Columbia Connections
Max on Boxing
Reunion 2002




An Exciting Time for the College

by Charles J. O'Byrne '81
President, Columbia College Alumni Association

On September 10, around the time this issue of CCT will arrive, I will welcome Columbia’s new president, Lee Bollinger, on behalf of the College’s 30,000-plus living alumni. Bollinger will be the featured guest at the first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Columbia College Alumni Association for the 2002–03 academic year. I have every reason to join Dean Austin Quigley and other College leaders in our belief that Bollinger will become a steadfast friend of the College. In fact, during preliminary meetings he has held with the dean and in a conversation that I had with him in May, I can already report to you that he is very much aware of the College’s importance and ready to tackle some of the challenges that we face.

Our September meeting also will mark the end of the presidential term of Jerry Sherwin ’55. I want to take a moment in my first CCT column as Jerry’s successor to thank him for his extraordinary service to students, parents, alumni, faculty and administrators. Jerry’s omnipresence has become something of a legend around the Quad, and his passionate commitment to the College knows no bounds. I will be delighted to inform him on September 10 of the board’s desire that he remain as active as ever, serving as our representative to student committees and activities. His energetic leadership will continue to animate College life.

As we look to the year ahead, I and the other members of the board stand ready to continue a long tradition of providing advice and counsel to the dean and the president of the University on a wide range of issues concerning College life. We hope to expand our efforts to involve more alumni in the College’s future.

Alumni participation remains a serious issue for the College, with our percentage of active alumni hovering just above 30 percent [Editor’s note: Please see this month's feature article on Columbia Connections.].

I hope that more alumni will become involved in the College and work together to ensure that the extraordinary progress that has been made in admissions and the College’s physical plant continues unabated. Columbia College has reached a new zenith in excellence during the past seven or so years, earning a much higher niche on many measures of academic and social life among its competitors. The Class of 2006 continues a tradition of breaking past records, and the renovation of Hamilton Hall promises that the College’s home will enjoy a new luster of elegance matched with the latest in classroom technology.

Let’s work together to welcome Columbia’s new president and to continue our support for Dean Quigley by finding a classmate who has lost touch with the College and encouraging him or her to become active. There are many ways to measure participation and support. While financial generosity remains essential, participation also involves attendance at alumni events such as class reunions, the Alexander Hamilton Medal Dinner and the John Jay Awards Dinner.

Low Memorial Library RotundaThis year’s Hamilton Dinner, which will be held on November 14 in the Low Library Rotunda, takes on particular importance for the College family as we honor George Rupp for his past service as the University’s 18th president. Rupp made it clear at the outset of his tenure as president that he believed the College is the “center of the University.” His legacy of support for the College includes the extraordinary new student center named in honor of Alfred Lerner and the renovation of the College Library in Butler, which recognizes the generosity of another College trustee and past president of the association, Philip Milstein ’71. In keeping with the tradition of honoring outgoing presidents, the association also was most grateful to Rupp for his commitment to the Core Curriculum and need-blind admissions. This year’s Hamilton Award Dinner also provides an opportunity for the College to welcome Bollinger to the Columbia family. I hope that you and your classmates will make every effort to join us on November 14. If you need additional information, please contact Shelly Grunfeld in the Alumni Office at (212) 870-2743 or

This is an exciting time for the College, and I am honored to serve as your president for the next two years. Please feel free to be in touch with me at any time if there is anything I can do — you are welcome to e-mail me at If you are not an active alum, please consider becoming one today.

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