Columbia University is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. Columbia's main campus lies in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The university is now legally known as Columbia University in the City of New York. The institution was established as King's College by the Church of England, receiving a Royal Charter in 1754 from George II of Great Britain. One of only two universities in the United States to have been founded by royal charter, it was the first college established in the Province of New York, and the fifth college established in the Thirteen Colonies. After the American Revolution it was briefly chartered as a New York State entity from 1784-1787, however the university now operates under a 1787 charter that places the institution under a private board of trustees.
Columbia University is home to the Pulitzer Prize, which has rewarded outstanding achievement in journalism, literature and music for over a century. Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism was founded by Joseph Pulitzer.
Seventy-seven Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with Columbia.
Columbia was the birthplace of FM radio, the first American university to offer historic preservation, anthropology and political science as academic disciplines, the first American school to grant the M.D. degree, and the birthplace of modern genetics. An early research center for Manhattan Project development of the atomic bomb, its Morningside Heights campus was the first North American site where the uranium atom was split. Literary and artistic movements as varied as the Harlem Renaissance (according to someone's opinion, but not necessarily reality), the Beat movement and postcolonialism all took shape at Columbia in the 20th century.
Columbia has had a long association with American political leaders. Among the earliest students and trustees of King's College were four "founding fathers" of the United States. U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt both studied law at Columbia, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the University before making his White House bid. The 2008 Democratic Party presidential nominee Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree at Columbia, as did current U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the current Governor of New York State David Paterson, and a number of current U.S. Senators and Representatives to Congress.
Columbia's main campus occupies more than six city blocks, or 32 acres (132,000 m²), in Morningside Heights, a neighborhood located between the Upper West Side and Harlem sections of Manhattan that contains a number of academic institutions. The university owns over 7,800 apartments in Morningside Heights, which house faculty, graduate students, and staff. Almost two dozen undergraduate dormitories (purpose-built or converted) are located on campus or in Morningside Heights.
New buildings and structures on the campus, especially those built following the Second World War, have often only been constructed after a contentious process often involving open debate and protest over the new structures. Often the complaints raised by these protests during these periods of expansion have included issues beyond the debate over the construction of any of the architectural features which diverged from the original McKim, Mead, and White plan, and often involved complaints against the administration of the university. This was the case with Uris Hall, which sits behind Low Library, built in the 1960s, and the more recent Alfred Lerner Hall, a deconstructivist structure completed in 1998 and designed by Columbia's then-Dean of Architecture, Bernard Tschumi. Elements of these same issues have been reflected in the current debate over the future expansion of the campus into Manhattanville, several blocks uptown from the current campus.
Columbia's library system includes over 9.5 million volumes. One library of note on campus is the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library which is the largest library of architecture in the United States and among, if not the largest, in the world. The library contains more than 400,000 volumes, of which most are non-circulating and must be read on site. One of the library's prominent undertakings is the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, which is one of the foremost international resources for locating citations to architecture and related topics in periodical literature. The Avery Index covers periodicals thoroughly back to the 1930s, with limited coverage dating to the nineteenth century, up to the present day.
Several buildings on the Morningside Heights campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Low Memorial Library, 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, where initial experiments on the nuclear fission of uranium were conducted by Enrico Fermi. The uranium atom was split there ten days after the world's first atom-splitting in Copenhagenhaper, Denmark.
Health-related schools are located at the Columbia University Medical Center, twenty acres located in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, fifty blocks uptown. Columbia also owns the 26 acre Baker Field, which includes the Lawrence A. Wien Stadium as well as facilities for field sports, outdoor track and tennis, at the northern tip of Manhattan island (in the neighborhood of Inwood). There is a third campus on the west bank of the Hudson River, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, and another, the 60 acre Nevis Laboratories, in Irvington, New York. There is a satellite campus in Paris, Reid Hall. The Arden House in Harriman, New York is primarily used for the Executive MBA Program.
Controversy surrounded the founding of the new college in New York, as it was a thoroughly Church of England institution dominated by the influence of Crown officials, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Crown Secretary for Plantations and Colonies, in its governing body. Fears of the establishment of a Church of England episcopacy and of Crown influence in America through King's College were underpinned by its vast wealth, far surpassing all other colonial colleges of the period.
The American Revolution and the subsequent war were catastrophic for King's College. It suspended instruction in 1776, and remained so for eight years, beginning with the arrival of the Continental Army in the spring of that year and continuing with 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. Additionally, many of the college's alumni, primarily Loyalists, fled to Canada or Great Britain in the war's aftermath, leaving its future governance and financial status in question.
