Bank, who gives so much of his time and effort to Columbia.

All of you around the country and the world should be proud of your school. Columbia has continued to stand tall, and in times of crisis, it always meets the challenges it faces. Dean Quigley has pointed out that in these difficult times, the role of educational institutions becomes more important than ever. Columbia has demonstrated once again that it is the place to be for an education (in the classroom as well as in life) second to none.

As we continue to move ahead, now might be a good time to call an old friend, a classmate or two, or a relative to see how they are doing.

To all of you in our extended Columbia Community, stay well. Our thoughts are always with you, and, in turn, your thoughts are always welcome. Please feel free to e-mail me at gs481@juno.com.


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