Columbia University

Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York
Motto In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen (Latin)
Motto in English In Thy light shall we see the light (Psalm 36:9)
Established 1754
Type Private
Endowment US$7.8 billion[1]
President Lee C. Bollinger
Academic staff 3,634[2]
Students 27,606[3]
Undergraduates 7,934[3]
Postgraduates 19,672[3]
Location New York, N.Y., US
Campus Total, 299 acres (1.21 km2)
Newspaper Columbia Daily Spectator
Colors Columbia blue and White         
Athletics NCAA Division I FCS, Ivy League
31 sports teams
Mascot Columbia Lions


ColumbiaU Wordmarklogo.svg

Columbia University in the City of New York (Columbia University) is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution.[4] Today the University operates seven Columbia Global Centers overseas in Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Paris, Mumbai, Santiago, and Nairobi.[5]

The University was founded in 1754 as King's College by royal charter of George II of Great Britain. After the American Revolutionary War King's College briefly became a state entity, and was renamed Columbia College in 1784. The University now operates under a 1787 charter that places the institution under a private board of trustees, and in 1896 it was further renamed Columbia University.[6] That same year, the University's campus was moved from Madison Avenue to its current location in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, where it occupies more than six city blocks, or 32 acres (0.13 km2).[7] The University encompasses twenty schools and is affiliated with numerous institutions, including Teachers College, Barnard College, and the Union Theological Seminary, with joint undergraduate programs available through the Jewish Theological Seminary of America as well as the Juilliard School.[8]

Columbia annually administers the Pulitzer Prize and has been affiliated with more Nobel Prize laureates than any other academic institution in the world.[9][10] The University is one of the fourteen founding members of the prestigious Association of American Universities, and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree.[6][11] Notable students of the University include nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court;[12] 20 living billionaires;[13] 25 Academy Award winners;[14] and 29 Heads of State, including three United States Presidents.[15]



King's College (1754-1784)

King's College Hall, 1770

Discussions regarding the founding of a college in the Province of New York began as early as 1704, when Colonel Lewis Morris wrote to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the missionary arm of the Church of England, persuading the society that New York City was an ideal community in which to establish a college;[16] however, not until the founding of Princeton University across the Hudson River in New Jersey did the City of New York seriously consider founding a college.[16] In 1746 an act was passed by the general assembly of New York to raise funds for the foundation of a new college. In 1751, the assembly appointed a commission of ten New York residents, seven of whom were members of the Church of England, to direct the funds accrued by the state lottery towards the foundation of a college.[17]

Classes were initially held in July of 1754 and were presided over by the college's first president, Dr. Samuel Johnson.[18] Dr. Johnson was the only instructor of the college's first class, which consisted of a mere eight students. Instruction was held in a new schoolhouse adjoining Trinity Church, located on what is now lower Broadway in Manhattan.[19] The college was officially founded on October 31, 1754, as King's College by royal charter of King George II, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.[6]

In 1763, Dr. Johnson was succeeded in the presidency by Myles Cooper, a graduate of The Queen's College, Oxford, and an ardent Tory. In the charged political climate of the American Revolution, his chief opponent in discussions at the College was an undergraduate of the class of 1777, Alexander Hamilton.[20] The American Revolutionary War broke out in 1776, and was catastrophic for the operation of King's College, which suspended instruction for eight years beginning in 1776 with the arrival of the Continental Army. The suspension continued through the military occupation of New York City by British troops until their departure in 1783. The college's library was looted and its sole building requisitioned for use as a military hospital first by American and then British forces.[21][22]

Columbia College (1784-1896)

The Gothic Revival Law School building on the Madison Avenue campus

After the Revolution, the college turned to the State of New York in order to restore its vitality, promising to make whatever changes to the schools charter the state might demand.[23] The Legislature agreed to assist the college, and on May 1, 1784, it passed "an Act for granting certain privileges to the College heretofore called King's College."[24] The Act created a Board of Regents to oversee the resuscitation of King's College, and, in an effort to demonstrate its support for the new Republic, the Legislature stipulated that "the College within the City of New York heretofore called King's College be forever hereafter called and known by the name of Columbia College."[24] The Regents finally became aware of the college's defective constitution in February of 1787 and appointed a revision committee, which was headed by John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. In April of that same year, a new charter was adopted for the college, still in use today, granting power to a private board of 24 Trustees.[25]

On the May 21, 1787, William Samuel Johnson, the son of Dr. Samuel Johnson, was unanimously elected President of Columbia College. Prior to serving at the University, Johnson had participated in the First Continental Congress and been chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.[26] For a period in the 1790s, with New York City as the federal and state capital and the country under successive Federalist governments, a revived Columbia thrived under the auspices of Federalists such as Hamilton and Jay. Both President George Washington and Vice President John Adams attended the College's commencement on May 6, 1789, as a tribute of honor to the many alumni of the school that had been involved in the American Revolution.[27]

The College's enrollment, structure, and academics stagnated for the majority of the 19th century, with many of the college presidents doing little to change the way that the College functioned. In 1857, the College moved from Park Place to a primarily Gothic Revival campus on 49th Street and Madison Avenue, where it remained for the next fifty years. During the last half of the 19th century, under the leadership of President F.A.P. Barnard, the institution rapidly assumed the shape of a modern university.[28] By this time, the College's investments in New York real estate became a primary source of steady income for the school, mainly owing to the city's rapidly expanding population.[29]

Columbia University (1896-present)

An illustration of Columbia in 1915.

