Message from the Dean
Celebrating the Achievements Of Current and Former Students
Last year, I traveled around the world to meet alumni, parents, students and friends of Columbia College and to introduce myself formally as dean. I attended College alumni receptions in London, Los Angeles and San Francisco; met newly admitted early decision students in Boston; visited current students studying at Reid Hall in Paris; and attended “Columbia 101” summer advising events in Beijing, Hong Kong and Seoul. And during my travels, I became more and more impressed by the passion, intelligence and achievements of our current and former students — all 51,803 of you.
I met two alumni in Beijing who were so inspired by their study abroad experience in Asia that they returned to China to start a college advising company. I spoke to one in Paris who started out as a waiter and now owns a film company. And I visited another in San Francisco who began his career as an assistant football coach and has been the CEO of several major software companies.
That’s what this issue of Columbia College Today is about: the amazing accomplishments of our outstanding former students. This issue includes three features about College alumni: Wm. Theodore “Ted” de Bary ’41, ’53 GSAS, an East Asian studies pioneer, longtime professor and all-around distinguished Columbian; Sheena Wright ’90, ’94L, the first female CEO of United Way of New York City; and Scott Aiges ’86, director of programs, communications and marketing for The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.
This issue also features an article about how we are preparing our current students to become the alumni that a future issue of CCT may highlight — through one of our ongoing internship programs, Columbia Experience Overseas. Sixty-four students worked abroad in eight cities this past summer, including 11 in CEO’s new destinations of Mumbai and Bangalore, India. With support from Citi and the State Department’s Passport to India program, students were provided internships at Apne Aap Women’s Collective, AZB & Partners, Infosys Limited, Kotak Mahindra Bank, the Marg Foundation, Mumbai Mobile Creches and Spencer Stuart. Several of these students had the opportunity to attend a U.S. State Department event with Secretary of State John Kerry in June and one of these students, Doreen Mohammed ’15, a human rights major and pre-med student, was featured on a segment about the Passport to India effort on BBC Hindi in early August.
My goal for the College this year, starting with this issue of CCT, is for us to celebrate the outstanding achievements of all our students, current and former. We are building a new feature on the College website that will be populated with stories, photos and videos by students that showcase the creativity, talents and accomplishments of our student body, and we are enhancing the alumni section of our website to better feature and connect College alumni. (Stay tuned for details on both.) We are also busy updating our Columbia College and Columbia College Alumni Facebook pages and Twitter feeds with photos, news items and posts related to members of our unique and distinctive community, so please “Like” and follow us if you have not done so already (see box), and continue to share news about your own successes with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may have heard me say that Columbia College is the greatest college in the greatest university in the greatest city in the world. I want us all to celebrate what makes us the best — the best students, current and former, in the world.
Roar, Lion(s), Roar!