AitN: April 27, 2020

Hon. Rolando T. Acosta CC’79, LAW’82 (Presiding Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department) has been named the Columbia College Class Day speaker. He will deliver the keynote remarks for the College’s first-ever virtual Class Day ceremony on Tuesday, May 19.

Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz ’93


On April 25, author Melissa de la Cruz ’93 co-presented the opening ceremony and morning keynote at YallFest, the largest young adult and middle grade book festival in the country (temporarily renamed “Yall Stay Home,” as the festival went digital this year due to social distancing from the coronavirus outbreak). De la Cruz is the co-founder of YallWest, along with fellow co-presenter Margaret Stohl.

Hari Nef

Hari Nef ’15

On April 24, Hari Nef ’15 performed as Polonius in an online production of Hamlet. The show is part of a series of staged readings over video conference hosted by Acting for a Cause, which raises money for COVID-19 relief in Chicago.

Dara Shapiro ’14’s work is highlighted in the April 23 HuffPost article “Grassroots Group Sends Meals To New York Health Care Workers In The Trenches.” Shapiro founded Feeding the Frontlines, which provides free, healthy meals to hospital workers using food from local restaurants. From the article: “The organization was the brainchild of Manhattan-based bank strategy associate Dara Shapiro, who had listened to friends in health care talk about how hard it was to find the time — and the food — to eat during their crushing shifts. She was also concerned about the toll on small businesses in the coronavirus outbreak. ‘I started Feeding the Frontlines to accomplish two goals: support local businesses and feed frontline health care providers hit hardest by COVID-19 in New York and New Jersey,’ she told HuffPost. ‘I felt so helpless reading the news every morning, and I wanted to do what I could to make a difference.’”

On April 17, The New York Times ran Jodi Kantor ’96’s article “When Duty Calls, and Menaces.” Kantor researched a question posed by two Chicago doctors –– an ophthalmologist and a pediatric surgeon –– on whether they should join the front lines of treating COVID-19 patients despite not having worked in intensive care in years. Kantor interviewed physicians and medical ethicists about the dilemma.

Chris Ahmad ’90, Beth Shubin Stein ’91 and Ken Shubin Stein ’91, founders of the nonprofit Crutches 4 Kids (which accepts crutches for donation and recycles them to children in need around the world), have a new charitable organization. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they launched Frontline Heroes, an initiative to help provide clinical staff with personal protective equipment.