Who's Who at the Alumni Office
By Timothy P.
Whether it's learning about reunion, submitting a class note to
Columbia College Today or making a gift to the Columbia
College Fund, the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development is the
first stop for alumni who want to stay connected with alma
Every organization needs a place where the buck stops, and in
the Alumni Office it's at the desk of Derek Wittner '65
executive director of alumni affairs and development. Wittner
joined the College administration in 1992 after practicing law in
New York for more than 20 years, and was appointed to his current
role in 1996. As executive director, he's a member of the College's
senior staff (reporting directly to Dean Austin Quigley) and
oversees a staff of 30, who administer all aspects of the College's
alumni affairs, development and communications efforts. Wittner is
supported by administrative assistant Leslee Fetner
Alumni who make it back to campus often do so for specific
events — Reunions, Homecoming, the Hamilton and John Jay
Dinners and Dean's Day. These and many other programs and alumni
activities (both on and off campus) are the responsibility of
Ken Catandella (firstname.lastname@example.org), director of
alumni affairs. Catandella, who previously worked at Sarah
Lawrence, had 13 years' experience in alumni relations before
joining the Alumni Office in 2000.
Catandella's staff develops a range of alumni activities and
programs. Assistant Director Heather Applewhite (email@example.com), among other
duties, coordinates on-campus activities and the John Jay Colloquia
and helps support Columbia College Women, while Adlar
García '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is in his second
year as the assistant director in charge of programming for
Columbia College Young Alumni.
highlights of the College calendar are the Alexander Hamilton
Dinner in the fall and the John Jay Dinner in the spring.
Coordinating the planning and execution of these black-tie galas is
Shelley Grunfeld (email@example.com), manager of
addition, the College has added three positions to facilitate
alumni contact with the College. Sharen Ovalles (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an assistant
director working year-round on reunion planning. Ovalles, who has a
B.A. from Fordham, joined the Alumni Office in 2000 and assumed her
current role last spring.
Developing programs that bring alumni and students together is
the job of Juliet Carhart (email@example.com), who works
closely with the Office of Student Affairs. A graduate of the
College of St. Rose (Albany, N.Y.) , Carhart has worked in the
Alumni Office since January 2001 and assumed her current role in
a growing number of alumni outside the New York metropolitan area,
Elaine Mathews (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been
hired as assistant director for national outreach. Mathews
previously worked in the New York Public Library's Office of
Development of Government Affairs.
Supporting Catandella and the alumni affairs staff are
Melissa Kinckle (email@example.com) and
Sarah Dolan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Alumni may access a calendar of events at www.college.columbia.edu/alumni/events/.
Columbia College Fund
November, Susan Levin Birnbaum (email@example.com) became the
director of the Columbia College Fund. Birnbaum, who has extensive
experience in all areas of fund raising and management, previously
worked at UJA-Federation of New York, where she was a director in
the Special and Capital Gifts unit. Birnbaum is supported by
Kathleen LaPenta (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Birnbaum leads nine fund officers, who have primary
responsibility for raising annual gifts for the College, including
Associate Director Rory Finnin (email@example.com), Assistant
Directors Christopher Long (firstname.lastname@example.org), Erica
Wylens (email@example.com) and Giorgio
Zeolla (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Susan
Rautenberg (email@example.com), director of
the Parents Fund.
assistant directors have joined the Columbia College Fund staff
since last spring: Preeti Davidson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Brandon
Doyle (email@example.com), Amy
Kotulski (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Susan
Appel (email@example.com). Davidson,
who works with young alumni, is a Barnard graduate (Class of 2000)
who previously worked with Four Corners Communications in New York.
Doyle was a development officer at his alma mater, Middlebury
College, before coming to Columbia. Like their boss, Kotulski and
Appel (alumnae of Brandeis and Syracuse, respectively) come to
Columbia from UJA-Federation, where they were development
executives, Kotulski in the Entertainment, Media and Communications
Division and Appel in the Wall Street Division.
Supporting the Fund staff are Jennifer White (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jaclyn
Kelly (email@example.com) and Maria
Alumni can learn more about the College Fund on the Web at
Class assignments for fund officers are listed on the Class Pages
at the Alumni Office Web site: www.college.columbia.edu/alumni/classpages.
Alumni interested in online giving should go to the link at
you probably have noticed, CCT now is published bimonthly.
This is the most visible improvement to alumni communications
implemented by Director of Communications Alex Sachare '71
has been editor and publisher of Columbia College Today for
make this increased publication schedule possible, the alumni
communications staff has added Lisa Palladino (firstname.lastname@example.org), associate
director and managing editor of CCT, and Laura Butchy
writer and CCT Class Notes editor. To expand non-print
communications, Timothy Cross (email@example.com), associate
director, has been given the additional role of director of
electronic programs. He will coordinate initiatives to enhance Web
offerings for alumni while continuing to write for CCT,
which may be accessed at www.college.columbia.edu/cct.
Working behind-the-scenes are Tracey Dai (firstname.lastname@example.org), who as
assistant director of reporting keeps track of gifts to the
College, and her stewardship and reporting assistant, Keir
Littlebird (email@example.com). Nona
Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Alumni
Office's manager and budget director, aided by financial assistant
Leslie Carson (email@example.com). The Alumni
Office receptionist is Frances Stoughton (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Alumni
Office may be reached by calling (212) 870-2288 or toll-free at