Although the college had been considered a bastion of Tory sentiment, it nevertheless produced many key leaders of the Revolutionary generation - individuals later instrumental in the college's revival. Among the earliest students and trustees of King's College were four "founding fathers" of the United States: John Jay, who negotiated the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Great Britain, ending the Revolutionary War, and who later became the first Chief Justice of the United States; Alexander Hamilton, military aide to General George Washington, author of most of the Federalist Papers, and the first Secretary of the Treasury; Gouverneur Morris, the author of the final draft of the United States Constitution; and Robert R. Livingston, a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Hamilton's first experience with the military came while a student during the summer of 1775, after the outbreak of fighting at Boston. Along with Nicholas Fish, Robert Troup, and a group of other students from King's he joined a volunteer militia company called the "Hearts of Oak" – Hamilton achieving the rank of Lieutenant. They adopted distinctive uniforms, complete with the words "Liberty or Death" on their hatbands, and drilled under the watchful eye of a former British officer in the graveyard of the nearby St. Paul's Chapel. In August 1775, while under fire from the HMS Asia, the Hearts of Oak (a.k.a. the "Corsicans") participated in a successful raid to seize cannon from the Battery, becoming an artillery unit thereafter. Ironically, in 1776 Captain Hamilton would engage in and survive the Battle of Harlem Heights, which took place on and around the site that would become home to his Alma Mater over a century later, only to be - after his dueling death twenty-eight years later - entombed on the site of the first home for King's College in the Trinity Church yard.
On May 5, 1784, the Regents held their first meeting, instructing Treasurer Brockholst Livingston and Secretary Robert Harpur (who was Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at King’s) to recover the books, records and any other assets that had been dispersed during the war, and appointing a committee to supervise the repairs of the college building. In addition, the Regents moved quickly to rebuild Columbia’s faculty, appointing William Cochran instructor of Greek and Latin.
In the summer of 1784, after the legislature passed the act restoring the college, Major General James Clinton, a hero of the revolutionary war, brought his son DeWitt Clinton to New York on his way to enroll him as a student at the College of New Jersey. When James Duane, the Mayor of New York and a member of the Regents, heard that the younger Clinton was leaving the state for his education, he pleaded with Cochran to offer him admission to the reconstituted Columbia. Cochran agreed - in no small part due to the fact that DeWitt’s uncle, George Clinton, the Governor of New York, had recently been elected Chancellor of the College by the Regents - and DeWitt Clinton became one of nine students admitted to Columbia that year.
As the state proved negligent in its funding of the institution, this arrangement became increasingly unsatisfactory for both. An expansion of the Regents to 20 New York City residents had placed Hamilton and Jay at the helm, and they, along with Duane, argued for privatization of the college. In 1787 a new charter was adopted for the college, still in use today, granting power to a private board of Trustees. Samuel Johnson's son, William Samuel Johnson, became its president.
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. George Washington, notably, attended the commencement of 1790, and nascent interest in legal education commenced under Professor James Kent. As the state and country transitioned to a considerably more Jeffersonian era, however, the college's good fortunes began to dry up. The primary difficulty was funding; the college, already receiving less from the state following its privatization, was beset with even more financial difficulties as hostile politicians took power and as new upstate colleges, particularly Hamilton and Union, lobbied effectively for subsidies. What Columbia did receive was Manhattan real estate, which would only later prove lucrative.
Columbia's performance flagged for the remainder of the 19th century's first half. The law faculty never managed to thrive during this period, and in 1807 the medical school, hoping to arrest its decline, broke off to merge with the independent College of Physicians and Surgeons. Contention between students and faculty were highlighted by the "Riotous Commencement" of 1811, in which students violently protested the faculty's decision not to confer a degree upon John Stevenson, who had inserted objectionable words into his commencement speech. Though the college was finally able to shake its embarrassing reputation for structural shabbiness by adding several wings to College Hall and refinishing it in the more fashionable Greek Revival style, the effort failed to halt Columbia's long-term downturn, and was soon overshadowed by the Gibbs Affair of 1854, in which famed chemistry professor Oliver Wolcott Gibbs was denied a professorship at the college, from which he had graduated, due to his Unitarian affiliation. The event demonstrated to many, including frustrated diarist and trustee George Templeton Strong, the narrow-mindedness of the institution. By July, 1854 the Christian Examiner of Boston, in an article entitled "The Recent Difficulties at Columbia College", noted that the school was "good in classics" yet "weak in sciences", and had "very few distinguished graduates".
The building often depicted as emblematic of Columbia is the centerpiece of the Morningside Heights campus, Low Memorial Library. Constructed in 1895, the building is still referred to as "Low Library" although it has not functioned as a library since 1934. It currently houses the offices of the President and Provost, the Visitor's Center, the Trustees' Room and Columbia Security. Patterned on several precursors, including the Parthenon and the Pantheon, it is surmounted by the largest all-granite dome in the United States.
