Five Things to Look Forward to This Year

With the fall upon us, CCT asked me to reflect on what I’m most excited about for the academic year:

1. Columbia Athletics. Forget about the Giants and the Jets — this fall, the most exciting football in New York is being played on Morningside Heights.

a football player

Brian Foley / columbia athletics

Last year, the Lions had their best season in 21 years, earning a second-place Ivy League finish. With 15 of 22 starters back this year, we’re well positioned to make another run for the title.

But football isn’t the only team that deserves a spotlight: Lions archery, baseball, basketball, crew, fencing, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis and track are just some of the other teams dominating. Did you know that last year Columbia won seven Ivy League championships and two national team titles, and earned three number 1 national rankings?

Our athletes energize Columbia, rallying the students and alumni who have been returning to campus in record numbers. I hope this year you’ll don Columbia blue, come to a game and join me in supporting our teams.

2. The Core Centennial. For almost a century, College students have been united, inspired and happily tortured by the Core Curriculum. Two days to read Plato’s Republic? A dissertation on Descartes before dinner? If it’s Thursday it must be Thucydides. No problem — I wasn’t planning to sleep anyway.

I’m an unabashed cheerleader for the Core. It’s the one thing that all College alumni have in common and the reason many of us chose to attend Columbia.

I loved President Lee C. Bollinger’s remarks at Commencement this past May, when he emphasized that in today’s world we need the Core Curriculum more than ever. As he eloquently stated, “The Core is a set of values that is essential for the health and well-being of any individual, any institution.”

Officially, the Core’s 100th anniversary is fall 2019. Leading up to that yearlong celebration, the College will acknowledge the centennial through new programs, opportunities to go back to the classroom and much more.

a selfie on the sundial


3. Reunion 2019. The great Class of ’89 will celebrate the 30th anniversary of our graduation this spring. Kind of painful to write this one, as it means I’m now closer to retiring than to relaxing on the Steps.

I love my class, and we always have fun turning back the clock at special weekends. But reunions aren’t just for those whose classes are marking a milestone year. The Alumni Office offers activities and classes with faculty for all alumni at All-Class Reunion, which takes place the Saturday of reunion weekend. So even if it’s not your reunion year, I hope you’ll come back to campus to catch up with friends and to reconnect with the College. Reunion 2019 will take place Thursday, May 30–Saturday, June 1.

4. The Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner. The Alexander Hamilton Medal is the highest honor awarded to a member of the College community.

This year’s dinner will be especially momentous, as it honors my classmate Lisa L. Carnoy ’89. I’ve known Lisa since we were floormates on Carman 8, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving. She’s been an advocate for women, athletes and really, all things Columbia, for decades.

The dinner will be held in Low Rotunda on Thursday, November 15. We’re expecting a record turnout, and I hope to see many of you there to honor one of our best.

5. Columbians in the News. With more than 51,000 living alumni across the globe, our ranks include Nobel Prize-winning scientists and statesmen, legislators and judges, CEOs and stay-at-home parents, artists and activists, actors and musicians, entrepreneurs and engineers, and everything in between.

It’s no understatement that Columbians have a profound impact on the world. I’m never surprised — and am always proud — to hear of fellow alumni’s achievements, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we do next.