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Statements & Speeches

2016-2017 Statements & Speeches

2017 Commencement Address»
May 17, 2017

On behalf of the Trustees and the faculty of Columbia University, it is my very great pleasure and honor to welcome all of you to this ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2017. READ MORE


Announcing the Columbia Commitment»
May 11, 2017

I am writing to announce a new campaign that will be critical to fulfilling Columbia’s core mission and to serving its students, faculty, and the world.  Its name is the Columbia Commitment, and our aim is to raise $5 billion in 5 years. READ MORE


Jeannette Wing Appointed Avanessians Director of Columbia's Data Science Institute»
May1, 2017

I write to announce my appointment of Dr. Jeannette Wing as the Avanessians Director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science. READ MORE


Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic Named University Professor»
April 13, 2017

I am pleased to announce my appointment of Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic to the rank of University Professor, our highest academic honor. Professor Vunjak-Novakovic has been a pioneer in the engineering of functional human tissue for use in regenerative medicine. READ MORE


Columbia World Projects»
April 11, 2017

I am writing to announce a new and important development in the evolution of the University.  Over the past two years, I have been holding discussions among numerous faculty, deans, and distinguished guests all focused on this essential question: How can we at Columbia (and in the academic community more broadly) better connect with the world at-large where laws and policies are made, actions taken, and norms and attitudes shaped? READ MORE


Announcement Regarding Steering Group on Mental Health»
March 24, 2017

I write to report that I have asked Jim Valentini, Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education, to lead a Steering Group on Mental Health, focused on our undergraduate community. READ MORE


Announcement of University Divestment from Thermal Coal Producers»
March 13, 2017

I write to share that, at the most recent Trustee meeting, the Trustees voted to divest from companies substantially engaged in thermal coal production. READ MORE


Response to Second Executive Order on Refugee and Immigration Policy »
March 6, 2017

Once again, I must write to you about government action negatively affecting our University community.  The differences between the new executive order on immigration and refugee policies issued today and the now superseded January order (about which I wrote earlier) may or may not prove significant in the ultimate judicial determination of the order’s legality. READ MORE


Amicus Brief Filed Concerning Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees »
February 13, 2017

Over the past two weeks, we have been working with several other academic institutions (sixteen, including all Ivy League universities) on an amicus brief that was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging the Executive Order regarding immigrants from seven designated countries and refugees. READ MORE

Response to Executive Order on Refugee and Immigration Policy »
January 29, 2017

With the executive order issued by President Trump barring admission to the United States of Syrian refugees and imposing of a 90-day ban on all immigrant and non-immigrant entry from seven Muslim-majority nations, the fear so many have had about federal policies being changed in ways that could affect our community has become disturbingly real. READ MORE


Message Regarding the Presidential Election»
November 9, 2016

I am writing because of concerns for our community arising out of yesterday’s national election.  Certainly, not in my lifetime has there been a choice that is embraced by so many while also causing feelings of apprehension and vulnerability among so many others, including many students, faculty, and staff across our diverse University community. READ MORE


70th Columbia Community Service Campaign Announcement»
November 2, 2016

Not quite a century ago, during World War II, members of our academic community joined together to form the Committee for War Relief, which supported the war effort through organizations such as the United War Fund and the American Red Cross. READ MORE


Announcement Regarding Peter Awn, Dean of the School of General Studies»
October 25, 2016

Peter Awn, Dean of the School of General Studies for the past 20 years, has informed me that he will be stepping down as Dean at the end of this academic year. READ MORE


Remarks at the Manhattanville Campus Dedication Ceremony»
October 24, 2016

On this morning, October 24, 2016, we assemble on this little square, at the feet of these two nearly finished and magnificent academic buildings, to mark the moment of inception of the new campus of Manhattanville – the most transformational expansion of Columbia University since the dedication of the Morningside Heights campus in 1896. READ MORE


Remarks at the Memorial Service for Fritz Stern»
September 30, 2016

Oh behalf of Columbia University I want to extend our warmest welcome and condolences to Elizabeth and to the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and other family members, friends, and colleagues of Fritz Stern who have come together this afternoon to understand and celebrate his life. READ MORE


Washington Heights Medical Campus Named in Honor of Herbert and Florence Irving»
September 21, 2016

It is with pride and appreciation that Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian announce that our shared medical campus in Washington Heights is being named in honor of Herbert and Florence Irving... READ MORE


Announcement Regarding Columbia University's Sustainability Principles»
September 12, 2016

I am writing to share with you a new set of Columbia University Sustainability Principles that will serve as the cornerstone of an ongoing University-wide initiative that must involve our entire community. READ MORE

2016 Convocation Address»
August 16, 2016

This is a very special occasion for all of us, and I want to say to the parents and families—we know how thrilling this moment is, and how poignant. READ MORE


Announcement Regarding Jeanette Takamura, Dean of the School of Social Work »
August 1, 2016

Jeanette Takamura, Dean of the School of Social Work, has informed me that she will be stepping down from her position on December 31, 2016, after successfully leading the School for 15 years. READ MORE