Closing a CCAA Chapter

Schweitzer (left) at Homecoming with Mila Atmos ’96, SIPA’05; Alisa Amarosa Wood ’01, BUS’08; and Michael Behringer ’89.


Bittersweetly, I pen my last letter to you as president of the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA). The last three years have flown; I became president just months before the Covid-19 pandemic changed all our lives. And while it upended my expectations for the role, it was incredibly rewarding to see our community come together and find new ways to connect despite the distance. I’m proud of our work during this time and look forward to seeing how the College’s next chapter unfolds under Dean Josef Sorett. I’ve been privileged to work with him in these early months of his tenure, and am excited about his leadership in the years ahead.

As I write, my successor, Sherri Pancer Wolf ’90, is set to begin in the role on January 1; more on her background follows, but first, I share exciting news of two recent events.

First, the College community delivered another fantastic and generous performance on Columbia Giving Day on October 26: The College received nearly 1,900 gifts totaling $3.72 million! The vast majority were from alumni, but we also received donations from students, parents and friends. These monies will sustain financial aid, the Core Curriculum and a plethora of opportunities beyond the classroom. Thank you to all who participated.

Second, on November 17, the 2022 Alexander Hamilton Medal was presented to Claire C. Shipman ’86, SIPA’94. The dinner in her honor, held in Low Rotunda, was warm and festive despite frigid weather. Beyond being a stalwart Columbian, Claire is a trailblazer in the field of television journalism. She has made a lasting mark on the world, writing the first draft of history through firsthand reporting on monumental geopolitical events. We eagerly anticipate the publication in June of her next book, The Power Code: More Joy. Less Ego. Maximum Impact for Women (and Everyone), in which she explores and explains the nature of women’s power.

I also want to mention the work of three CCAA committees that I’m particularly proud of; I encourage you to participate.

•The Homecoming and Reunions Committee strives to ensure these marquee events meet their full potential in bringing alumni back to Columbia for fun and fulfilling experiences that lead to long-term engagement. Alumni on this committee are able to implement their ideas, working closely with Alumni Relations, Athletics, and other staff and administrators. The committee’s goal, among other things, is to design programming to engage and attract the widest possible alumni participation.

• The Mentoring Committee facilitates connections among alumni as well as between alumni and current College students, primarily through the Odyssey Mentoring Program. Ideally, every student and alum can participate in the network for lifelong development.

• Class Agents solicit donations for the College Fund, which pro- vides critical current-use resources with a focus on financial aid, the Core Curriculum, student life and internships.

All alumni are encouraged to volunteer, whether for the committees mentioned or any of the many other available opportunities. Please reach out to Thandiwe Jarrett-Abdulali, director, Alumni Relations, for more information:

The CCAA also has two esteemed faculty members on its Board of Directors: Virginia W. Cornish ’91, the Helena Rubinstein Professor of Chemistry, and Noam M. Elcott ’00, a former chair of Art Humanities who teaches in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. You will hear more later this year about efforts to strengthen the CCAA’s relationship with Columbia’s professors.

Returning to the subject of our next president, the CCAA is thrilled to welcome Sherri, who has sat on the Board of Directors since 2006. She has been on almost every volunteer committee; some of her most notable roles have been as a founding member of the Alumnae Legacy Circle, as president of the Columbia College Women Board of Directors and as a co-chair for the Columbia College Fund. She was presented a Columbia Alumni Medal in 2017. Sherri earned a B.A. in economics and, in 1994, an M.S. in finance from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She lives in Boston with her husband, Doug Wolf ’88 (a CCAA president emeritus). They have three children: Stephanie, Alexandra ’21 and Jason ’24.

Sherri enjoys a distinguished career in finance, technology and entrepreneurship. We are delighted she has committed to the role of president and know she is the best person for it. I look forward to seeing you soon at an alumni gathering, maybe the John Jay Awards Dinner in March, Class Day in May or Columbia Reunion in June.

I leave you with this: With the world full of geopolitical turmoil and ignominious scapegoating of vulnerable groups, we as a community must stand up and ward off injustice wherever we see it.

Roar, Lion, Roar!