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Sons and Daughters

Ernie Holsendolph '58
Robert M. Rosencrans   '49
James P. Rubin '82

Alumni Corner
And Wake the Echoes of the Hudson Valley

By Gerald Sherwin ’55
President, Columbia College Alumni Association

Gerald Sherwin '55

In May 1993, the Report of the Committee on the Future of Columbia College stated that its mission was to propose “... a course of action to achieve our basic goal that Columbia College be, and be recognized as, the preeminent undergraduate college in any major university in America by the year 2000.”

The year 2000 is here. The fact is that we are on the threshold of achieving this goal. These are exciting times at Columbia. The College is as strong and vibrant now as it has ever been. The Core Curriculum is thriving. It continues to be the cornerstone of a Columbia College education. The College faculty is brilliant, and in many ways, second to none. Our students are the smartest... and in typical Columbia fashion, the most opinionated in the country.

In addition, there has been the opening of Alfred Lerner Hall, and within it the Roone Arledge Auditorium; the renovation of Butler Library; the completion of the new dormitory on 113th Street and Broadway; the beginning of the renovation of Hamilton Hall; the refurbishing and expansion of the Center for Career Services; the building of the new crew boathouse; and very shortly, the new tennis facility. More improvements and initiatives are constantly being planned.

The admissions selectivity rate moves lower and lower each year. The College’s rate has surpassed many peer institutions. Princeton and Harvard are now within our sights.

But... there is always more to be done. There are challenges ahead of us.

In order to solidify and grow the intergenerational community Dean Austin Quigley (who is celebrating his fifth anniversary as dean) has talked about so many times, we must involve each segment of the Columbia community — students (our future), parents, faculty, administrators, and most importantly, alumni. Only through this collective involvement will each segment’s goals and dreams for the College be realized.

Graduation is not the end to the Columbia College experience. Rather, it is an opportunity to have a different and, in a sense, expanded relationship with the school. As alumni, the College education stays with us and guides us wherever we live and whatever we do. Our contributions to College life remain at Morningside Heights in spirit. We were nourished intellectually by Columbia as students. As alumni, in turn, we have the ability to help nurture the College. One cannot escape the hold Columbia has on us throughout our daily endeavors.

There are so many ways to become an active member of the College’s intergenerational community: working with Admissions in recruiting and interviewing applicants; mentoring or advising current students; attending College-sponsored events in New York and around the country such as Dean’s Day, lectures by visiting professors and deans, sporting events, special dinners, get-togethers sponsored by Columbia College Young Alumni, Columbia College Women, the Alumni Outreach participants or the National Council headed by Roger Lehecka ’67 (and Jerry Grossman ’61); contributing financially, of course; but, most of all, staying in touch with your classmates and attending reunions (note: classes ending in 6 and 1, June 1-3, 2001 are your lucky days). The classes of ’90 and ’95 did an outstanding job in pulling large numbers to the recent reunion — are ’91 and ’96 ready for the young alumni challenge?

The Columbia College Alumni Association has committees specifically designated for all of these aforementioned areas. The committees, chaired by vice presidents of the Board of Directors, work closely with liaisons from the College and administrators from the University and achieve noticeable results. You do not have to live in the metropolitan New York area to belong to a committee. There is something of interest for everyone, if you want to get involved.

As Columbians, we must constantly strive to be the best in everything we do — whether it is in the classroom, in our facilities, in communications, in technology, in the events we run in New York and around the country, in student services, in athletics (and even in an area where we are slowly making headway, College Fund participation). To take advantage of Columbia’s positive momentum we need everyone’s support in facing the future. By working together, we will succeed in achieving all the things we want to accomplish.

If you want to help in some way or have any questions or thoughts, please get in touch with me by e-mail: gsherwin@newyork.bozell.com. We want to hear from you.


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