Honoring the Classroom

Gerry Lenfest
Committee work, scholarly productivity, reputation — many factors separate the great professors from the merely brilliant. Now, thanks to a $12 million gift by Trustee Gerry Lenfest ’58LAW, Columbia has established a new award for faculty distinguished above all by their teaching prowess.

Each year the new Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards will recognize up to 10 inspirational teachers. Eligible faculty teach in the Arts and Sciences, the 29 departments offering courses in six undergraduate and graduate schools, from Columbia College to the School of International and Public Affairs. A committee of senior faculty chaired by the Vice President for Arts and Sciences Nicholas Dirks will make the selection, with recipients to be honored in a public ceremony and provided with an annual award of $25,000 for three years.

“The best professors,” Lenfest said in the announcement this spring, “elevate the academic experience for undergraduate and graduate students alike and set an example for all to follow.” Lenfest, a longtime supporter of the University, also donated $15 million to The Earth Institute in May 2004 and contributed $15 million toward the construction of Lenfest Hall, a residence for students at Columbia Law School.

News section written and reported by David Craig, Joel Gershon ’03JRN, Beth Kwon, Michael B. Shavelson, and Marcus Tonti.