Cindy del Rosario-Tapan
Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations
The Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) welcomed its newest members, the Class of 2012, on May 15 as the 1,132 graduates were supported by family and friends on South Lawn under tents that protected all from the morning’s passing showers.
For the ninth year, the Class Day festivities included the Alumni Parade of Classes, with 175 alumni from as far back as 1949 marching with their class banners to shepherd the seniors into the alumni community.
Salutatorian Zachary Evan Levine ’12 addressed the group, followed by keynote speaker John R. “Rick” MacArthur ’78, an award-winning journalist, an author, and president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine, who made light of the fact that he was following in the shadow of Barnard’s May 14 Commencement speaker, President Barack Obama ’83: “Many of you are disappointed I am not President of the United States … I share your disappointment.”
Presenting student life and service awards and academic awards were Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger and Dean of Academic Affairs Kathryn B. Yatrakis. CCAA President Kyra Tirana Barry ’87 presented three alumni awards and prizes.
Dean James J. Valentini and President Lee C. Bollinger also spoke briefly — Valentini urged the graduates to “take pride in being graduates of the greatest college, in the greatest university, in the greatest city in the world” — followed by Stephanie Foster ’12 and Jacob Goren ’12, co-chairs of the Seniors Fund, presenting the Class Gift. Class President Sarah Chai ’12 also spoke, followed by the reading of names and presentation of the class pins. Four members of the 50th anniversary Class of ’62 were on hand to welcome the newest alumni to the Columbia family.
The ceremony concluded with the singing of Sans Souci and Roar Lion Roar.