Commencement

Columbia commencement
Columbia University will confer six honorary degrees and recognize the alumni recipient of its University Medal for Excellence at its annual Commencement exercises on Wednesday, May 20.
From left: Garrett Fitzgerald and Rob van Haaren in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy

Back in 2010, when graduation still seemed remote and intangible, Rob van Haaren and Garrett Fitzgerald agreed to celebrate their Ph.Ds—whenever they might finish—by piloting a pair of motorcycles from New York City to California.

Joseph Bacani stands in front of his portrait at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Photo Courtesy AVDLM/C.J. Heatley

When Columbia held its first graduation in 1758, seven men received their bachelor’s degrees. Now, more than 14,000 graduates of Columbia’s 18 schools and affiliates will earn their degrees on May 21.

Columbia Engineering School graduating senior Ruby Robinson had an unexpected surprise at the school’s Class Day graduation ceremony during Commencement week. The computer science major assumed that her father, U.S.

Making a green graduation gown.

When students assemble this year for Commencement, their gowns will look blue but half of them will be green, thanks to material made from recycled plastic bottles.

Columbia University will confer eight honorary degrees and recognize the alumni recipient of its University Medal for Excellence at commencement exercises on Wednesday, May 21. In alphabetical order, the recipients are:

Khalil hopes to find a job in a hospital setting where she can solidify her knowledge and build on her clinical skills.

Nashwa Khalil knew the benefits of physical therapy long before she enrolled in the doctor of physical therapy program at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Christopher Harress (JRN'13)

Aboard the frigate HMS Argyll, Christopher Harress (JRN’13) reported on humanitarian efforts in Sierra Leone and two major drug busts in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But he wasn’t a journalist—at least not then.

They’ve written final papers and taken final exams. The Ph.D. students have defended their dissertations. Now they’re waiting to hear President Lee C. Bollinger proclaim that they have been “admitted to the degree for which you have qualified” at University Commencement on May 22.

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