Sydney S. Gross
Director of Communications
Columbia has been ranked fourth place in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of National Universities for the second year in a row. The ”Best Colleges 2012” rankings were released on September 13.
Chemistry Professor James Valentini will assume the responsibilities of Dean of the College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education on an interim basis.
Columbia College welcomes the 1,074 students in the Class of 2015 to campus. Students moved in on Monday and Tuesday, a day or two late, after Hurricane Irene shut down New York City and much of the Eastern seaboard on Sunday.
The Columbia College Fund exceeded its Fiscal Year 2010–11 goal of $14.5 million and raised a record $15.6 million, thanks to the 11,000 alumni, parents, friends and Class of 2011 donors.
University Trustee H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’58L, a benefactor whose gifts of over $100 million have done more than any other to build the faculty teaching in Columbia College, will receive the 2011 Alexander Hamilton Medal on Thursday, November 17. Lenfest’s 2006 pledge to match gifts for endowed faculty chairs in the Arts and Sciences inspired other donors to create 25 new endowed professorships. The Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards, established by Lenfest in 2005, also build this faculty by recognizing those who excel not only in research but in the instruction and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students. So far 53 faculty members have received the honor.
Dean Michele Moody-Adams was interviewed by Richard Heffner ’46 for an episode of his long-running PBS series, Open Mind, that first aired on June 18. In the wide-ranging conversation, Heffner, who recently celebrated his 65th reunion, and the Dean discussed the importance of a liberal arts education, the necessity of making such an education available to as many students as possible, the value of coeducation vs. single-sex education, the use and misuse of history and the mood on the Columbia campus today. To view the program, log onto http://www.thirteen.org/openmind.
More than 2,400 alumni and guests enjoyed Alumni Reunion Weekend and Dean’s Day 2011, held June 2–5. Attendees renewed friendships at class-specific events, revisited their classroom days by attending mini-Core courses and thought-provoking panels, checked out campus changes via guided tours, and enjoyed good food and company on campus and at venues around New York City. Celebrating reunion this year were classes ending in 1 or 6, from 1946–2006.
Dean Michele Moody-Adams addressed the topic, “Whatever Happened to Civil Disagreement?” and led a lively (but civil) question and answer session before an audience of more than 150 alumni and guests on May 24 at the Columbia Alumni Association’s fifth annual Spring Faculty Lecture at NYC’s Morgan Library. The evening, which was emceed by CAA Chair and University Trustee James Harden ’78 Business, ’83 PH, began with a reception and included tours of the Morgan Library and Museum.
Celebrating what Dean Michele Moody-Adams called “an extraordinary rite of passage,” members of the Class of 2011 began the transition from students to alumni at Class Day on May 17, a day that was marked by morning rains and blustery winds but calmer weather by the time Sans Souci and Roar, Lion, Roar were sung by the Clefhangers to conclude the ceremony.
More than 900 seniors celebrated the last day of classes, and their upcoming graduation, at the annual Senior Dinner on May 2 under a tent on South Lawn. A highlight of the evening was the announcement by Senior Fund Chair Scott Maxfield ’11 that the fund had achieved 95 percent participation, a College record. In addition, because the class surpassed its participation goal, Charles Santoro ’82 will contribute $50,000 to the Columbia College Fund.