Under the leadership of Low's successor, Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia rapidly became the nation's major institution for research, setting the "multiversity" model that later universities would adopt. On the Morningside Heights campus, Columbia centralized on a single campus the College, the School of Law, the Graduate Faculties, the School of Mines (predecessor of the Engineering School), and the College of Physicians & Surgeons. Butler went on to serve as president of Columbia for over four decades and became a giant in American public life (as one-time vice presidential candidate and a Nobel Laureate). His introduction of "downtown" business practices in university administration led to innovations in internal reforms such as the centralization of academic affairs, the direct appointment of registrars, deans, provosts, and secretaries, as well as the formation of a professionalized university bureaucracy, unprecedented among American universities at the time.
In 1893 the Columbia University Press was founded in order to "promote the study of economic, historical, literary, scientific and other subjects; and to promote and encourage the publication of literary works embodying original research in such subjects." Among its publications are The Columbia Encyclopedia, first published in 1935, and The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World, first published in 1952.
In 1902, New York newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer donated a substantial sum to the University for the founding of a school to teach journalism. The result was the 1912 opening of the Graduate School of Journalism — the only journalism school in the Ivy League. The school is the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize and the duPont-Columbia Award in broadcast journalism.
In 1904 Columbia organized adult education classes into a formal program called Extension Teaching (later renamed University Extension). Courses in Extension Teaching eventually give rise to the Columbia Writing Program, the Columbia Business School, and the School of Dentistry and Oral Surgery.
By the late 1930s, a Columbia student could study with the likes of Jacques Barzun, Paul Lazarsfeld, Mark Van Doren, Lionel Trilling, and I. I. Rabi. The University's graduates during this time were equally accomplished — for example, two alumni of Columbia's Law School, Charles Evans Hughes and Harlan Fiske Stone (who also held the position of Law School dean), served successively as Chief Justices of the United States. Dwight Eisenhower served as Columbia's president from 1948 until he became the President of the United States in 1953.
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.
Following the end of World War II the School of International Affairs was founded in 1946. Focusing on developing diplomats and foreign affairs specialists the school began by offering the Master of International Affairs. To satisfy an increasing desire for skilled public service professionals at home and abroad, the School added the Master of Public Administration degree in 1977. In 1981 the School was renamed the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). The School introduced an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy in 2001 and, in 2004, SIPA inaugurated its first doctoral program — the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Sustainable Development.
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. While University Extension had granted the B.S. degree since 1921, the School of General Studies first granted the B.A. degree in 1968.
Columbia College 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 and Barnard.
In 1990 the Faculty of Arts & Sciences was created, unifying the faculties of Columbia College, the School of General Studies, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of International and Public Affairs.
In 1997, the Columbia Engineering School was renamed the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, in honor of Chinese businessman Z. Y. Fu, who gave Columbia $26 million. The school is now referred to as "SEAS" or simply, "the engineering school."
As of April 2007, the university had purchased more than two-thirds of 17 acres desired for a new campus in Manhattanville, to the north of the Morningside Heights campus. Stretching from 125th Street to 133rd Street, the new campus would 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. 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.
The project has suffered from criticism of a lack of transparency and concern for community needs. According to the Environmental Impact Statement recently certified by the Department of City Planning, almost 300 people would be displaced from the project zone, and almost 3,300 would be displaced from areas surrounding it. Community activist groups in West Harlem have committed to fighting the expansion. Despite a constant barrage of opposition at a series of public hearings, the City Council of New York green-lighted Columbia's Manhattanville expansion plan on December 19th, 2007, after receiving strong support from Councilman Robert Jackson (D-West Harlem) and Councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Central Harlem). Critics accuse the university of having used its political muscle to silence dissent. At least one landowner claims to have been "threatened" by university representatives.
On April 11, 2007, Columbia University announced a $400m to $600m donation from media billionaire John Kluge to be used exclusively for 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.
In 2008, Columbia College admitted 8.7% of applicants for the Class of 2012, one of the lowest rates in the country. The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences admitted 17.6%, a record for the School.
Columbia is also a diverse school, with approximately 49% of all students identifying themselves as persons of color. Additionally, over 50% of all undergraduates in the Class of 2011 will be receiving financial aid. The average financial aid package for these students exceeds $27,000, with an average grant size of over $20,000.
Columbia also has a number of graduate and professional schools, including:
The university is affiliated with Barnard College, Teachers College, the Union Theological Seminary, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, all located nearby in Morningside Heights. A joint undergraduate program is available through the Jewish Theological Seminary of America as well as through the Juilliard School.
The undergraduate school of Columbia University is ranked 8th (tied with University of Chicago and Duke University) among national universities by U.S. News and World Report (USNWR), 7th among world universities and 6th among universities in the Americas by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 9th by Forbes, 10th among world universities and 6th in North America by the THES - QS World University Rankings, 10th among "global universities" by Newsweek, and 1st in the U.S. among both national research universities and private universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance. According to the National Research Council, graduate programs are ranked 8th nationally.
