Columbia College has announced that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, an alumnus of both Columbia College and Law School, will serve as its speaker for Class Day, the annual ceremony honoring graduating seniors. This year’s ceremony takes place on Tuesday, May 19, on the South Lawn of Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus.
|U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
“Columbians are rightly proud to count both the President of the United States and his Attorney General among our graduates,” said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger
. “Eric Holder has been a loyal and active alumnus of both our College and Law School whose impressive career exemplifies the civic values and commitment to public service that we hope to nurture in our students across all professional fields and academic disciplines. We look forward to welcoming him back.”
After being sworn in as attorney general last month, Holder (CC'73, Law'76) became the second consecutive Columbia graduate to serve in that cabinet post, succeeding Michael Mukasey (CC'63). He served as a Columbia University trustee from Mar. 2007 until his confirmation.
“Eric Holder has stayed closely connected to the College and to his classmates while building an outstanding career serving the public good,” said Dean Austin Quigley, dean of Columbia College. “He is a fine example to all of our students and his remarks at the 2009 Class Day will make the occasion especially memorable for our graduating seniors and their families.”
After his graduation from Columbia College and Law School, Holder joined the Department of Justice’s newly-formed Public Integrity Section, where he investigated and prosecuted corruption involving officials in local, state and federal government. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan appointed Holder to serve as an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where he presided over hundreds of criminal and civil trials during his five years on the bench.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Holder to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1997, Clinton appointed Holder to serve as deputy attorney general of the United States, a position that he held until the end of the Clinton administration. Over the course of his career, Holder has earned a reputation as a staunch champion of civil rights.