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Columbia Kicks Off Celebration of 250th Anniversary with Symposia, Birthday Bash and More

Since Columbia's founding in 1754, Columbia faculty, graduates and administrators have played key roles in shaping the nature of government, science, the arts and academia itself. In recognition of its 250 years of leadership in higher education and the world, Columbia kicks off a year-long celebration on Wednesday, October 15. The anniversary celebration will honor the accomplishments of Columbia graduates and faculty members and showcase the University's engagement with today's issues of global importance.

"As Columbia celebrates its founding 250 years ago, it is worth recalling the dazzling contributions that have emanated from this distinctively urban-indeed, distinctively New York City-intellectual situation. It is nearly impossible to name an historic event or moment in which Columbians have not played a significant role," said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. "Whether it's the drafting of the Declaration of Independence (Robert R. Livingston), the writing of the Constitution (Gouverneur Morris), the authoring of the Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton and John Jay), the events at the turn of the last century (Theodore Roosevelt) or the events at mid-century (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower) Columbians were there. Sixty-four have won the Nobel Prize. Anthropology was founded at Columbia (Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Zora Neale Hurston). For New York City alone, the sewers, street grids, subways, parks, highways, and architecture were all defined by faculty and graduates of Columbia. The list is as endless as the problems humanity has faced. And it is this very same mission -- to help advance every facet of human civilization and the natural world -- that defines Columbia's future."

The 250th celebration commences October 15, 2003, and will continue through October 2004. The Columbia 250 year will feature a host of academic and celebratory events that highlight the ways in which Columbia University today is a vibrant intellectual and social community fostering people and ideas that make a difference in the world. During opening weekend, October 16-19, the University will also throw a Birthday Bash to kick off the year-long celebration and mark the 100th anniversary of the Alma Mater statue; hold screenings of a new Ric Burns documentary about Columbia, and host tours, a book party, sporting events, and more.

Complete details about the year-long celebration, how Columbia shaped the world, an alumni sweepstakes and more are available through the Columbia 250 Web site.

Click to view the complete listing of opening weekend events, October 16-19.

"The observance of Columbia's 250th anniversary gives us an opportunity to reflect on the University's remarkable history and its great contributions to the nation's intellectual life," said Provost Alan Brinkley. "But it is also a reminder of our long and continuing partnerships with this great city and its many communities, which have been central to our past and will be central to our future."

Columbia University, founded in 1754 as King's College, is the oldest institution of higher education in the State of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

Published: Oct 16, 2003
Last modified: Oct 16, 2003

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