This is a moment of new beginnings both for Columbia, as the University opens the first two buildings on its new Manhattanville campus, and for the more than 15,000 members of the Class of 2017 who graduate on May 17.

Editor's Note: This is a transcription of President Lee C. Bollinger's Commencement address to the Class of 2017.

The Columbia University Commencement Ceremony of the 263rd Academic Year is this Wednesday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m. Morningside Campus will be extremely busy leading up to and during the Ceremony.

Lorna Hale
When Lorna Hale was in seventh grade, she and her parents decided that she wouldn’t go to the local school in Bremond, Texas, population 918, where they had their family farm and Hale did livestock exhibition, training animals to pose and walk in front of judges.
Victor Lee

Victor Lee was rejected by Columbia twice—once when he applied to the College, and later by the University’s College of Dental Medicine— was before he accepted in 2013. But he says he’s glad it turned out that way.

Elise Bixby

For a sixth grade science project, Elise Bixby wanted to test the effectiveness of her grandmother’s osteoporosis medicine on bone density. She carefully put chicken bones into separate Styrofoam cups, with and without the medication, and entered the county science fair.

Neil Duncan

Neil Duncan at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

By the time Neil Duncan (BUS’17) entered Columbia Business School, he was already adept at grappling with—and surmounting—unexpected challenges.

Amir Imani

Amir Imani wrote his first computer program, a family phone book, at age 9. The experience sealed his interest in computing. “I always loved making and breaking things,” he said. “Coding gave me a way to explore the enigmatic world of computers.”

A number of distinguished and noteworthy professionals are the featured speakers at more than 20 special events celebrating the Commencement exercises of Columbia University’s 263rd academic year. Events take place between Saturday, May 13, and Thursday, May 18.

Vikas Arun

Tap dancing and engineering may not seem like they have anything in common. But for graduating senior Vikas Arun, pairing these two passions makes plenty of sense.