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Columbia College Today May 2003
Cover Story
Rushdie: In
    His Own Words
Five Alumni Honored
    at John Jay Dinner
Twists and Turns
    in a Liberal Arts
Michael Kahn ’61:
    All the World’s
    a Stage

    Turns 100

Love in Lerner


Alumni Profiles





This Issue




Around the Quads



On April 5, an estimated 1,300 Columbia students, faculty, staff and alumni joined community residents and government officials for the sixth annual Columbia Community Outreach (CCO) program. The day began with remarks from President Lee C. Bollinger on campus before the volunteers headed out into Manhattan for a day of painting, planting, light construction and general clean-up, all serving to reinforce the University’s commitment to the community. Among the dignitaries on hand were State Senator Eric Schneiderman (D), City Council Member Gale Brewer (D) and State Assembly Member Adam Clayton Powell (D).

CCO is a student-run program that emphasizes the importance of volunteerism and unity in an urban environment. Since its inception in 1997 by a group of undergraduates, CCO has grown in number of volunteers and in diversity of projects.


In an effort to further enhance and recognize the academic and cultural experience of College students studying abroad, the faculty Committee on Study Abroad has launched a Cross-Cultural Connections Contest in which students may submit photographs and/or writings that are responsive to their study abroad experience and that express their cultural understanding in new, creative ways. The winners of this year’s inaugural contest include a writer, Callie Jones ’03, and two photographers, Adi Bitter ’03 and Jesse Coffino-Greenberg ’04; their work may be viewed at

Jones, a philosophy major, wrote about her May Day experiences in Berlin. She paired her undergraduate reading of Wittgenstein with her observations of East and West Berliners in post-unification Germany, focusing on the complex and ambivalent feelings young East Berliners have toward the “New Berlin.”

Bitter’s photographs from her junior year abroad reflect her engagement with the people and the landscapes of Israel and capture the relationships between the two. A major in Middle East Asian languages and cultures, she plans to return to Israel permanently following her graduation this month.

Coffino-Greenberg spent last summer studying Mandarin at Tsing Hua University in Beijing, which permitted him to travel independently throughout China. He describes the photographs from his travels in Kashgar, China, as skirting “a thin line between transcendent beauty, schizophrenia and implosion.” He studies political science and Chinese at the College.


Like many students at the College, Annie Pfeifer ’04 plans to further her education and contribute to public service after she completes her undergraduate degree. Like only a very small number of undergraduates, however, her plans have gained a $30,000 boost from a prestigious Truman Scholarship.

Pfeifer is one of 76 Truman Scholarship winners from 63 institutions. The scholarships are awarded each year by the Harry S. Truman Foundation to juniors who display leadership potential, plan to pursue public service and wish to attend graduate school. Truman scholars participate in leadership programs and receive special opportunities for internships or employment with the federal government.

Pfeifer plans to attend graduate or law school and become involved in policy making, possibly as a public advocate or policy adviser. She interned at the Office of the Governor of Missouri two summers ago. While there, she helped create the state’s first domestic violence task force commission; she volunteers in domestic violence shelters. Pfeifer also spearheaded the Northeast College Democrats Convention last spring, which featured Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.) as keynote speaker.


Noah Burns ’04 and Kiril Datchev ’05 received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships in March, as did Lawrence David ’05E. The scholarships, which are awarded annually to 300 individuals around the country, seek to motivate outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering. Each award consists of $7,500 to help pay for academic expenses.

Burns, a chemistry major with a concentration in mathematics, will use the scholarship to further his goal of becoming a research professor of synthetic organic chemistry. He tutors fellow students, volunteers in Harlem and participates in a research group under the direction of Associate Professor of Chemistry James Leighton.

Datchev, who majors in physics and mathematics, plans to spend his junior year in Paris studying at the École Polytechnique. He worked last summer at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a high-energy physics laboratory at the University of Chicago.


George Stephanopoulos ’82, senior adviser for policy and strategy under President Clinton and now a correspondent and host for ABC News, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the College’s Class Day ceremony on May 20. Stephanopoulos, who majored in political science, was class salutatorian, a varsity wrestler and a winner of the prestigious Truman Scholarship. He was a visiting professor at Columbia for two years shortly after leaving the Clinton administration.


Are College students staying up later than ever? In response to a resolution passed by the Columbia College Student Council, the coffee bar in Butler Library is now staying open until 2 a.m. on weeknights. “The extended hours have had the surprising consequence of solidifying the Butler lobby as a major campus hangout,” observed Spectator. “Armed with caffeinated beverages and somewhat aged bagels, students have turned it into a prime social hub.”

The later hours in Butler are not an isolated instance, either. Within the past year, again following CCSC resolutions, the Dodge Physical Fitness Center is staying open later and Alfred Lerner Hall has instituted extended hours during exam periods.




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