College Launches Core to Commencement Campaign

Columbia College has launched Core to Commencement, the first-ever fundraising and engagement campaign dedicated exclusively to Columbia College. With a goal of raising $400 million, the campaign is defined by five central aims that together will enhance the College experience:

  • endowing the Core Curriculum;
  • supporting students;
  • supporting faculty;
  • growing the Columbia College Fund; and
  • strengthening community.

Core to Commencement was publicly launched with a special event in Low Rotunda on November 20; the campaign is scheduled to run through the Core’s centennial, in 2019.

“This endeavor will ensure the vitality of the Core Curriculum while expanding students’ experience and strengthening the academic departments that make it all possible.” — Dean James J. Valentini

The campaign expresses a comprehensive vision for the College’s future. It seeks to capitalize on the opportunities that are inherent in the College’s unique educational experience, especially the Core, and also created by its position within the University and in New York City. It includes priorities as varied as evolving the Core through the use of innovative technologies; offering all students at least one funded summer internship, research fellowship or global experience; and increasing support for faculty and their scholarship, including endowed professorships that attract and honor the best faculty. The College Fund will be reinforced as the College’s essential ongoing source of the funds needed to assure its continuing excellence. And connections among students, parents, faculty and alumni will be strengthened through increased mentorships, internships, intellectual programming and volunteer opportunities, among other things.

“I often say that Columbia College is the greatest college in the greatest university in the greatest city in the world,”says Dean James J. Valentini. “The Core to Commencement campaign is a commitment to sustaining this greatness for our students and the faculty who teach them. I am excited about this endeavor, which will ensure the future vitality of the Core Curriculum, the formative experience shared by all students and alumni of the College, while also expanding our students’ experience and strengthening the academic departments that make it all possible.”

The launch event featured Tony Kushner ’78, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, in conversation with Lisa L. Carnoy ’89, University trustee and campaign co-chair. Also speaking were President Lee C. Bollinger; University Trustee Jonathan S. Lavine ’88; Meredith Kirk ’12; Julie Crawford, the Mark Van Doren Professor of Humanities and chair of Literature Humanities; and Valentini.

The campaign’s details and progress can be found at Among other things, the website will feature articles about Columbians of all kinds — students, professors, alumni and more — speaking to the impact the College has had on their personal and professional lives.