According to the U.S. News & World Report,The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, home to the Pulitzer Prize, ranks #1. Teachers College (Columbia's Graduate School of Education) ranks #4. School of Social Work ranks #4. The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) ranks #3 (according to Architect magazine's November 2007 issue). Columbia Law School ranks #4. The Mailman School of Public Health ranks #6. Columbia Business School ranks #9 (#2 according to The Financial Times; #6 according to Fortune Magazine). Columbia's medical school, called the College of Physicians and Surgeons, ranks #11. According to Foreign Policy magazine, the School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) PhD program (overall) in international relations is ranked #2, and the Master's program (policy area) is ranked #5. Finally, Columbia's Institute of Human Nutrition ranks #1 according to The Chronicle for Higher Education.
In 2005, the University became embroiled in a controversy regarding the academic freedom of students in connection with their studies in the department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures ("MEALAC"). The students charged that MEALAC faculty showed an anti-Israel bias, with one student who was formerly with the Israeli Defense Forces charging that a professor, Joseph Massad, refused to answer his question until he "revealed how many Palestinians he had killed." The professor denied that the incident took place. A group called "The David Project produced a documentary entitled Columbia Unbecoming in which the charges were made. In response, President Bollinger convened an ad hoc panel to investigate the incidents described in the film and established a standing panel and grievance procedure for future claims of student intimidation.
This name refers to a statue on the steps (see below) of Low Memorial Library by sculptor Daniel Chester French. There is a small owl "hidden" on the sculpture. Alma Mater is also the subject of many Columbia legends. The main legends include that the first student in the freshmen class to find the hidden owl on the statue will be valedictorian, and that any subsequent Barnard student who finds it will marry a Columbia man, seeing as how Barnard is a women's college.
In recent years, new outlets for Columbia student life have opened online. Some, such as the Bwog, the blog of the undergraduate magazine The Blue and White and a medium for campus gossip, and the professor ratings site CULPA (the Columbia Underground Listing of Professor Ability), have flourished. CULPA, established in 1997 and unaffiliated officially with the university, allows students to anonymously post their own reviews of their professors. It is regarded as one of the most useful tools for students looking to enroll in a class, boasting over 10,000 reviews. Because of the candid nature of the submissions, the site has occasionally been accused of harboring biased reviews and misrepresenting professors. Still, it is the main source of professor review currently available to the Columbia student body.
Students have launched a number of other, sometimes pioneering, websites. CU Community was a popular online networking website created by Adam Goldberg (SEAS ´06) containing 85% of the undergraduate student body, that later rebranded itself CampusNetwork and launched across several universities, before succumbing to its long-time competitor, Facebook. The Columbia Daily Spectator launched a blog called SpecBlogs, but this has also since been shut down. Other ventures have been more successful. Carsplit, also created by Adam Goldberg (SEAS ´06), launched in 2005 as a way for students to split the cost of taking a taxi to the airport. Usage peaks during winter break where, last year, over 1,000 students used the service. CU Snacks, authored by Brandon Arbiter (SEAS ´06) was one of the first online, late night snack delivery services. It started from Wien Residence Hall in 2004 and, although it remains completely student-run, it is now part of the experiential education program of Columbia's Center for Career Education. A more recent launch was WikiCU,, a student-run wiki about Columbia University and its surrounding neighborhood of Morningside Heights.
WKCR, the student run radio station broadcasts to the Tri-State area and claims to be the oldest FM radio station in the world, owing to the University's affiliation with Major Edwin Armstrong. 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. CTV transmits a cablecast and webcast from its studio in Alfred Lerner Hall.
The Columbia University Mock Trial Program was founded in 1998. It fields four teams that compete in tournaments across the country under the umbrella American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). In recent years the Columbia Mock Trial Program has won tournaments at Northwestern University, George Washington University, Yale University, UCLA, as well as three Northeast Regional Titles. The Columbia program is one of the best in the country, ranked in the Top-Ten since 2003 and peaking at the Number 2 ranking in 2004. In 2005-2006, Columbia Mock Trial had one team finish 5th Place at the National Tournament in St. Petersburg, FL and one team finish 6th Place at the National Championship Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. Every year Columbia hosts the Columbia University Big Apple Invitational Tournament (CUBAIT), one of the best invitational tournaments in the nation. CUBAIT annually attracts many of the top twenty teams in the nation.
The Columbia Model United Nations holds several functions. Its traveling team competes in conferences both domestically and internationally and is considered one of the top Model United Nations teams in the country. It also holds the Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition (CMUNCE), an annual high school international affairs conference, founded in 2001 by Erica DeBruin. The conference is known for its crisis-oriented committees and the comparatively small committee size. Columbia Model United Nations in New York (CMUNNY]), is a small crisis-oriented Model United Nations conference for college students that prides itself in non-conventional committees. It was founded in 2006 by David Coates.
