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University Commencement

Award Recipients


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Honorary Degrees are awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to research, publication, law, science, government, education and literature. Honorary degrees were first awarded by Columbia in 1758. Honorees do not need to be graduates of Columbia University.

The University Medal for Excellence is awarded each year to an alumnus or alumna, under 45 years of age, whose record in scholarship, public service, or professional life is outstanding.

Columbia University will confer seven honorary degrees and one Medal for Excellence at its University Commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 20, 2015:

Andrea Elliott  
University Medal for Excellence
David Levering Lewis
Doctor of Letters
Miloš Forman       
Doctor of Humane Letters   
Theda Skocpol
Doctor of Letters
William V. "Bill" Campbell      
Doctor of Laws  
Anthony S. Fauci
Doctor of Science 
Albie Sachs
Doctor of Laws

For full biographies, please click here.


Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching are awarded to current Columbia faculty who have had a significant influence on the intellectual development of students at the University. These awards recognize teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The 2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching:

Sally W. Aboelela
Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Columbia University
Medical Center
Daniel C. Richman
Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law
Peter S. Bearman
Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Sociology
Kenneth M. Prager
Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center
Greg A. Freyer
Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at
the Columbia University Medical Center



Alumni Medalists are alumni of Columbia University selected to receive this high honor for their distinguished service of ten years or more to the University - including its schools, alumni associations, regional Columbia Clubs, and University-wide initiatives. The Medal was first awarded by Columbia in 1933.

The 2015 Alumni Medalists:

William V. "Bill" Campbell   
1962 B.A. Columbia College     
1964 M.S. Teachers College    
Daphne Fodor Philipson
1969 B.A. Barnard College
1974 M.B.A. Columbia Business School 
Thomas J. Connolly, D.D.S.   
1977 D.D.S. College of Dental Medicine    
1980 P.D. College of Dental Medicine
Miguel Schloss
1969 M.B.A. Columbia Business School 
Angela Clarke Duff    
1970 B.S. College of Nursing   

Roxann Sherri Smithers, Esq.
1999 B.A. Columbia College
2002 J.D. Columbia Law School
Robert L. Kahan  
1969 B.A. Columbia College    

Susan C. Waltman, Esq.
1977 J.D. Columbia Law School 
Allison Cooke Kellogg      
1972 I.F. School of International and Public Affairs  
1973 M.I.A. School of International and Public Affairs
Lauren L. Wong
1976 B.S. School of Engineering and Applied Science

For full biographies, please click here