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Columbia Hosts 2005 New York City Economic Development & Business Awards Luncheon

David Patterson, Inez Dickens and Eliot Spitzer

The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce recently held its 26 th annual economic development and business awards luncheon in Alfred Lerner Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 9. This is the third consecutive year that the event, which attracts approximately 200 business, civic and community leaders from Harlem and throughout New York City, has been hosted by Columbia University.

"This luncheon is a reflection of Columbia University's desire to be woven into the fabric of Harlem," said Robert Kasdin, the senior executive vice president of the University, in his welcoming remarks. "We are proud of those ties and proud to host this gathering again today."

The luncheon featured a panel of guest speakers, including Eliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney General; David A. Paterson, New York State Senate Minority Leader; and Inez E. Dickens, senior partner at Lloyd E. Dickens & Co. The panel was moderated by National Public Radio host Ed Gordon.

Kasdin also introduced Maxine Griffith, Columbia's newly named vice president for government and community affairs. Commenting on the success of the event, Griffith said, " Columbia's future is inextricably linked to Harlem and the economic health and vitality of the community is tremendously important to the University."

Kenneth Knuckles, president & CEO of the Empowerment Zone, Robert Kasdin, and Tony Rogers, vice president for community affairs at City College

Attorney General Spitzer said that New York's commitment to revitalizing Harlem hinges on three factors: the work of nonprofit organizations, private-sector investment and the role of government in spurring those investments.

Following the panel discussion, Larry Dais, Columbia's assistant vice president and director of community affairs, and Gerri Warren-Merrick, vice president of corporate community relations for Time Warner Inc., led the presentation of eight educational scholarships to outstanding New York City high school seniors.

"It feels good to be recognized by the chamber because I plan to be very active in the community," said scholarship recipient Tiara Francis, who will use her $1,000 Harlem Week Scholarship award to attend Barnard College in the fall.

Published: Aug 19, 2005
Last modified: Aug 23, 2005

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