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Roy Russo, Alum, Parent
Columbia College 1956

Quite simply, I could not have even considered coming to Columbia but for having qualified for a Ford Foundation grant in 1952. The program sought high school juniors a year or more younger than their classmates (I had skipped two elementary school semesters at Brandegee School in Utica, NY), had us take the SATs, and if successful gave us the option of attending Yale, Penn, Columbia or Chicago without staying for our fourth year of high school -- making us, of course, two years younger than our college classmates! After considerable research and deliberation concerning curricula, faculty etc., I chose Columbia because my maternal aunt lived in Manhattan and I could get my laundry done. The Ford program covered tuition, room, board, etc. for two years and tuition for the remaining two; I was further enriched by working those third and fourth years in the John Jay Dining Hall and the (then) Lion's Den cafe. When my son enrolled in Columbia Engineering (B.S. 1983, M.S. 1984) I became very active in alumni affairs (President of the Columbia University Club of Washington DC and later of the Columbia College Club of the Mid-Atlantic), culminating last year by serving as Class Gift Chair for our 50th College Reunion. I'm still trying to give back financially and by serving as a Lead Class Agent for the 2007 Columbia College Fund. Go Lions (particularly lightweight crew this weekend)!!!

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