In 1896, the trustees officially authorized the use of yet another new name, Columbia University, and today the institution is officially known as "Columbia University in the City of New York." At the same time, university president Seth Low moved the campus again, from 49th Street to its present location, a more spacious campus in the developing neighborhood of Morningside Heights.[30] Under the leadership of Low's successor, Nicholas Murray Butler, who served for over four decades, Columbia rapidly became the nation's major institution for research, setting the "multiversity" model that later universities would adopt.[6]

Research into the atom by faculty members John R. Dunning, I. I. Rabi, Enrico Fermi and Polykarp Kusch placed Columbia's Physics Department in the international spotlight in the 1940s after the first nuclear pile was built to start what became the Manhattan Project.[31] In 1947, to meet the needs of GIs returning from World War II, University Extension was reorganized as an undergraduate college and designated the Columbia University School of General Studies.[32] During the 1960s Columbia experienced large-scale student activism, which reached a climax in the spring of 1968 when hundreds of students occupied various buildings on campus. The incident forced the resignation of Columbia's then President, Grayson Kirk and the establishment of the University Senate.[33][34] Columbia University first admitted women in the fall of 1983, after a decade of failed negotiations with Barnard College, an all female institution affiliated with the University, to merge the two schools. Barnard College still remains affiliated with Columbia, and all Barnard graduates are issued diplomas authorized by both Columbia University and Barnard College.[35]


Morningside Heights

The majority of Columbia's graduate and undergraduate studies are conducted in Morningside Heights on Seth Low's late-19th century vision of a university campus where all disciplines could be taught in one location. The campus was designed along Beaux-Arts principles by architects McKim, Mead, and White. Columbia's main campus occupies more than six city blocks, or 32 acres (13 ha), in Morningside Heights, New York City, a neighborhood that contains a number of academic institutions. The university owns over 7,800 apartments in Morningside Heights, housing faculty, graduate students, and staff. Almost two dozen undergraduate dormitories (purpose-built or converted) are located on campus or in Morningside Heights.[7] Columbia University has an extensive underground tunnel system more than a century old, with the oldest portions predating the present campus. Some of these remain accessible to the public, while others have been cordoned off.[36][37]

The Nicholas Murray Butler Library, commonly known simply as Butler Library, is the largest single library in the Columbia University Library System, and is one of the largest buildings on the campus. Proposed as "South Hall" by the University's former President Nicholas Murray Butler as expansion plans for Low Memorial Library stalled, the new library was funded by Edward Harkness, benefactor of Yale's residential college system, and designed by his favorite architect, James Gamble Rogers. It was completed in 1934 and renamed for Butler in 1946. The library's design is neo-classical in style. Its facade features an arcade of columns in the Ionic order above which are inscribed the names of great writers, philosophers, and thinkers, most of whom are read by students engaged in the Core Curriculum of Columbia College.[38] As of 2009, Columbia's library system includes over 10.4 million volumes, making it the eighth largest library system and fifth largest collegiate library system in the United States.[39][40]

Several buildings on the Morningside Heights campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Low Memorial Library, a National Historic Landmark and the centerpiece of the campus, is listed for its architectural significance. Philosophy Hall is listed as the site of the invention of FM radio. Also listed is Pupin Hall, another National Historic Landmark, which houses the physics and astronomy departments. Here the first experiments on the fission of uranium were conducted by Enrico Fermi. The uranium atom was split there ten days after the world's first atom-splitting in Copenhagen, Denmark.[41][42][43]

A statue by sculptor Daniel Chester French called Alma Mater is centered on the front steps of Low Memorial Library. McKim, Mead & White invited French to build the sculpture in order to harmonize with the larger composition of the court and library in the center of the campus. Draped in an academic gown, the female figure of Alma Mater wears a crown of laurels and sits on a throne. The scroll-like arms of the throne end in lamps, representing sapientia and doctrina. A book signifying knowledge, balances on her lap, and an owl, the attribute of wisdom, is hidden in the folds of her gown. Her right hand holds a scepter composed of four sprays of wheat, terminating with a crown of King's College which refers to Columbia's origin as a Royalist institution in 1754. A local actress named Mary Lawton was said to have posed for parts of the sculpture. The statue was dedicated on September 23, 1903, as a gift of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Goelet, and was originally covered in golden leaf. During the Columbia University protests of 1968 a bomb damaged the sculpture, but it has since been repaired.[44] The small hidden owl on the sculpture is also the subject of many Columbia legends, the main legend being that the first student in the freshmen class to find the hidden owl on the statue will be valedictorian, and that any subsequent Columbia male who finds it will marry a Barnard student, given that Barnard is a women's college.[45][46]

"The Steps", alternatively known as "Low Steps" or the "Urban Beach", are a popular meeting area for Columbia students. The term refers to the long series of granite steps leading from the lower part of campus (South Field) to its upper terrace. With a design inspired by the City Beautiful movement, the steps of Low Library provides Columbia university and Barnard College students, faculty, and staff with a comfortable and spacious outdoor platform and space for informal gatherings, events, and ceremonies. McKim's classical facade epitomizes late 19th century new-classical designs, with its columns and portico marking the entrance to an important structure.[47] On warm days when the weather is favorable, the Low Steps often become a popular gathering place for students to sunbathe, eat lunch, or play frisbee.[48]

Panorama view of the Morningside Heights campus as seen from Butler Library and facing Low Memorial Library.

Other campuses

In April 2007, the University purchased more than two-thirds of a 17 acres (6.9 ha) site for a new campus in Manhattanville, an industrial neighborhood to the north of the Morningside Heights campus. Stretching from 125th Street to 133rd Street, the new campus will house buildings for Columbia's schools of business and the arts and allow the construction of the Jerome L. Greene Center for Mind, Brain, and Behavior, where research will occur on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.[49] The $7 billion expansion plan includes demolishing all buildings, except three that are historically significant, eliminating the existing light industry and storage warehouses, and relocating tenants in 132 apartments. Replacing these buildings will be 6,800,000 square feet (630,000 m2) of space for the University. Community activist groups in West Harlem fought the expansion for reasons ranging from property protection and fair exchange for land, to residents' rights.[50][51] Subsequent public hearings drew neighborhood opposition. Most recently, as of December 2008, the State of New York's Empire State Development Corporation approved use of eminent domain, which, through declaration of Manhattanville's "blighted" status, gives governmental bodies the right to appropriate private property for public use.[52] On May 20, 2009, the New York State Public Authorities Control Board approved the Manhanttanville expansion plan.[53]

New York-Presbyterian Hospital is affiliated with the medical schools of both Columbia University and Cornell University. According to US News and World Reports "Americas Best Hospitals 2009", it is ranked sixth overall and third among university hospitals. Columbia Medical School has a strategic partnership with New York State Psychiatric Institute, and is affiliated with 19 other hospitals in the U.S. and four hospitals overseas. Health-related schools are located at the Columbia University Medical Center, a 20 acres (8.1 ha) campus located in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, fifty blocks uptown. Other teaching hospitals affiliated with Columbia through the New York-Presbyterian network include the Payne Whitney Clinic in Manhattan, and the Payne Whitney Westchester, a psychiatric institute located in White Plains, New York.[54] On the northern tip of Manhattan island (in the neighborhood of Inwood), Columbia owns 26-acre (11 ha) Baker Field, which includes the Lawrence A. Wien Stadium as well as facilities for field sports, outdoor track, and tennis. There is a third campus on the west bank of the Hudson River, the 157-acre (64 ha) Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. A fourth is the 60-acre (24 ha) Nevis Laboratories in Irvington, New York. A satellite site in Paris, France holds classes at Reid Hall.[6]


Access to Columbia is enhanced by the Columbia University subway station.

