In this issue
Commencement News
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After years of study and hard work, you are in the final months before your graduation from Columbia University. The Commencement News series was designed to help make your graduation preparation as smooth as possible. Each newsletter will provide need-to-know information for Commencement Week 2013 and details for University Commencement day. So keep an eye out for them each month in your inbox.

For now, get started by marking your calendars: the Columbia University Commencement ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

Best of luck as you near the completion of your degree. We look forward to celebrating with you in May.


The Commencement Office
standing graduate
Question of the MonthQuestion What is the difference between graduation and Commencement at Columbia University?
AnswerGraduation is the term used for completing your course of study and fulfilling all the requirements for your degree. Each of Columbia's schools and affiliates holds a graduation ceremony (sometimes called Class Day) to individually honor the accomplishments of each candidate of the graduating class.

Commencement refers to the ceremony in which graduates from all Columbia schools come together for a celebration where the President of the University confers all degrees.

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Commencement Week is the week during which all graduation activities are held. It kicks off on Sunday, May 19, with the undergraduate Baccalaureate Service held in St. Paul's Chapel. Individual school ceremonies (the ones where you walk across the stage) also begin on Sunday and will be held at various sites on and off campus. Be sure to check with your school to determine what you need to do in order to participate, and continue to visit the Commencement website for the latest information.

All students who have graduated or will graduate between fall 2012 and spring 2013 are invited to the University Commencement exercises of the 259th academic year on May 22. The ceremony will be held outdoors on the Morningside campus, rain or shine. Eligible graduating students must register to attend the ceremony and to request tickets for their guests. Look out for more information on how to register in the coming months.

Can't make it to the ceremony? Family and friends can enjoy University Commencement from virtually anywhere in the world by watching the live stream on the Commencement website.

Alma Mater
Fact or Fiction
There is an owl hidden in the sculpture of Alma Mater on College Walk.

FACT: Alma Mater is the name given to a sculpture of the goddess Minerva, which was installed in 1904 on the outdoor steps in front of Low Memorial Library. Its sculptor, Daniel Chester French, who also sculpted the seated Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., was an avid taxidermist who hid many sculpted owls within his works and indeed concealed an owl in the folds of Alma Mater's cloak. Columbia lore has it that the first member of the incoming class to find the owl will become class valedictorian.
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Staying Connected

Visit the Commencement website, which outlines essential ceremony details to help you and your family prepare for Commencement Week 2013. We encourage you to check back regularly for notices about academic regalia, diplomas, tickets and more. You should also visit your school's graduation page to stay on top of any information regarding your school-specific ceremony.

Connect with us via our Facebook and Twitter pages, to keep up to date on all the latest Commencement Week 2013 posts.

If you or any of your anticipated guests will require special assistance during Commencement Week, please contact Disability Services at 212-854-2388 (Voice/TTY), or e-mail
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