Go to Columbia Web

Graduation Speakers

Dukakis Dukakis

Edelman Edelman

Hughes Hughes

Lazarus Lazarus

Nieves Nieves

Varmus Varmus

Journalism Award

Walter Cronkite Walter Cronkite, former anchor for CBS News: The Columbia Journalism Award.

Rita Giordano Rita Giordano reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer: The Tobenkin Award.

Al Lubriano Al Lubriano reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer: The Tobenkin Award.

Joyce Purnick Joyce Purnick, deputy metropolitan editor, The New York Times: The Mike Berger Award.

Record Banner
VOL. 22, NO. 23MAY 21, 1997

At Last! Commencement For More than 8,900 Today

Morningside Heights campus More than 30,000 are expected to jam the Morningside Heights campus Wednesday for the University's commencement exercises at which more than 8,900 candidates will receive their degrees. Last year, above, the crowd extended back toward Butler Library. Record Photo By Joe Pineiro

By Amy Callahan

More than 8,900 students will commence their lives as graduates of Columbia University on Wednesday morning as President George Rupp confers degrees on graduates of the University's 17 schools and affiliates.

  In the 100th year of the Morningside Heights campus, more than 30,000 family and friends are expected to fill College Walk and South Lawn to witness the pageantry of Columbia's 243rd commencement, which starts at 10:30 A.M. Rupp will deliver the commencement address, in keeping with Columbia tradition.
John Lewis Rep. John Lewis

  Across the campus, at the schools' individual ceremonies on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, graduates will hear words of advice and inspiration from an array of prestigious guest speakers: Walter Cronkite at Journalism, Marian Wright Edelman at Law, Anna Quindlen at Barnard, Michael Dukakis at Public Health and Jonathan Kozol at Columbia College.

  This year's honorary degree candidates are: Sydney Brenner, the renowned British geneticist; Kathryn Wasserman Davis, the writer, lecturer and philanthropist; Eric Hobsbawm, the historian; Donald Keene, emeritus professor at Columbia and leading interpreter of Japanese literature and culture to the West, and Representative John Lewis (D.-Ga.). The University Medal for Excellence will be presented to Joseph A. Greenaway Jr.
Quindlen Anna Quindlen

  A list of commencement week exercises follows:

  Commencement week began on Sunday with Baccalaureate Exercises in St. Paul's Chapel. University Chaplain Jewelnel Davis presided over the interfaith service, which this year featured a few new elements, including the "faculty charge," delivered by Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Marcellus Blount. Opening words were given by H. Scott Matheney, Presbyterian campus minister, with the main address by Columbia's Robert Thurman, Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetian Buddist Studies.

  Presiding at the 10:30 A.M. Commencement Exercises Wednesday is Peter Awn, professor of religion; the invocation is given by Davis. Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching to five members of the Columbia faculty are announced. (See sidebar.)
President delivering address Honoring a long-standing Columbia tradition, President George Rupp will deliver the address during commencement exercises Wednesday

  After commencement, Greenaway, one of the honorary degree candidates, will address the University's Alumni Federation luncheon in Low Rotunda. (See Page 8 for Alumni Medalists.)

  Following is a list of additional commencement activities at the schools and affiliated institutions:


  Class Day exercises for Columbia College are being held at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday on South Lawn. Speaking to the graduates is award-winning writer Jonathan Kozol, author of Rachel and Her Children, Savage Inequalities and Amazing Grace. Also speaking are: President George Rupp, Dean Austin Quigley, Valedictorian Jennifer Zobel and Salutatorian Aravind Adiga. Dean of Students Roger Lehecka is introducing Alumni Association President Carlos R. Munoz, CC'57, who presents awards. Class President Raji Kalra introduces the Class of '97 for presentation of the class pins. A reception follows on the lawns of Hamilton and Furnald.

  Also on Tuesday on South Lawn, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is holding its Class Day ceremony. Delivering the main address is David Marks, the James Craft Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT and a leading scholar in the understanding and management of the environmental impacts of large-scale human and industrial activities. Remarks are being given by President George Rupp, Dean of Students Chris Colombo, Valedictorian Lisa Loewenthal and Salutatorian Aaron Mark Frankel. Class President Aloshri Mukerji presents the Class Gift. Donald Ross, SEAS'53, president of the Alumni Association, presents Distinguished Faculty Teaching Awards. SEAS Dean Zvi Galil presents the class.