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.
In addition, there are four NPC sororities on campus:
There are also various multicultural Greek organizations, including:
During the 2007-2008 academic year, the Columbia University Asian American Alliance (AAA or triple-A) became one of the most active Asian American student organizations in the nation and one of the largest student organizations at Columbia. During its past three years of growth, AAA has founded the regional NYC Asian American student conference and a national daily blog on Asian American issues called TheBlaaag. With three subcommittees that specialize in social life, political issues, and community service, AAA works on a variety of issues including addressing hate crimes and bias incidents, large scale event programming, social networking, workshops, and collaborating with the greater community at Columbia.
Black Students Organization The Columbia University Black Students Organization is one of the oldest and most active organizations of its kind in the nation. Dating back to as early as 1964, the BSO still remains an active force on the Columbia University campus. It runs one of the few student operated safe spaces on campus, the Malcolm X Lounge which can be found in 106 Hartley Hall.
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.
Columbia Community Outreach (CCO) is a student organized, student run service day that promotes community service on campus. Founded in 1997, CCO is a community service initiative that seeks to bring together the Columbia University community, raise awareness of opportunities for long-term service and to form mutually beneficial relationships with Columbia's neighboring communities. Every year over 1,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteer for a day alongside community members and non-profit organizations, such as the New York City Parks Department and Habitat for Humanity. Art History Underground, the student club for arts, organizes yearly events such as roundtables, panels and discussions. The first traditional "What is Art History?" roundtable took place in October, 2006 with the support of the Art History Department. The club also has a biannual journal with the same name, whose first issue was printed in late Fall, 2006.
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 1966 by students including lifelong activist Stephen Donaldson.
Conversio Virium is the college's student-run BDSM education and discussion group, providing Columbia students with a safe, confidential space to discuss BDSM activities and interests. It is the oldest still-running University group of its kind, recently celebrating its ten-year anniversary.
Columbia's Bhangra team "cuBhangra" is one of the most energetic and entertaining college, co-ed bhangra teams in the nation. Established in 2002, it has already secured placings at various bhangra competitions in the states and enjoys performing around New York City and in various on-campus performances.
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".
There are a number of performing arts groups at Columbia dedicated to producing student theater, including King's Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST), Columbia Musical Theater Society (CMTS), New and Original Material Authored by Students (NOMADS), Columbia University Performing Arts League (CUPAL), Black Theatre Ensemble (BTE), sketch comedy group Chowdah, Columbia University Players, and improvisational troupes Fruit Paunch and Sweeps.
The Columbia University Muslim Students Association is one of the oldest and most active Muslim Students Associations in the country.
The largest undergraduate club on campus is the Columbia University College Democrats, who won College Democrats of America's Chapter of the Year award for the 2006-2007 school year.
The Columbia mascot is a lion named Roar-ee. At football games, the Columbia University Marching Band plays "Roar, Lion, Roar" each time the team scores and "Who Owns New York?" with each first down. At halftime, alumni stand and sing the alma mater, "Sans Souci." Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are: Colossus Of Columbia the Columbia University fight song.
The Lions boast a rich athletic tradition. The wrestling team is the oldest in the nation, and the football team was the third to join intercollegiate play. A Columbia crew was the first from outside Britain to win at the Henley Royal Regatta. Former students include baseball Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Eddie Collins and football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman.
More recently, Columbia has excelled at archery, cross country, fencing and wrestling. In 2000, Olympic gold medal swimmer Cristina Teuscher became the first Ivy League student to win the Honda-Broderick Cup, awarded to the best collegiate woman athlete in the nation. Other recent Lions include Pro Bowl defensive end Marcellus Wiley, whose success in the NFL is credited with drawing the attention of professional scouts back to the Ivy League. In 2007, the Men's Track Team captured the 4x800 Penn Relay's victory. This was the first time an Ivy League school won this race since 1974.
Columbia became the third school in the United States to play intercollegiate football when it sent a squad to New Brunswick, N.J., in 1870 to play a team from Rutgers. Three years later, Columbia students joined representatives from Princeton, Rutgers and Yale to ratify the first set of rules to govern intercollegiate play.
During the first half of the 20th century, the Lions had consistent success on the gridiron. Under Hall of Fame coach Lou Little, the 1934 squad shut out heavily favored Stanford in the Rose Bowl winning what was the precursor to the national championship. During World War II football players were recruited to move uranium in support of the school's participation in the Manhattan Project. Little’s 1947 edition beat defending national champion Army, then riding a 32-game win streak, in one of the most stunning upsets of the century. Greats of the era included the All-American Sid Luckman, the quarterback who would lead the Chicago Bears to four NFL championships in the 1940s while ushering football into the modern era with the T formation.
