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Meet This Year’s Recipients of CCAA’s Highest Honor

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Named in honor of one of our nation's founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton (Class of 1778), the Alexander Hamilton Medal is the highest honor one can receive from Columbia College Alumni Association. It is awarded to members of the community for both distinguished service to the College and exceptional accomplishment in any field of endeavor.

The medals are presented each November at a black-tie dinner celebration in Low Library Rotunda, the proceeds of which directly benefit College students by supporting the priorities of Columbia College, including the Core Curriculum and financial aid.

Past recipients include alumni, faculty, artists, politicians and more, from Nicholas Murray Butler (Class of 1882) in 1947, Richard Rodgers CC'23 and Oscar Hammerstein II CC 1916 in 1956, Lawrence A. Wien CC'25 in 1981, to the 2015 honoree, former Attorney General of the United States, Eric H. Holder Jr. CC'73, LAW'76.

On November 17, 2016, the Columbia College Alumni Association, Dean James J. Valentini and President Lee C. Bollinger will present this year’s Alexander Hamilton Award to three distinguished faculty, all of whom have dedicated their careers to research, scholarship and the ins of Columbia College students for over 30 years.

Ronald Breslow: University Professor

Professor Breslow arrived on campus as a chemistry instructor 60 years ago and has taught students who have gone on to become University professors and Nobel Prize winners. His work has led to the development of a chemical in current use to treat cancer, as well as chairing the committee to recommend the decision for the College becoming coed in 1983.

Eric Foner CC’63, GSAS’69: DeWitt Clinton Professor of History

Recipient of both a B.A. and Ph.D from Columbia, Professor Foner is one of the United States’ most prominent historians. He began teaching at Columbia in 1969 until 1973, then returned in 1982. A specialist in the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, he is the author of a dozen books on the subject. One of his works on Abraham Lincoln earned him the Pulitzer, Lincoln and Bancroft Prizes in History in 2011.

Kenneth T. Jackson: Jacques Barzun Professor of History

Editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of New York City, author of the award-winning Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985) and former president of the Organization of American Historians and the New York Historical Society, Jackson is a frequent guest on television and is featured in 40 documentaries. He has been teaching at Columbia for 48 years and is widely known on campus for leading all-night bicycle rides for his courses on New York City.

If you have a story or memory to share about professors Breslow, Foner and Jackson, please contact us before November 14, 2016.

HOW TO ATTEND: Table Sponsorship and Individual Tickets

To learn more about how to support the dinner, please contact College Events & Programs at or 212-851-7846, or visit the 2016 Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner page.

Thanks to the Dinner Chairs and Dinner Committee Members


Cheryl and Philip Milstein CC'71
Michael B. Rothfeld CC'69


Kyra Tirana Barry CC'87
Lisa L. Carnoy CC'89
Abby B. Elbaum CC'92
Mark E. Kingdon CC'71
Brian C. Krisberg CC'81
Jonathan S. Lavine CC'88
Victor Mendelson CC'89
Michael J. Schmidtberger CC'82
Jonathan D. Schiller CC'69