Distinguished Speakers and Remarkable Graduates Highlight Commencement Ceremonies

May 18, 2010Bookmark and Share
Columbia’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, as well as affiliated institutions, held more than 20 class days and graduation ceremonies from May 14 to May 19, marking Columbia University’s 256th academic year. Most of the ceremonies were webcast live and can be seen in the archive.
 
Former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (CC’73, Law’76) joined a number of distinguished speakers who over the course of several days addressed Columbia’s approximately 12,000 graduates.
 
Clinton spoke to graduates at the Mailman School of Public Health on May 17. Holder spoke at the Columbia Law School graduation ceremony on May 14, paying tribute to the “exceptional commitment and capacity” of young lawyers, who have played an integral role in shaping both the U.S. Constitution and the course of American history.
 
“Young people it seems to me are uniquely qualified to re-imagine, and in doing so to reinvigorate, the law and the world,” said Holder.
 
Although blessed with beautiful weather for most of the class days, the main commencement ceremony held on May 18 at the Morningside campus for some 40,000 graduates and their guests took place under rainy skies. President Lee Bollinger announced that he was invoking his executive authority to shorten sections of the outdoor event, which was met with approving cheers from the grateful crowd. He did not exempt the President’s traditional commencement address from the weather-induced editing. In his sharply abridged remarks, he shared an old piece of academic “folk wisdom,” that “if it rains on your commencement, you are guaranteed to have a fabulous life.” Bollinger urged the damp but joyful students under a sea of umbrellas and ponchos to consider just how “lucky” they were to graduate on such a day.
 
During the rain-shortened ceremony, the University conferred eight honorary degrees and two Medals for Excellence. The Medal for Excellence, awarded annually to outstanding alumni under the age of 45, was presented to Ron Gonen (MBA’04) and Dana Schutz (SoA’02). Columbia also recognized the service of outstanding alumni, as well as excellence in teaching among its faculty. Later in the evening, from dusk until after midnight, the lights of the Empire State Building were scheduled to glow in blue and white in honor of Columbia’s graduates.
 
Some of the 22 graduation ceremony speakers included Benjamin Jealous, chief executive of the NAACP, at Columbia College Class Day; Gail Collins, author and columnist for The New York Times, at the Graduate School of Journalism commencement ceremony; and Jacques Pépin, French chef and television personality, at the School of General Studies Class Day.
 
For the full list of the 2010 honorands, recipients of the presidential award for excellence in teaching and the alumni medalists, please visit the 2010 Columbia University Commencement website.
Top
Columbia on Facebook Columbia on Twitter Columbia on Google+ Columbia on iTunes U Columbia News RSS Columbia on YouTube

In Memoriam

The University mourns the death of David Rosand, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History Emeritus, who taught at Columbia for 50 years. An expert on the Italian Renaissance and Venice, he was also project director for Save Venice. For more information, visit the Department of Art History and Archaeology website.

Milestones

Professor Rachel Adams, director of the Future of Disability Studies program, won the 2014 Educators Award from Delta Gamma Kappa, the society of women educators, for her book Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery.

Columbia Law School professor Lori Fisler Damrosch was named president of the American Society of International Law.

Associate social work professor Michael Mackenzie has been named a 2014 William T. Grant Foundation Scholar for his research on improving the lives of young people in the child welfare system.

The Record