Around the Quads
Columbia Will Celebrate 250th Anniversary in 2003–04
Columbia will kick off a year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary
of its founding as King’s College in 1754 with special events
and academic symposia on Homecoming weekend, October 16–19.
The 250th celebration will continue through the next Homecoming
weekend, October 1–3, 2004.
Throughout the year, Columbia will highlight the impact that its
scholars and graduates have had during the course of the University’s
existence. Columbia will host symposia that look at the past and
the future through the perspectives of various disciplines, including
constitutional law, genetics, the humanities, information technology
and environmental science.
Two academic symposia will be held on opening weekend. “Constitutions,
Democracy and the Rule of Law” will take place at Miller Theatre
and will be divided into three sessions across two days, Thursday–Friday,
October 16–17. Led by Jon Elster, Robert K. Merton Professor
of Social Sciences, and Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of
Philosophy, the symposium will bring together political scientists,
former heads of state, philosophers and other experts to discuss
the importance of constitutions.
A second symposium, “The Impact of Genes and Genomes on Medicine
and Society,” will be held in Roone Arledge Auditorium on
Friday morning. Organized by Professor Tom Jessell of P&S and
the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior and Joanna Rubinstein,
associate dean for institutional affairs, Health Sciences, this
symposium will explore how genetic research will influence the diagnosis
and treatment of human diseases. Scientists, researchers and scholars
will explore the consequences of the availability of genetic information
on modern society.
On Friday afternoon, Robert McCaughey will sign copies of Stand,
Columbia, his scholarly history of the University that was commissioned
for the celebration. McCaughey, Anne Whitney Olin Professor of History
at Barnard, has traced Columbia’s evolution from its founding
as King’s College in 1754 to its rise as a first-rank university
to its future in the 21st century.
Also on Friday afternoon, Michael Richman, author of Daniel
Chester French: An American Sculptor and editor of the Daniel
Chester French Papers, will offer a lecture, “Alma Mater:
History and Legacy,” about the sculptor whose statue on the
steps of Low Library celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
To mark this occasion, students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited
to Alma Mater’s 100th Birthday Party from 5–8 p.m. on
Friday evening. Student groups will provide entertainment, and the
evening will include a video birthday card, cake and ice cream.
Everyone will have a front row seat, as the event will be broadcast
on video screens around campus.
Homecoming on Saturday, October 18, will be expanded from a College
event to include alumni and students from all schools of the University,
who will be welcome to gather under the tent at Baker Field and
enjoy Homecoming activities that are being planned. Of course, it
wouldn’t be Homecoming without sporting events: Columbia’s
field hockey team will take on Penn at Wien Stadium at 10 a.m.,
followed by a football game between Columbia and Penn at 1:30 p.m.
For those not sportingly inclined, Richman will lead a bus tour
of French’s work and other public sculpture.
Plans are under way for a Saturday evening concert on Low Plaza
to be capped by a fireworks display over the Hudson River. Details
will be announced closer to the event.
The College plans to schedule the annual fall Parents Weekend to
coincide with Homecoming Weekend so that parents of first-year students
may participate in the opening events of the 250th celebration as
The College also is planning several 250th-related events and enhancements
to existing events, both on campus and around the country.
Programming for the remainder of the year-long celebration will
include additional academic symposia, historical lectures, alumni
events around the world and school-based events that will highlight
the achievements of Columbians past and present.
A complete listing of events will be available on the Columbia
250 website, www.columbia.edu/c250.