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Vol.26, No. 06 Oct. 16, 2000

Great Teacher Award Presented to Hilary Ballon and Raimondo Betti

By Pamela Vu

In a tradition that dates back to 1949, the Society of Columbia Graduates presented two of Columbia’s outstanding faculty its Great Teacher award at an annual dinner on Oct. 19 in the Low Rotunda.

Professor of art history and archaeology Hilary Ballon received the Columbia College award and professor of civil engineering Raimondo Betti received the prize for the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Ballon came to Columbia in 1986. She has a B.A. with high honors from Princeton and doctorates from MIT. A member of the department of art history and archaeology, she specializes in architectural history. Among the courses she teaches are The American City: Urban Form and City Planning and The Shape of New York: McKim, Mead and White.

Betti received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from the University of Rome, and his doctorates in civil engineering from the University of Southern California. He came to Columbia in 1991; in 1995, he received the National Science Foundation’s National Young Investigator Award for his work in making suspension bridges earthquake resistant. Betti lives with his young family as Faculty in Residence at the HartleyWallach dormitory complex.

"For Columbia alumni, being a part of an intellectual tradition is something that brings us great pride and honor," said Provost Cole. "That tradition begins with great teachers who impart to students lessons that last a lifetime. In many ways, the faculty is known for its intellectual progeny-their students. The legacy of great students is as important as the faculty members’ lasting research and contribution."

Ballon and Betti’s names will join others before them, including such notables as Lionel Trilling, Mario G. Salvadori and Edwin H. Armstrong, on the Teaching Lion plaque in the Butler Library Reading Room as a monument to the longstanding Columbia tradition of scholarship and American education.

The Society of Columbia Graduates was founded as the Society of Older Graduates in 1909 "to promote good fellowship and to uphold and enhance the bests interests of Columbia University."