In 2006, the University established the Office of Environmental Stewardship to initiate, coordinate and implement programs to reduce the University’s environmental footprint. The U.S. Green Building Council selected the University’s Manhattanville plan for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Neighborhood Design pilot program. The plan commits to incorporating smart growth, new urbanism and “green” building design principles.[55] Columbia is one of the 2030 Challenge Partners, a group of nine universities in the city of New York that have pledged to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 30% within the next ten years. Columbia University adopts LEED standards for all new construction and major renovations. The University requires a minimum of Silver, but through its design and review process seeks to achieve higher levels. This is especially challenging for lab and research buildings with their intensive energy use; however, the University also uses lab design guidelines that seek to maximize energy efficiency while protecting the safety of researchers.[56]

Every Thursday and Sunday of the month, Columbia hosts a greenmarket where local farmers can sell their produce to residents of the city. In addition, from April to November Hodgson’s farm, a local New York gardening center, joins the market bringing a large selection of plants and blooming flowers. The market is one of the many operated at different points throughout the city by the non-profit group GrowNYC.[57] Dining services at Columbia spends 36 percent of its food budget on local products, in addition to serving sustainably harvested seafood and fair trade coffee on campus.[58] Columbia has been rated "B+" by the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card for its environmental and sustainability initiatives.[59]


Undergraduate admissions and financial aid

Alma Mater is a well-known statue on the steps of Low Memorial Library in the heart of the campus.

Columbia University's acceptance rate for the class of 2015 (Columbia College and Engineering) is 6.90%,[60] making Columbia the second most selective college in the United States by admission rate behind Harvard.[61][62][63] The undergraduate yield rate for the class of 2014 is 59%.[64] According to the 2011 college selectivity ranking by U.S. News & World Report, which factors admission and yield rates among other criteria, Columbia is the third most selective college in the nation, behind Yale and Caltech and tied with Harvard, MIT, and Princeton.[65] Columbia sends approximately 90% of its undergraduates to graduate school in virtually every academic, professional and vocational field.[66] Columbia is a racially diverse school, with approximately 52% of all students identifying themselves as persons of color. Additionally, 50.3% of all undergraduates in the Class of 2013 receive financial aid. The average financial aid package for these students exceeds $30,000, with an average grant size of over $20,000.[67]

On April 11, 2007, Columbia University announced a $400m to $600m donation from media billionaire alumnus John Kluge to be used exclusively for undergraduate financial aid. The donation is among the largest single gifts to higher education. Its exact value will depend on the eventual value of Kluge's estate at the time of his death; however, the generous donation has helped change financial aid policy at Columbia.[68] Annual gifts, fund-raising, and an increase in spending from the university’s endowment have allowed Columbia to extend generous financial aid packages to qualifying students. As of 2008, undergraduates from families with incomes as high as $60,000 a year will have the projected cost of attending the University, including room, board, and academic fees, subsidized by the University. That same year, the University ended loans for incoming and current students who were on financial aid, replacing loans that were traditionally part of aid packages with grants from the university. However, this does not apply to international students, transfer students, visiting students, or students in the School of General Studies.[69] In the fall of 2010, admission to Columbia's undergraduate colleges Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science began accepting the Common Application. The policy change made Columbia one of the last major academic institutions and the last Ivy League university to switch to the common application.[70]


Columbia Graduate/Professional Schools[71]
College/school Year founded

College of Physicians and Surgeons 1767
College of Dental Medicine 1852
Columbia Law School 1858
School of Engineering and Applied Science 1864
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1880
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation 1881
Teachers College, Columbia University 1889
Columbia University School of Nursing 1892
Columbia University School of Social Work 1898
Graduate School of Journalism 1912
Columbia Business School 1916
Mailman School of Public Health 1922
School of International and Public Affairs 1946
The School of the Arts 1948
Columbia University's School of Continuing Education 1995

Columbia University is an independent, privately supported, nonsectarian institution of higher education. Its official corporate name is “The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.” The University’s first Charter was granted in 1754 by King George II; however, its current Charter was first enacted in 1787 and last amended in 1810 by the New York State Legislature. The University is governed by 24 Trustees, customarily including the President, who serves ex officio. The Trustees themselves are responsible for choosing their successors. Six of the 24 are nominated from a pool of candidates recommended by the Columbia Alumni Association. Another six are nominated by the Board in consultation with the Executive Committee of the University Senate. The remaining 12, including the President, are nominated by the Trustees themselves through their internal processes. The term of office for Trustees is six years. Generally, they serve for no more than two consecutive terms. The Trustees appoint the President and other senior administrative officers of the University, and review and confirm faculty appointments as required. They determine the University’s financial and investment policies, authorize the budget, supervise the endowment, direct the management of the University’s real estate and other assets, and otherwise oversee the administration and management of the University.[72][73]

The University Senate was established by the Trustees after a University-wide referendum in 1969. It succeeded to the powers of the University Council, which was created in 1890 as a body of faculty, deans, and other administrators to regulate inter-Faculty affairs and consider issues of University-wide concern. The University Senate is a unicameral body consisting of 107 members drawn from all constituencies of the University. These include the President of the University, the Provost, the Deans of Columbia College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, all who serve ex officio, and five additional representatives, appointed by the President, from the University’s administration. The President serves as the Senate’s presiding officer. The Senate is charged with reviewing the educational policies, physical development, budget, and external relations of the University. It oversees the welfare and academic freedom of the faculty and the welfare of students.[74]