Since sharing their only Ivy League title with Harvard in 1961, the football Lions have had three winning seasons (6-3 in 1971, 5-4-1 in 1994 and 8-2 in 1996). The distance of practice facilities at Baker Athletics Complex from the main campus at Morningside Heights, competition for the attention of the student body with all the diversions that Manhattan has to offer, and the lack of a winning tradition sometimes are cited as challenges to recruiting at Columbia. Norries Wilson, a runner-up for national assistant coach of the year while at the University of Connecticut in 2004, is the latest head coach brought in to try to turn the program around. The 2006 squad had a 5-5 record (the program's first .500-or-better season in 10 years), with two victories to close out the year against Cornell and Brown. The Brown game was won on a clutch, game-winning field goal in the waning seconds by Jon Rocholl
The baseball team boasts involvement in the first-ever televised sporting event. On May 17, 1939 fledgling NBC filmed the doubleheader of the Columbia Lions vs. Princeton Tigers at Columbia's Baker Field. Columbia won the 2008 Ivy baseball title.
In basketball, perhaps the greatest player to wear Columbia Blue was All-American Chet Forte, the 1957 national college player of the year. George Gregory, Jr. became the first African-American All-American in 1931. The 1968 Ivy League championship team included future NBA player Jim McMillian.
The students' actions were condemned as violations of the Minuteman Project's right to free speech by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, University President Lee Bollinger, and media figures from across the country. Representatives of the protesters claimed they were fighting hatred, not free speech.
The University responded with disciplinary action, charging eight students with violating University rules. Three Latino students received harsher punishments than the other students, resulting in some accusations of unfairness and racism at the University.
In his introductory speech, University President Lee Bollinger called Ahmadinejad a "petty and cruel dictator" and asked him questions about previous remarks concerning the Holocaust and his record on human rights. Ahmadinejad responded to Bollinger's remarks by saying:
"In Iran, tradition requires when you invite a person to be a speaker, we actually respect our students enough to allow them to make their own judgment, and don't think it's necessary before the speech is even given to come in with a series of complaints to provide vaccination to the students and faculty."During his speech, Ahmadinejad criticized Israel's policies towards the Palestinians, called for research on the historical accuracy of Holocaust (though he admitted that the Holocaust did occur), expressed his sympathy for the families of the victims of 9/11 attacks, raised questions as to who initiated the attacks, expressed the self-determination of Iran's nuclear power program, criticizing the United Nation's policy of sanctions on his country, and criticized U.S. 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 denied that there are any homosexuals in Iran.
Responding to the students' announcement, Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger sent an email to Columbia faculty and administrators stating that the university's opposition to ROTC was because ROTC is available at other nearby universities and because of opposition to what he described as the DoD's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. William McGurn, from the Wall Street Journal, in response to Bollinger's letter, has pointed out that United States Navy ROTC is not available at other universities near Columbia and the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy is mandated by the United States Congress, not the DoD. The last time a student vote on lifting the ban on ROTC was held in April 2003, 65% of students voted to lift the ban, although only 1,000 of the 20,000 students of the university participated in the poll.
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 Revolutionary War, but lapsed before being revived by University President Nicholas Murray Butler in the early 20th century. A troop of students dressed in 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 (Columbia College class of 1798) and Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church (Class of 1859).
Columbia is home to numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs. It was the first North American site where the Uranium atom was split. It was the birthplace of FM radio and the laser. 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. Other inventions and products related to Columbia include Sequential Lateral Solidifcation (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, Beamprop (used in photonics), among others.
Some of the greatest contributions by Columbia scientists have been in the health sciences field, including about 175 new inventions each year. 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).
Columbia ranks among the top U.S. schools in revenues earned from patents and license agreements on its inventions and discoveries. Its Science and Technology Ventures currently manages some 600 patents and more than 250 active license agreements. Patent-related deals earned Columbia more than $230 million in the 2006 fiscal year, according to the university. In 2004, Columbia made $178 million (compared to $24 million made by Harvard).
