Donor Recognition

The support of alumni, students, parents and friends is critical to advancing Columbia College’s mission. The following sections detail the ways in which our donors were recognized for their generosity during Fiscal Year 2013–2014.

Leadership Gifts

Leadership donors play a vital role in ensuring College students’ success. Their gifts of $50,000 and above help inspire fellow alumni, parents and friends to support undergraduate education.

Leadership Pledges

Leadership-level pledges of $50,000 and above enable the College to make plans and to allocate funds to critical priorities.

Endowed Funds

Endowed funds provide support that will exist in perpetuity to ensure that College students have the best possible undergraduate experience.

John Jay Associates

The John Jay Associates program recognizes alumni, parents and friends whose cumulative annual giving to the College and Athletics totals $1,500 or more.

  • Dean’s Platinum Circle $250,000 or more
  • Dean’s Gold Circle $100,000–$249,999
  • Dean’s Silver Circle $50,000–$99,999
  • Dean’s Circle $25,000–$49,999
  • Patron $10,000–$24,999
  • Sponsor $5,000–$9,999
  • Fellow $3,500–$4,999
  • Member $1,500–$3,499

For Fiscal Year 2013–2014, the minimum membership levels for recent graduates were:

  • Dean’s Circle $5,000 for classes between 2000 and 2013
  • Young Patron Member
    • $1,500 for the Class of 2000
    • $1,000 for classes between 2000 and 2004
    • $500 for classes between 2005 and 2009
    • $250 for classes between 2010 and 2014

For Fiscal Year 2013–2014, the minimum membership levels for graduating seniors were:

  • Dean’s Circle $1,000 or more
  • John Jay Associates $250–$999
  • Donor Up to $249

College Fund Gifts

Gifts to the Columbia College Fund include cash gifts, pledge payments and matching gifts and are designated for priorities during the fiscal year.

Reunion Giving

Total Gifts and Commitments from Reunion Classes include all gifts and new pledge commitments to the College, Athletics, Arts & Sciences and the Columbia Libraries from reunion classes. It includes cash gifts, matching gifts, new pledge commitments and cash payments on existing pledges. It does not include payments on new pledges made in the same fiscal year.

Class Agents

The Class Agent Program is a peer-to-peer fundraising network. The Class Agents listed in the Alumni Donor Roll volunteered during Fiscal Year 2013–2014.

Life Members

The Life Members donor program was established in the 1990s and preceded the establishment of the College’s current John Jay Associates donor program.

3-2-1 Challenge

Seniors who accepted Dean James J. Valentini’s “3-2-1 Challenge” pledge in 2012 agreed to contribute for three years, to encourage two friends to do the same and to have their gifts matched 1:1 by an alumnus/a.

1754 Society

The 1754 Society acknowledges alumni, parents and friends who have made plans for the University through life income gifts or as part of their estate.

Why I Give Back

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

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

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

... 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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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