The President of Columbia University, who is selected by the Trustees in consultation with the Executive Committee of the University Senate and who serves at the Trustees’ pleasure, is the chief executive officer of the University. Assisting the President in administering the University are the Provost, the Senior Executive Vice President, the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, several other vice presidents, the General Counsel, the Secretary of the University, and the deans of the Faculties, all of whom are appointed by the Trustees on the nomination of the President and serve at their pleasure.[72] Lee C. Bollinger became the 19th President of Columbia University on June 1, 2002. A prominent advocate of affirmative action, he played a leading role in the twin Supreme Court cases—Grutter v Bollinger and Gratz v Bollinger—that upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education. A leading First Amendment scholar, he is widely published on freedom of speech and press, and currently serves on the faculty of Columbia Law School.[75]

Columbia has three official undergraduate colleges: Columbia College (CC), the liberal arts college offering the Bachelor of Arts degree, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the engineering and applied science school offering the Bachelor of Science degree, and The School of General Studies (GS), in which nontraditional students obtain a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science through either full time or part time study.[76] The University is affiliated with Teachers College, Barnard College, the Union Theological Seminary, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, all located nearby in Morningside Heights. Joint undergraduate programs are available through the Jewish Theological Seminary of America as well as through the Juilliard School.[8] Two affiliated institutions – Barnard College and Teachers College – are also Faculties of the University.[77]

Research and rankings

University rankings (overall)
Forbes[78] 13
U.S. News & World Report[79] 4
Washington Monthly[80] 26
ARWU[81] 8
QS[82] 10
Times[83] 12

Columbia was the first North American site where the Uranium atom was split. It was the birthplace of FM radio and the laser.[84] The MPEG-2 algorithm of transmitting high quality audio and video over limited bandwidth was developed by Dimitris Anastassiou, a Columbia professor of electrical engineering. Biologist Martin Chalfie was the first to introduce the use of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in labelling cells in intact organisms.[85] Other inventions and products related to Columbia include Sequential Lateral Solidification (SLS) technology for making LCDs, System Management Arts (SMARTS), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) (which is used for audio, video, chat, instant messaging and whiteboarding), pharmacopeia, Macromodel (software for computational chemistry), a new and better recipe for glass concrete, Blue LEDs, and Beamprop (used in photonics).[86] Columbia scientists have been credited with about 175 new inventions in the health sciences each year.[86] More than 30 pharmaceutical products based on discoveries and inventions made at Columbia are on the market today. These include Remicade (for arthritis), Reopro (for blood clot complications), Xalatan (for glaucoma), Benefix, Latanoprost (a glaucoma treatment), shoulder prosthesis, homocysteine (testing for cardiovascular disease), and Zolinza (for cancer therapy).[87] Columbia Technology Ventures (formerly Science and Technology Ventures) currently manages some 600 patents and more than 250 active license agreements.[87] Patent-related deals earned Columbia more than $230 million in the 2006 fiscal year, according to the university.[88]

Columbia is ranked first (tied with MIT, Stanford University and Penn) in the first tier of the United States' top research universities by the Center for Measuring University Performance, which takes into account total research, federal research, endowment assets, annual giving, National Academy members, faculty awards, doctorates granted, postdoctoral appointees, and undergraduate SAT/ACT range.[89] In 2011, Columbia is ranked #8 in ARWU,[90] #10 in QS,[91] and #12 by Times Higher Education in the world.[83] Nationally, the University is currently ranked #4 by U.S. News & World Report,[79] #7 by ARWU,[90] and #13 by Forbes.[78] Columbia's colleges and schools are also ranked by several independent bodies. For 2011, the College & School of Engineering (undergraduate) is ranked #4 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.[92] the Graduate School of Arts #11,[93] the Columbia Business School #3 by The Wall Street Journal[94] the Teachers College #2 by U.S. News & World Report,[95] the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (graduate) #16,[96] the Columbia Law School #4,[97] the College of Physicians and Surgeons #10 for research and #62 for primary care,[98] the Mailman School of Public Health #5,[99] and the School of International and Public Affairs #2.[100][101] Additionally, Columbia's School of Social Work is ranked #4,[102] its Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation #4,[103] and its Graduate School of Journalism #1.[104][105]

In the last 12 years (1996–2008), 18 Columbia affiliates have won Nobel Prizes, of whom nine are current faculty members while one is an adjunct senior research scientist (Daniel Tsui) and the other a Global Fellow (Kofi Annan).[106] Current Columbia faculty awarded the Nobel Prize include Richard Axel, Martin Chalfie, Eric Kandel, Tsung-Dao Lee, Robert Mundell, Orhan Pamuk, Edmund S. Phelps, Joseph Stiglitz, and Horst L. Stormer.[107] Other awards and honors won by current faculty include 30 MacArthur Foundation Award winners,[108] 4 National Medal of Science recipients,[108] 43 National Academy of Sciences Award winners,[108] 20 National Academy of Engineering Award winners,[109] 38 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Award recipients[110] and 143 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Award winners.[108]

Student life


Demographics of Columbia University[111][112]
Undergraduate Graduate Professional
Asian/Pacific Islander 15% 7% 12%
Black/Non-Hispanic 8% 3% 4%
Hispanic 13% 5% 5%
Native American 1% 0.2% 0.2%
White/Non-Hispanic 42% 39% 28%
International Students 11% 34% 43%

For the 2010 academic year, Columbia University's student population was 27,606, with 35% of the student population identifying themselves as a minority and 23% born outside of the United States. Columbia enrolled 7,934 students in undergraduate programs, 5,393 students in graduate programs, and 12,090 students in professional programs.[111][112]

On-campus housing is guaranteed for all four years as an undergraduate. Columbia College and SEAS share housing in the on-campus residence halls. First-year students in usually live in one of the large residence halls situated around South Lawn: Hartley Hall, Wallach Hall (originally Livingston Hall), John Jay Hall, Furnald Hall or Carman Hall. Upperclassmen participate in a room selection process, wherein students can pick to live in a mix of either corridor- or apartment-style housing with their friends. The Columbia University School of General Studies and graduate schools have their own apartment-style housing in the surrounding neighborhood.[113]