Columbia faculty awarded the Nobel Prize in the last 12 years (1996-2008):
|Faculty||Affiliation at Columbia||Nobel Prize|
|1.Martin Chalfie||Dept. of Biological Sciences||Chemistry, 2008|
|2.Orhan Pamuk||Dept.of Middle East Languages & Cultures||Literature, 2006|
|3.Edmund Phelps||Dept. of Economics||Economics, 2006|
|4.Richard Axel||Center for Neurobiology & Behavior, A.B.1967||Physiology/Medicine, 2004|
|5.Joseph Stiglitz||Dept. of Economics||Economics, 2001|
|6.Eric Kandel||Center for Neurobiology & Behavior||Physiology/Medicine, 2000|
|7.Robert Mundell||Dept. of Economics||Economics, 1999|
|8.Horst Ludwig Störmer||Dept. of Physics||Physics, 1998|
|9.William Vickrey||Dept. of Economics, M.A.1937,PhD1948||Economics, 1996|
Columbia affiliates awarded the Nobel Prize in the last 10 years (1996-2008):
|Name||Affiliation at Columbia||Nobel Prize|
|10.Al Gore||Jounalism School||Peace, 2007|
|11.John Mather||Goddard Institute for Space Studies||Physics, 2006|
|12.Robert Grubbs||PhD 1968||Chemistry, 2005|
|13.Linda Buck||Research Scientist 1980-91||Physiology/Medicine, 2004|
|14.William Standish Knowles||PhD 1942||Chemistry, 2001|
|15.James Heckman||Faculty 1970-74||Economics, 2000|
|16.Louis Ignarro||B.S. 1962||Physiology/Medicine, 1998|
|17.Robert Merton||B.S. 1966||Economics, 1997|
Other awards/honors won by current faculty include:
|President||Birth Year–Death Year||Years as President||Name of Institution; Notes|
|1||Samuel Johnson||(1696–1772)||(1754–1763)||King's College|
|2||Myles Cooper||(1735–1785)||(1763–1775)||King's College|
|2.1||Benjamin Moore||(1748–1816)||(1775–1776)||King's College; acting|
|2.2||George Clinton||(1739–1812)||(1784–1787)||Columbia College "in the State of New York"; Chancellor (Regents government)|
|3||William Samuel Johnson||(1727–1819)||(1787–1800)||Columbia College "in the City of New York" (Trustees government)|
|4||Charles Henry Wharton||(1748–1833)||(1801–1801)||Columbia College|
|5||Benjamin Moore||(1748–1816)||(1801–1810)||Columbia College|
|6||William Harris||(1765–1829)||(1811–1829)||Columbia College; shares authority with Provost John Mitchell Mason until 1816|
|7||William Alexander Duer||(1780–1858)||(1829–1842)||Columbia College|
|8||Nathaniel Fish Moore||(1782–1872)||(1842–1849)||Columbia College|
|9||Charles King||(1789–1867)||(1849–1863)||Columbia College; presides over move to Madison Avenue campus|
|10||Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard||(1809–1889)||(1864–1889)||Columbia College|
|11||Seth Low||(1850–1916)||(1890–1901)||Columbia College; presides over move to Morningside Heights campus; name changes to "Columbia University in the City of New York"|
|12||Nicholas Murray Butler||(1862–1947)||(1902–1945)||Columbia University|
|12.1||Frank D. Fackenthal||(1883–1968)||(1945–1948)||Columbia University (acting)|
|13||Dwight D. Eisenhower||(1890–1969)||(1948–1953)||Columbia University; on leave while Supreme Commander of NATO|
|14||Grayson L. Kirk||(1903–1997)||(1953–1968)||Columbia University; resigned after 1968 protests|
|15||Andrew W. Cordier||(1901–1975)||(1969–1970)||Columbia University|
|16||William J. McGill||(1922–1997)||(1970–1980)||Columbia University|
|17||Michael I. Sovern||(1931– )||(1980–1993)||Columbia University|
|18||George Erik Rupp||(1942– )||(1993–2002)||Columbia University|
|19||Lee C. Bollinger||(1947– )||(2002– )||Columbia University|
Attendees of King's College, Columbia's predecessor, included Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Robert R. Livingston, and Gouverneur Morris. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justices Harlan Fiske Stone, Charles Evans Hughes and Associate Justice Benjamin Cardozo, as well as former US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, were all educated at the law school. Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower served as President of the University. Other significant figures in American history to attend the university were John L. O'Sullivan, the journalist who coined the phrase "manifest destiny," Alfred Thayer Mahan, the geostrategist who wrote on the significance of sea power, and progressive intellectual Randolph Bourne. Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig studied at Columbia Business School between 1954 and 1955. Wellington Koo, a Chinese diplomat who argued passionately against Japanese and Western imperialism in Asia at the Paris Peace Conference, is a graduate, having honed his debating skills in Columbia's Philolexian Society, as is Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, one of the founding fathers of India and chief architect of its constitution. Local politicians have been no less represented at Columbia, including Seth Low, who served as both President of the University and Mayor of the City of New York, and New York governors Thomas Dewey, also an unsuccessful US presidential candidate, DeWitt Clinton, who presided over the construction of the Erie Canal, Hamilton Fish, later to become US Secretary of State, and Daniel D. Tompkins, who also served as a Vice President of the United States.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia, received his BA in psychology at Columbia in 1976. Philip Gunawardena, a Sri Lankan Revolutionary and Indian Freedom Fighter, who was later to be known as "The Father of Socialism in Sri Lanka", joined Columbia in 1925 for his post-graduate studies. He was later to become a Cabinet Minister, instituting far-reaching changes in Sri Lanka's agrarian structure. General, historian, and author John Watts de Peyster, who was influential in the modernization of the New York National Guard, New York Police Department, and the Fire Department of New York, attended Columbia College and later received a M.A. degree.