  The School of General Studies is holding its graduation ceremony at 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, in Miller Theatre. Addressing the students is E.R. Shipp, assistant professor at the Journalism School. Last year, Shipp won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her column in the New York Daily News. The General Studies valedictorian is Antonio Luis Freitas (see profile), and the salutatorian is Michal Chafets Gitin. Diplomas may be picked up in the Lewisohn Lounge Wednesday, following commencement, until 2:00 P.M.


  Diplomas for graduates of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation are being distributed at the school's ceremony Wednesday at 2:00 P.M. in St. Paul's Chapel. Dean Bernard Tschumi is the featured speaker.

  Renowned art critic Robert Hughes is addressing the School of the Arts graduates during a ceremony in Miller Theatre at 1:30 P.M. on Wednesday. Hughes is the art critic for Time magazine and a best-selling author. Diplomas will be available for pickup in the diploma office (201 Kent) beginning Thurs., May 22, through Fri., May 30. Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

  A convocation for Ph.D. candidates in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is being held on Tuesday at 3:30 P.M. in St. Paul's Chapel. The convocation address, "Miracles and Wonders," is being given by Columbia's Caroline Walker Bynum, Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of History. Alexandre Refregier, a Ph.D. candidate in physics, is to speak on behalf of the candidates. Dean Eduardo Macagno is to announce the student winners of the Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence. (See sidebar.) A new award, the Dean's Award for Distinguished Achievement, is to be given to R. Gordon Hoxie, a 1950 Ph.D. in history. The candidates are to be presented by David J. Helfand, professor and chair of astronomy, and Darcy Kelley, professor of biological sciences. A reception follows on Philosophy Hall lawn. On Wednesday, diplomas may be picked up in 201 Kent after commencement.

  The Columbia Business School's recognition ceremony is to take place at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday in City Center, on West 55th St. between 6th and 7th Avenues. The guest speaker is to be Shelly Lazarus, chief executive officer of Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide. Lazarus received her MBA from Columbia in 1970. The Surendra S. Singhvi Prize for Scholarship in the Classroom is to be presented to Laurie Simon Hodrick, professor of business at Columbia. Diplomas will be distributed on Wednesday from noon to 2:00 P.M. in the Uris Hall deli.

  The School of International and Public Affairs ceremony is Tuesday at 2:30 P.M. on Ancell Plaza (between the International Affairs Building and the Law School) with an address by Leslie H. Gelb, president, Council on Foreign Relations; SIPA Student Association presidents Catalina Ruiz-Healy and Bart Oosterveld are also speaking. Diplomas will be distributed at noon on Wednesday in 6th floor lobby of International Affairs Building.

  Journalism Day for the Graduate School of Journalism is Tuesday. The program begins at 10:00 A.M. in the Journalism Lecture Hall, where most of the school's prizes are to be awarded. Bill Buzenberg, former director of news for National Public Radio, delivers the Pringle Lecture. On Tuesday evening in Levien Gymnasium, degree candidates participate in the Class Procession, and the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowships are to be awarded. Walter Cronkite, winner of this year's Columbia Journalism Award, addresses the candidates, with a champagne reception following. After the University commencement on Wednesday morning, an open house and diploma pickup will take place in the Lecture Hall and World Room.

  School of Law graduates are being addressed by Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund at 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday evening in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Highlights of the ceremony include the presentation of the Willis Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Columbia Law Professor Harvey J. Goldschmid, CC'62, Law(JD)'65. He receives the prize for the second year in a row. Also honored is H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, Law'58, president of the Lenfest Group, who will receive the Columbia Law School Association's Distinguished Achievement Award. Diplomas will be presented to the graduates during the ceremony.

  The School of Social Work features Josephine Nieves, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, as the speaker at 2:30 P.M. on Wednesday in the Marcellus Hartley Dodge Fitness Center's Levien Gym. Her topic: "The Power of Social Work."