Columbia University is home to many fraternities, sororities, and co-educational Greek organizations. Approximately 10–15% of undergraduate students are associated with Greek life.[114] There has been a Greek presence on campus since the establishment in 1836 of the Delta Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi.[115] The InterGreek Council is the self-governing student organization that provides guidelines and support to its member organizations within each of the three councils at Columbia, the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and Multicultural Greek Council. The three council presidents bring their affiliated chapters together once a month to meet as one Greek community. The InterGreek Council meetings provide opportunity for member organizations to learn from each other, work together and advocate for community needs.[116]


One of the earliest logos of Columbia University Press

Columbia University is home to a rich diversity of undergraduate, graduate, and professional publications. The Columbia Daily Spectator is the nation's second-oldest student newspaper;[117] and The Blue and White,[118] a monthly literary magazine established in 1890, has recently begun to delve into campus life and local politics in print and on its daily blog, dubbed the Bwog.

Political publications include The Current,[119] a journal of politics, culture and Jewish Affairs; the Columbia Political Review,[120] the multi-partisan political magazine of the Columbia Political Union; and AdHoc,[121] which denotes itself as the "progressive" campus magazine and deals largely with local political issues and arts events.

Arts and literary publications include the Columbia Review,[122] the nation's oldest college literary magazine; Columbia, a nationally regarded literary journal; the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism;[123] and The Mobius Strip,[124] an online arts and literary magazine. Inside New York[125] is an annual guidebook to New York City, written, edited, and published by Columbia undergraduates. Through a distribution agreement with Columbia University Press, the book is sold at major retailers and independent bookstores.

Columbia is home to numerous undergraduate academic publications. The Journal of Politics & Society,[126] is a journal of undergraduate research in the social sciences, published and distributed nationally by the Helvidius Group; Publius is an undergraduate journal of politics established in 2008 and published biannually;[127] the Columbia East Asia Review allows undergraduates throughout the world to publish original work on China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Vietnam and is supported by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute;[128] and The Birch,[129] is an undergraduate journal of Eastern European and Eurasian culture that is the first national student-run journal of its kind; and the Columbia Science Review is a science magazine that prints general interest articles, faculty profiles, and student research papers.[130]

The Fed[131] a triweekly satire and investigative newspaper, and the Jester of Columbia,[132] the newly (and frequently) revived campus humor magazine both inject humor into local life. Other publications include The Columbian, the undergraduate colleges' annually published yearbook[133] the Gadfly, a biannual journal of popular philosophy produced by undergraduates;[134] and Rhapsody in Blue, an undergraduate urban studies magazine.[135] Professional journals published by academic departments at Columbia University include Current Musicology[136] and The Journal of Philosophy.[137] During the spring semester, graduate students in the Journalism School publish The Bronx Beat, a bi-weekly newspaper covering the South Bronx. Teachers College publishes the Teachers College Record, a journal of research, analysis, and commentary in the field of education, published continuously since 1900.[138]

Founded in 1961 under the auspices of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) examines day-to-day press performance as well as the forces that affect that performance. The magazine is published six times a year, and offers a deliberative mix of reporting, analysis, criticism, and commentary., its Web site, delivers real-time criticism and reporting, giving CJR a vital presence in the ongoing conversation about the media. Both online and in print, Columbia Journalism Review is in conversation with a community of people who share a commitment to high journalistic standards in the U.S. and the world.[139]


Columbia is home to two early pioneers in undergraduate campus radio broadcasting, WKCR-FM and CTV. WKCR, the student run radio station that broadcasts to the Tri-State area, claims to be the oldest FM radio station in the world, owing to the University's affiliation with Major Edwin Armstrong. The station went operational on July 18, 1939, from a 400-foot antenna tower in Alpine, New Jersey, broadcasting the very first FM transmission in the world. Initially, WKCR wasn't a radio station, but an organization concerned with the technology of radio communications. As membership grew, however, the nascent club turned its efforts to broadcasting. Armstrong helped the students in their early efforts, donating a microphone and turntables when they designed their first makeshift studio in a dorm room.[140] The station currently has its studios on the second floor of Alfred Lerner Hall on the Morningside campus with its main transmitter tower at 4 Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. Columbia Television (CTV) is the nation's second oldest Student television station and home of CTV News, a weekly live news program produced by undergraduate students.[141][142]

Speech and debate

The Philolexian Society is a literary and debating club founded in 1802, making it the oldest student group at Columbia, as well as the third oldest collegiate literary society in the country.[143] The society annually administers the Joyce Kilmer Bad Poetry Contest.[144] The Columbia Parliamentary Debate Team competes in tournaments around the country as part of the American Parliamentary Debate Association, and hosts both high school and college tournaments on Columbia's campus, as well as public debates on issues affecting the University.[145]

The Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA), oversees Columbia's Model United Nations activities. CIRCA hosts college and high school Model UN conferences, hosts speakers influential in international politics to speak on campus, trains students from underprivileged schools in New York in Model UN and oversees a competitive team, which travels to colleges around the country and to an international conference every year.[146] The competitive team consistently wins best and outstanding delegation awards and is considered one of the top teams in the country.[147]

Technology and entrepreneurship

Pupin Hall, the physics building, showing the rooftop observatory

The Columbia University Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE) was founded in 1999. The student-run group aims to foster entrepreneurship on campus. Each year CORE hosts dozens of events, including a business plan competition and a series of seminars. Notable seminar speakers include Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Chairman of HDNet, and Blake Ross, creator of Mozilla Firefox. As of 2006, CORE has awarded graduate and undergraduate students with over $100,000 in seed capital. Events are possible through the contributions of various private and corporate groups; previous sponsors include Deloitte & Touche, Citigroup, and i-Compass.[148]

CampusNetwork, an on-campus social networking site called Campus Network that preceded Facebook, was created and popularized by a Columbia engineering student Adam Goldberg in 2003. Mark Zuckerberg later asked Goldberg to join him in Palo Alto to work on Facebook, but Goldberg declined the offer.[149] The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science offers a minor in Technical Entrepreneurship through its Center for Technology, Innovation, and Community Engagement. SEAS' entrepreneurship activities focus on community building initiatives in New York and Worldwide, made possible through partners such as Microsoft Corporation.[150]

