Notable Passings: Columbia Faculty and Friends

Columbia mourns the passing of three members of its community who made significant contributions to the University. 

Cindy del Rosario-Tapan
June 28, 2012

Trustee emeritus Edward Costikyan (CC’47, Law’49) was a notable political adviser in New York who was credited with shaping modern day Manhattan policies. Known as the “go-to guy” for both political parties, Costikyan was appointed separately by Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, then later by Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor Edward Koch. He served as a Columbia Trustee from October 1981 to September 1993. Leroy Neiman, as donor of the eponymous Leroy Neiman Center for Print Studies, was a renowned artist whose drawings included Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Margaret Mead, Dizzy Gillespie, Martin Luther King, Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, Bobby and Ted Kennedy, Muhammed Ali, Brigitte Bardot and the Beatles. In 1995, Neiman and his wife Janet made a 6 million dollar donation to the School of the Arts—the largest single gift ever given. Among other things, the center is now home to the Neiman Fellows, where young artists create a body of work. Andrew Sarris (CC’51), a pre-eminent film critic, is best known for his film reviews from The Village Voice and The New York Observer, as well as his prolific book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968. Sarris is credited as champion of the auteur theory—the idea that some film directors leave a personal stamp on their work much like authors. In 2001, Sarris said, “I love Columbia and appreciate the education I got there.” A professor at the School of the Arts since 1969, he said, “I enjoy bringing films to Columbia as repayment for what Columbia has done for me.”