Welcome to Columbia University in the City of New York. Whether you are visiting for the first time as a prospective student or checking in on us as one of our active alumni, I trust you will find in these pages the information and ideas that reflect our deep commitment to intellectual achievement in service of our City, nation, and world. I first came to this campus as a law student four decades ago and discovered for myself the breadth of excellence in teaching, scholarship and research that marks a great university. That diversity and quality of intellectual pursuit defines Columbia today.
As a University—and as a society—we confront a dynamism of forces that are revolutionizing life on our planet: from technological developments that enable us to communicate with one another and the world at lightning speed to the unraveling of the human genome; the spread of market economies; climate change; mass urbanization; and the ever-increasing interdependence of disparate nations and cultures.
I believe Columbia is ideally suited to reflect on and respond to the challenges of this new era. Our tradition of academic excellence has given us the foundation and confidence to reach for new and unimaginable knowledge, while the diversity of our University community makes it possible for students, faculty, alumni, and neighbors to interact with—and thus be transformed by—the multiplicity of human perspectives. At the same time, our location in the world’s most global city offers us a unique laboratory in which to study the evolution of modern society, attract and learn from the remarkable people who make New York home and, in doing so, fulfill our responsibilities as active, engaged citizens.
I hope you find Columbia as exciting and enriching a place as I do. This is a place that respects ideas, values diversity of thought and experience and, perhaps most importantly, recognizes that what defines great scholarship is not the easy acceptance of what we already know, but the relentless determination to discover what we still have to learn.
Lee C. Bollinger