Columbia is a top supplier of young engineering entrepreneurs for New York City. Over the past 20 years, graduates of Columbia established over 100 technology companies.[151] Mayor Bloomberg has provided over $6.7 million into entrepreneurial programs that partner with Columbia and other universities in New York. Professor Chris Wiggins of Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is working in conjunction with Professors Evan Korth of New York University and Hilary Mason, chief scientist at to facilitate the growth of student tech-startups in an effort to transform a traditionally financially-centered New York City into the next Silicon Valley. Their website is a huge gathering ground of ideas and discussions for New York's young entrepreneurial community, the Silicon Alley.[152]

On June 14, 2010, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched the NYC Media Lab to promote innovations within New York's media industry.[153] Situated in the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, the lab is a consortium of Columbia University, New York University, and New York City Economic Development Corporation acting to connect companies with universities in new technology research. The Lab is modeled after similar ones at MIT and Stanford. A $250,000 grant from the New York City Economic Development Corporation was used to establish the NYC Media Lab. Each year, the lab will host a range of roundtable discussions between the private sector and academic institutions. The lab will support research projects on topics of content format, next generation search technologies, computer animation for film and gaming, emerging marketing techniques, and new devices development. The lab will also create a media research and development database. Columbia University will coordinate the long-term direction of the media lab as well as the involvement of its faculty and those of other universities.[154]


Lawrence A. Wien Stadium

A member institution of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Division I-AA FCS), Columbia fields varsity teams in 29 sports and is a member of the Ivy League. The football Lions play home games at the 17,000-seat Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at Baker Field. One hundred blocks north of the main campus at Morningside Heights, the Baker Athletics Complex also includes facilities for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, track and rowing. The basketball, fencing, swimming & diving, volleyball and wrestling programs are based at the Dodge Physical Fitness Center on the main campus.[155]

Columbia University athletics has had a long history, with many accomplishments in various athletic fields. In 1870, Columbia played against Rutgers University in the second football game in the history of the sport. Eight years later, Columbia crew won the famed Henley Royal Regatta in the first-ever defeat for an English crew rowing in English waters. In 1900, Olympian and Columbia College student Maxie Long set the first official world record in the 400 meters with a time of 47.8 seconds. In 1983, Columbia men's soccer went 18-0 and was ranked first in the nation, but losing to Indiana 1-0 in double overtime in the NCAA championship game; nevertheless, the team went further toward the NCAA title than any Ivy League soccer team in history.[156] The football program unfortunately is best known for its record of futility set during the 1980s: between 1983 and 1988, the team lost 44 games in a row, which is still the record for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. The streak was broken on October 8, 1988, with a 16-13 victory over archrival Princeton. That was the Lions' first victory at Wien Stadium, which had been opened during the losing streak and was already four years old.[157]

Former students include baseball Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Eddie Collins, football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman, Marcellus Wiley, and world champion women's weightlifter Karyn Marshall.[158][159] On May 17, 1939 fledgling NBC broadcasted a doubleheader between the Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers at Columbia's Baker Field, making it the first televised regular athletic event in history.[160][161]

World Leaders Forum

Ahmadinejad speaking at the World Leaders Forum in 2007

Established in 2003 by current university president Lee C. Bollinger, the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University provides the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students alike to listen to some of the most prominent world leaders in government, religion, industry, finance, and academia. The World Leaders Forum is a year-around event series that strives to provide a platform for uninhibited speech among nations and cultures, while educating students about the current problems as well as progress around the globe.[162]

All Columbia undergraduates and graduates as well as students of Barnard College and other Columbia affiliated schools can register to participate in the World Leaders Forum using their student IDs. Even for individuals who do not have the privilege to attend the event live, they can watch the forum via online videos on Columbia University's website.[163]

Past forum speakers include former President of the United States Bill Clinton, the Prime Minister of India Atal Behari Vajpayee, Former President of Ghana John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Mozambique Joaquim Alberto Chissano, President of the Republic of Bolivia Carlos Diego Mesa Gisbert, President of the Republic of Romania Ion Iliescu, President of the Republic of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the first female President of Finland Tarja Halonen, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Pervez Musharraf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Iraq President Jalal Talabani, the 14th Dalai Lama, President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, financier George Soros, Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republic, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and Al Gore.[164]


Aerial view of Columbia University

The Columbia University Orchestra was founded by composer Edward MacDowell in 1896, and is the oldest continually operating university orchestra in the United States. Undergraduate student composers at Columbia may choose to become involved with Columbia New Music, which sponsors concerts of music written by undergraduate students from all of Columbia's schools.[165]

There are a number of performing arts groups at Columbia dedicated to producing student theater, including the Columbia Players, King's Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST), Columbia Musical Theater Society (CMTS), NOMADS (New and Original Material Authored and Directed by Students), LateNite Theatre, Columbia University Performing Arts League (CUPAL), Black Theatre Ensemble (BTE), sketch comedy group Chowdah, and improvisational troupes Alfred and Fruit Paunch.[166] The Columbia University Marching Band tells jokes during the campus tradition of Orgo Night.[167]

The Columbia Queer Alliance is the central Columbia student organization that represents the lesbian, gay, transgender, and questioning student population. It is the oldest gay student organization in the world, founded as the Student Homophile League in 1967 by students including lifelong activist Stephen Donaldson.[168][169] Columbia University campus military groups include the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University and Advocates for Columbia ROTC. In the 2005–06 academic year, the Columbia Military Society, Columbia's student group for ROTC cadets and Marine officer candidates, was renamed the Hamilton Society for "students who aspire to serve their nation through the military in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton".[170]

The University also houses an independent nonprofit organization, Community Impact, which strives to serve disadvantaged people in the Harlem, Washington Heights, and Morningside Heights communities. From its earliest inception as a single service initiative formed in 1981 by Columbia University undergraduates, Community Impact has grown into Columbia University’s largest student service organization. CI provides food, clothing, shelter, education, job training, and companionship for residents in its surrounding communities. CI consists of a dedicated corps of about 950 Columbia University student volunteers participating in 25 community service programs, which serve more than 8,000 people each year.[171]