  Nieves received her masters degree in social work from Columbia and a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School of the Antioch University Consortium of Colleges and Universities. Raised in a single-parent family in Harlem and the Bronx, she is the first Latina to head the NASW. She also served as a presidential appointee to the US Department of Labor as head of the Office of Job Training Programs and was the 1988 recipient of the New York State Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Freedom.


  Program in Physical Therapy: The program held its ceremony Sunday (May 18) at Alumni Auditorium. Oliver Sacks, the author and physician, was the keynote speaker. A reception was held in the Baldwin Lounge of the Clark Conference Center in the Milstein Hospital Building.

  Programs in Occupational Therapy: The programs' ceremony is held at 1:30 P.M. Wednesday in Alumni Auditorium. Mary Foto, president of the American Occupational Therapy Association, is the chief speaker. A reception follows at the Faculty Club at 3:30 P.M.

  College of Physicians and Surgeons: A ceremony is being held at 2:30 P.M. Wednesday at the C-PMC Garden. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, is the keynote speaker.

  Faculty awards will be presented as follows: P&S Distinguished Service Awards: Robert E. Carroll, professor emeritus of clinical orthopedic surgery, and Georgiana Jagiello, Damon Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Charles W. Bohmfalk Awards: Charles Stuart Hamish Young, professor of microbiology, and John Lindenbaum, professor of medicine; Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Awards: Richard S. Mann, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and Yuan Chang, assistant professor of pathology; the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award: Edgar M. Housepian, professor emeritus of clinical neurological surgery, and the Distinguished Teacher Award: Jay Lefkowitch, professor of clinical pathology.

  Diplomas will be awarded to the graduates. At 4:30 P.M. a reception is being held in the Bard Hall Lounge.

  School of Public Health: Michael Dukakis, former Governor of Massachusetts and the 1988 Democratic candidate for President, is the keynote speaker at the School's ceremony in Alumni Auditorium, scheduled at 4:00 P.M. Wednesday. His title: "Heath Care Reform: Where Do We Go From Here?" Also speaking is prominent AIDS activist Mary Fisher. Assistant Professor Marysol Asencio receives the student award for teaching. Diplomas are to be presented to the graduates. A reception follows at 5:30 P.M. in the Riverview Lounge in Hammer Health Sciences Center.

  School of Nursing: Rheba de Tornyay, dean emeritus of the School of Nursing, University of Washington (Seattle), is the principal speaker at the 5:30 P.M. ceremony on Wednesday in the C-PMC Garden. Diplomas will be given to the graduates. A reception will follow at 7:00 P.M. in the Baldwin Lounge of the Clark Conference Center in the Milstein Hospital Building.

  School of Dental and Oral Surgery: A ceremony will be held Thursday at 11:00 A .M. in the C-PMC Garden. Burton Edelstein, a Robert Wood Johnson health Policy Fellow, will deliver the main address. Diplomas will be presented to the graduates. A reception will follow at 1:00 P.M. in the Bard Hall Lounge.


  One of Barnard College's most well-known alumnae, Anna Quindlen, delivers the women's college graduation address on at 2:30 P.M. on Tuesday on Lehman Lawn of the Barnard campus.

  Quindlen, a novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning former columnist for The New York Times, graduated from Barnard in 1974.

  Also on the dais are the 1997 recipients of the Barnard Medal of Honor: gun control activist Sarah Brady, internationally renowned choreographer Merce Cunningham, PBS journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a Booker Prize-winning novelist (Heat and Dust) and Academy Award-winning screenwriter (Room With a View and Howard's End).

  Barnard President Judith R. Shapiro will address the assembly, along with three student speakers: Michelle Katz, president of the Student Government Association; Moshin Choudhury, vice president of the senior class, and Taryn Roeder, who was selected by the commencement committee to speak about her academic experience at Barnard.

  At Teachers College, a convocation for master's degree candidates is to be held at 4:30 P.M on Tuesday in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Major speakers are the four medalists: Charlayne Hunter-Gault, national correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, James Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, Robert P. Coles, a psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Richard W. Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education. On Wednesday at 2:30 P.M. in Riverside Church, a convocation for those receiving the doctorate will be held.

  Dean Karen Zumwalt will hood the recipients.

  All graduates may pick up their degrees in the Thorndike Hall lobby from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M. Wednesday.