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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                                                                                                         David Levering Lewis
University Medal for Excellence                                                                          Doctor of Letters

Miloš Forman                                                                                                         Theda Skocpol
Doctor of Humane Letters                                                                                     Doctor of Letters

William V. "Bill" Campbell                                                                                   Anthony S. Fauci
Doctor of Laws                                                                                                        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:

More information on the 2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be announced mid-spring.




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                                                                                    Daphne Fodor Philipson
1962 B.A. Columbia College                                                                                 1969 B.A. Barnard College
1964 M.S. Teachers College                                                                                 1974 M.B.A. Columbia Business School 

Thomas J. Connolly, D.D.S.                                                                                 Miguel Schloss
1977 D.D.S. College of Dental Medicine                                                            1969 M.B.A. Columbia Business School 
1980 P.D. College of Dental Medicine

Angela Clarke Duff                                                                                                Roxann Sherri Smithers, Esq.
1970 B.S. College of Nursing                                                                                1999 B.A. Columbia College
                                                                                                                                     2002 J.D. Columbia Law School

Robert L. Kahan                                                                                                     Susan C. Waltman, Esq.
1969 B.A. Columbia College                                                                                 1977 J.D. Columbia Law School 

Allison Cooke Kellogg                                                                                           Lauren L. Wong
1972 I.F. School of International and Public Affairs                                           1976 B.S. School of Engineering and Applied Science 
1973 M.I.A. School of International and Public Affairs