Controversies and student demonstrations

Protests of 1968

Playwright Tony Kushner protesting at his 1978 graduation

Students initiated a major demonstration in 1968 over two main issues. The first was Columbia's proposed gymnasium in neighboring Morningside Park; this was seen by the protesters to be an act of aggression aimed at the black residents of neighboring Harlem. A second issue was the Columbia administration's failure to resign its institutional membership in the Pentagon's weapons research think-tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). Students barricaded themselves inside Low Library, Hamilton Hall, and several other university buildings during the protests, and New York City police were called onto the campus to arrest or forcibly remove the students.[172][173]

The protests achieved two of their stated goals. Columbia disaffiliated from the IDA and scrapped the plans for the controversial gym, building a subterranean physical fitness center under the north end of campus instead. The gym's plans were eventually used by Princeton University for the expansion of its athletic facilities. At least 30 Columbia students were suspended by the administration as a result of the protests. Many of the Class of ’68 walked out of their graduation and held a countercommencement on Low Plaza with a picnic following at Morningside Park, the place where the protests began.[174] The protests hurt Columbia financially as many potential students chose to attend other universities and some alumni refused to donate money to the school. Allan Bloom, a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago, believed that the protest efforts at Columbia were responsible for pushing higher education further toward the liberal left. As a result of the protests, Bloom stated, “American universities were no longer places of intellectual and academic debate, but rather places of ‘political correctness’ and liberalism.”[175]

Protests against racism and apartheid

Further student protests, including hunger strike and more barricades of Hamilton Hall and the Business School[176] during the late 1970s and early 1980s, were aimed at convincing the university trustees to divest all of the university's investments in companies that were seen as active or tacit supporters of the apartheid regime in South Africa. A notable upsurge in the protests occurred in 1978, when following a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the student uprising in 1968, students marched and rallied in protest of University investments in South Africa. The Committee Against Investment in South Africa (CAISA) and numerous student groups including the Socialist Action Committee, the Black Student Organization and the Gay Students group joined together and succeeded in pressing for the first partial divestment of a U.S. University.

The initial (and partial) Columbia divestment,[177] focused largely on bonds and financial institutions directly involved with the South African regime.[178] It followed a year long campaign first initiated by students who had worked together to block the appointment of former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to an endowed chair at the University in 1977.[179]

Broadly backed by a diverse array of student groups and many notable faculty members the Committee Against Investment in South Africa held numerous teach-ins and demonstrations through the year focused on the trustees ties to the corporations doing business with South Africa. Trustee meetings were picketed and interrupted by demonstrations culminating in May 1978 in the takeover of the Graduate School of Business.[180][181]

Ahmadinejad speech controversy

Students protest Ahmadinejad's invitation to speak at the University.

The School of International and Public Affairs traditionally extends invitations to many heads of state and heads of government who come to New York City for the opening of the fall session of the United Nations General Assembly. In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of those invited to speak on campus. Ahmadinejad accepted his invitation and spoke on September 24, 2007, as part of Columbia University's World Leaders Forum.[182] The invitation proved to be highly controversial. Thousands of demonstrators swarmed the campus on September 24 and the speech itself was televised worldwide. University President Lee Bollinger tried to assuage the controversy by letting Ahmadenijad speak, but with a negative introduction (given personally by Bollinger). This did not mollify those who were displeased with the fact that the Iranian leader had been invited onto the campus.[183] Columbia students, though, turned out en masse to listen to the speech on the South Lawn. An estimated 2,500 under graduates and graduates came out for the historic occasion.

During his speech, Ahmadinejad criticized Israel's policies towards the Palestinians; called for research on the historical accuracy of Holocaust; raised questions as to who initiated the 9/11 attacks; defended Iran's nuclear power program, criticizing the UN' policy of sanctions on his country; and attacked U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In response to a question about Iran's treatment of women and homosexuals, he asserted that women are respected in Iran and that "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country... In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who told you this."[184] The latter statement drew laughter from the audience. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office accused Columbia of accepting grant money from the Alavi Foundation to support faculty "sympathetic" to Iran's Islamic republic.[185]

ROTC controversy

Since 1969, during the Vietnam War, the university has not allowed the US military to have Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs on campus.[186] However, even after 1969, Columbia students could participate in ROTC programs at other nearby colleges and universities.[187][188][189][190] At a forum at the university during the 2008 presidential election campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama said that the university should consider reinstating ROTC on campus.[189][191][192] After the debate, the President of the University, Lee Bollinger, stated that he did not favor reinstating Columbia's ROTC program, because of the military's anti-gay policies. In November 2008, Columbia's undergraduate student body held a referendum on the question of whether or not to invite ROTC back to campus, and the students who voted were almost evenly divided on the issue. ROTC lost the vote (which would not have been binding on the administration, and did not include graduate students, faculty, or alumni) by a fraction of a percentage point. In April 2010 during Admiral Mike Mullen's address at Columbia, president Lee Bollinger stated that the ROTC would be readmitted to campus if the admiral's plans for revoking the don't ask, don't tell policy were successful. In February 2011 during one of three town-hall meetings on the ROTC ban, former Army staff sergeant Anthony Maschek, a purple heart recipient for injuries sustained during his service in Iraq, was booed and hissed at by some students during his speech promoting the idea of allowing the ROTC on campus.[193] In April 2011 the Columbia University Senate voted to welcome the ROTC program back on campus.[194] Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger signed an agreement to reinstate Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) programs at Columbia for the first time in more than 40 years on May 26, 2011. The agreement was signed at a ceremony onboard the USS Iwo Jima, docked in New York for the Navy’s annual Fleet Week.[195]


Orgo Night

On the day before the Organic Chemistry exam—which is often on the first day of finals—at precisely the stroke of midnight, the Columbia University Marching Band occupies Butler Library to distract diligent students from studying. After a forty-five minutes or so of jokes and music, the procession then moves out to the lawn in front of Hartley, Wallach and John Jay residence halls to entertain the residents there. The Band then plays at various other locations around Morningside Heights, including the residential quadrangle of Barnard College, where students of the all-women's school, in mock-consternation, rain trash – including notes and course packets – and water balloons upon them from their dormitories above. The Band tends to close their Orgo Night performances before Furnald Hall, known among students as the more studious and reportedly "anti-social" residence hall, where the underclassmen in the Band serenade the graduating seniors with an entertaining, though vulgar, mock-hymn to Columbia, composed of quips that poke fun at the various stereotypes about the Columbia student body.[196]