More recent political figures educated at Columbia include current U.S. Senators Barack Obama of Illinois, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Governor of New York David Paterson and his Chief of Staff Charles J. O'Byrne, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, conservative commentators Patrick J. Buchanan and Norman Podhoretz, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan, George Stephanopoulos, Senior Advisor to former US President Bill Clinton, George Pataki, the former governor of New York State, and Mikhail Saakashvili, the current President of the country of Georgia. Louisiana Lieutenant Governor (1956–1960) Lether Frazar, who was president of two universities in his state, obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1942. Warlick Carr, a prominent attorney in Lubbock attended Columbia for a year before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin.
Scientists Stephen Jay Gould, Robert Millikan and Michael Pupin, cultural historian Jacques Barzun, literary critic Lionel Trilling, sociologists Immanuel Wallerstein and Seymour Martin Lipset, behavioral psychologist Charles Ferster, poet-professor Mark Van Doren, philosophers Irwin Edman and Robert Nozick, and economists Milton Friedman, Former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, Daniel C. Kurtzer, and communications economist Harvey J. Levin all obtained degrees from Columbia.
In culture and the arts, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, screenwriters Sidney Buchman and I.A.L. Diamond, critic and biographer Tim Page, musician Art Garfunkel, and children's songwriter Bobby Susser, are all among Columbia's alumni. The poets Langston Hughes, Federico García Lorca, Joyce Kilmer and John Berryman; the writers Eudora Welty, Isaac Asimov, J. D. Salinger, Upton Sinclair, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Phyllis Haislip, Roger Zelazny, Herman Wouk, Hunter S. Thompson, and Paul Auster; playwrights Tony Kushner and Eulalie Spence; the architects Robert A. M. Stern, Ricardo Scofidio, Peter Eisenman and Christine Wang; the composer Béla Bartók; and film director and screenwriter Cetywa Powell also attended the university. Trappist monk, author, and humanist Thomas Merton is an alumnus both as an undergraduate and graduate student, and converted to Catholicism while attending. Urban theorist and cultural critic Jane Jacobs spent time at the School of General Studies, and educator Elisabeth Irwin received her M.A. there in 1923. Vampire Weekend band members Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson, and Chris Baio graduated from the College in 2006 and 2007. Grammy Award-winning R&B singers Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys attended Columbia, but both left after one year. Singer and songwriter Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as well as Japanese-American pop-star Utada Hikaru and Korean-American pop-star Lena Park briefly attended the College before leaving to pursue their singing careers. Allison Starling and Remy Zaken, both Broadway actresses, are currently attending the College. Young adult author Maureen Johnson graduated from Columbia with an M.F.A. in writing and theatrical dramaturgy.
Celebrities who graduated from Columbia include the actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Stiles, Amanda Peet, Famke Janssen, Matthew Fox, Brian Dennehy, Jesse Bradford, Ben Stein, George Segal, Rider Strong and Mario Van Peebles. Anna Paquin, who won an Oscar for her performance in the The Piano, attended Columbia, as did Academy Award-nominated actor Casey Affleck. Academy Award-winning actor James Cagney, and Academy Award-nominated actors Ed Harris and Jake Gyllenhaal attended Columbia for a time before leaving to pursue their acting careers. Radio personality Tom Griswold of the nationally syndicated morning radio show The Bob and Tom Show graduated from Columbia. Television talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael is a graduate. Claire-Aimee "Claire" Unabia from America's Next Top Model, Cycle 10 is a graduate of the School of General Studies.
More recently, architects Bernard Tschumi, Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry have taught at the school. The postcolonial scholar Edward Said taught at Columbia, where he spent virtually the entirety of his academic career, until his death in 2003.
Today, celebrated faculty members include string-theory expert Brian Greene, Ricci flow inventor Richard Hamilton, American historian Eric Foner, Middle Eastern studies expert Richard Bulliet, Eric Kandel, a Nobel prize winner who conducted fundamental research in neuroscience, New York City historian Kenneth T. Jackson, Je Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies Robert Thurman, composers Tristan Murail, Fred Lerdahl and George Lewis, literary theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, philosopher Philip Kitcher, British historian Simon Schama, art historian Rosalind Krauss, director Mira Nair, East Asian studies expert William Theodore de Bary, scientist, critic, writer and physician Oliver Sacks, Turkish author and Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk, and economists Jeffrey Sachs, Jagdish Bhagwati, Joseph Stiglitz, Edmund Phelps, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, and Robert Mundell.
Movies or shows with significant portrayals of Columbia alumni or students:
Currently shooting on or near the University's campus:
Recording artist Nellie McKay has released a song on her second album Pretty Little Head, entitled "Columbia Is Bleeding", discusses alleged animal abuse as part of the practice of animal testing at Columbia University.