Tree-Lighting and Yule Log ceremonies

The campus Tree-Lighting Ceremony is a relatively new tradition at Columbia, inaugurated in 1998. It celebrates the illumination of the medium-sized trees lining College Walk in front of Kent and Hamilton Halls on the east end and Dodge and Journalism Halls on the west, just before finals week in early December. The lights remain on until February 28. Students meet at the sun-dial for free hot chocolate, performances by various a cappella groups, and speeches by the university president and a guest.[197]

Immediately following the College Walk festivities is one of Columbia's older holiday traditions, the lighting of the Yule Log. The ceremony dates to a period prior to the American Revolutionary War, but lapsed before being revived by University President Nicholas Murray Butler in the early 20th century. A troop of students dressed as Continental Army soldiers carry the eponymous log from the sun-dial to the lounge of John Jay Hall, where it is lit amid the singing of seasonal carols. The ceremony is accompanied by a reading of A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore and Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church.[198]

The Varsity Show

The Varsity Show is an annual musical written by and for students and was established in 1894, making it one of Columbia's oldest traditions. Past writers and directors have included Columbians Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, I.A.L. Diamond, and Herman Wouk. The show has one of the largest operating budgets of all University events.[199]

Notable people

Three United States Presidents, twenty-six foreign Heads of State, nine Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (including three Chief Justices) and 40 Nobel Prize winners are alumni of Columbia.[200][201][202] Alumni also have received more than 22 National Book Awards and 104 Pulitzer Prizes.[203] Today, two United States Senators and 16 current Chief Executives of Fortune 500 companies hold Columbia degrees, as do three of the 25 richest Americans and 20 living billionaires.[13][204] Attendees of King's College, Columbia's predecessor, included five Founding Fathers.[n 1]

Former U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt attended the law school.[210] Other more recent political figures educated at Columbia include U.S President Barack Obama,[211] Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg,[212] former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,[213] former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan,[214] current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and current U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr..[215] Dwight D. Eisenhower served as the thirteenth president of Columbia University from 1948 to 1953.[216] The University has also educated 26 foreign Heads of State, including current President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, current President of East Timor Jose Ramos Horta, current President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves and other historical figures such as Wellington Koo, Gaston Eyskens, and T. V. Soong.[n 2] The author of India's constitution Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was also an alumni of Columbia. His bust is on display in the Lehman library.[242]

Alumni of Columbia have occupied top positions in Wall Street and the rest of the business world. Notable members of the Astor family[243][244] attended Columbia, while some recent business graduates include investor Warren Buffet,[245] former CEO of PBS and NBC Larry Grossman,[246] and chairman of Wal-Mart S. Robson Walton.[247] Current CEO's of top Fortune 500 companies include James P. Gorman of Morgan Stanley,[248] Robert J. Stevens of Lockheed Martin,[249] Philippe Dauman of Viacom,[250] Ursula Burns of Xerox,[251] and Vikram Pandit of Citigroup.[252]

In science and technology, Columbia alumni include: founder of IBM Herman Hollerith;[253] inventor of FM radio Edwin Armstrong;[254] inventor of the nuclear submarine Hyman Rickover;[255] founder of Google China Kai-Fu Lee;[256] scientists Stephen Jay Gould,[257] Robert Millikan,[258] and Michael Pupin;[259] chief-engineer of the New York City subway William Barclay Parsons;[260] philosophers Irwin Edman[261] and Robert Nozick;[262] and economist Milton Friedman[263]

Many Columbia alumni have gone on to renowned careers in the arts, such as the composers Richard Rodgers,[264] Oscar Hammerstein II,[265] Lorenz Hart,[266] and Art Garfunkel.[267] Four United States Poet Laureates received their degrees from Columbia. Columbia alumni have made an indelible mark in the field of American poetry and literature, with such people as Jack Kerouac, one of the pioneers of the Beat Generation,[268] and Langston Hughes, a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance,[269] having both attended the University. Other notable writers who attended Columbia include authors Isaac Asimov,[270] J.D. Salinger,[271] Upton Sinclair,[272] and the journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who was primarily known for his works in the American magazine Rolling Stone.[273]

University alumni have also been very prominent in the film industry, with 25 different alumni winning a combined 30 Academy Awards, more than any other school in the world.[14][203] Some notable Columbia alumni that have gone on to work in film include directors Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men)[274] and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker),[275] screenwriters Howard Koch (Casablanca)[276] and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve),[277] and actors James Cagney[278] and Ed Harris.[279]

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  1. ^ Founding Fathers include: Alexander Hamilton,[205] John Jay,[206] Robert R. Livingston,[207] Egbert Benson,[208] and Gouverneur Morris.[209]
  2. ^ Foreign heads of state include: Muhammad Fadhel al-Jamali,[217] Giuliano Amato,[218] Hafizullah Amin,[219] Nahas Angula,[220] Marek Belka,[221] Fernando Henrique Cardoso,[222] Gaston Eyskens,[223] Mark Eyskens,[224] Jose Ramos Horta,[225] Lee Huan,[226] Toomas Hendrik Ilves,[227] Wellington Koo,[228] Benjamin Mkapa,[229] Mikhail Saakashvili,[230] Mohammad Musa Shafiq,[231] Salim Ahmed Salim,[232] Ernesto Samper,[233] Tang Shaoyi,[234] Abdul Zahir,[233] Zhou Ziqi,[235] Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz,[236] Sun Fo,[237] Chen Gongbo,[238] Nwafor Orizu[239] Juan Bautista Sacasa,[240] and T. V. Soong.[241]

Further reading

  • Robert A. McCaughey: Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754–2004, Columbia University Press, 2003, ISBN 0231130082
  • Living Legacies at Columbia, ed. by Wm Theodore De Bary, Columbia University Press, 2006, ISBN 0231138849

External links

Media related to Columbia University at Wikimedia Commons

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