Supporting Library Collections
Norman E. Alexander Library for Jewish Studies
Columbia University Libraries
A gift supports teaching, learning, and research in Jewish Studies by creating endowments for a dedicated librarian, general acquisitions, and development and preservation of special collections.
Thanks to the endowments established by a $4 million gift, Columbia University Libraries are purchasing additional print and electronic materials relevant to Jewish Studies and supporting and expanding its collections of historic Judaica. The gift also provided an endowment for the University’s first dedicated librarian in Jewish Studies, a position since filled by Michelle Chesner. The new librarian works with faculty to further develop the general collection and assists students and scholars in their use of the Libraries’ extensive holdings — which already include some 1,500 Hebrew manuscripts, hundreds of Hebrew books from the 15th and 16th centuries, and thousands of Yiddish publications and Jewish scholarly works in Western and Slavic languages.
“Mr. Alexander’s gift is an investment in our students, our faculty, and in the many scholars whose learning and research will benefit from the outstanding collections and services at Columbia," said James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian.
Advising for Success
Center for Student Advising
Columbia College and Columbia Engineering
Undergraduates take advantage of an improved program of integrated advising, developed with support from an endowment fund that honors a longtime and beloved Dean.
Thousands of undergraduates have already begun to enjoy a more integrated academic advising experience since the new Center for Student Advising opened in August 2010, bringing together under one roof general academic advising, Academic Success Programs, the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program, and the Office of Preprofessional Advising. The center’s guiding principle is to build what Dean of Advising Monique Rinere calls “a true partnership — a relationship between students and advisors based on mutual engagement, responsiveness, and dedication.” It’s been a successful formula to date, with more than 12,000 visits to the center by undergraduates last year, including 97 percent of first-year students during their very first week on campus.
The Student Advising Center is funded in part by the Austin E. Quigley Endowment for Student Success, which also provides funding for career education, summer internship programs, and more. The initiative to comprehensively support College and Engineering students across these multiple platforms was conceived by several key Campaign leaders and named in honor of the longtime College leader who stepped down in 2009, after 14 years as dean. “A substantial endowment will enable us to enhance our advising programs and career services substantially,” Quigley says, “while sustaining their quality for the long term.”
Photo by Michael Moran
Transforming Diabetes Care
Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center
Columbia University Medical Center
Thanks to a legacy of compassion, people of all ages receive comprehensive care for diabetes — the same condition experienced by a donor and his mother.
Soon after their daughter Isabella was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 14 months, Nicole and Daniel Lesta of Southampton, N.Y., heard about the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University. “I called and was able to make an appointment the following week. Our appointment was wonderful. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better,” Nicole said.
Today Isabella is a happy three-year-old — and one of more than 10,000 children and adults who have been helped at the Berrie Center to date. “I feel she’s getting the best care possible,” said her mother. “Isabella's doctor is helping her live a long and healthy life.”
Photo by Bob Handelman
Connecting Columbia Alumni
CAA Social and Professional Networking
A Columbia College graduate helps University alumni stay in touch with old friends, make new connections, and reap personal and professional benefits.
John Chun lives and works in Seattle, more than 2,400 miles from Morningside Heights — as he did in 2004 when he first encountered the then relatively new website LinkedIn. Seeking to connect with fellow graduates, Chun took the initiative to create an informal group that he called the “Columbia Alumni Network.” As LinkedIn grew, attracting more and more users, Chun’s group became the site’s go-to spot for Columbians of every stripe — allowing them not only to network professionally but also to reconnect with old friends, make new connections, and explore similar professional and personal concerns.
He approached University officials when the group hit 5,000 users; it had grown to about 10,000 when the Columbia Alumni Association agreed to assume administrative responsibilities. Today, the online network connects more than 17,000 alumni worldwide who share a commitment to the University and to each other. It’s just one of several CAA tools that helps thousands maintain ties to their alma mater — and it started with a lone Columbian in the Pacific Northwest.
Supporting Student Fieldwork
Environmental Biology Research Internships
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
A gift supports field research by undergraduates majoring in environmental biology, who pursue internships all around the globe to study life in its various forms.
Columbia’s undergraduate program in environmental biology educates the next generation of environmental leaders. Under the guidance of core department faculty and experienced researchers from organizations including the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, student majors complete an extraordinary range of internships at research sites around the world. In doing so, they develop professional working relationships with respected researchers and experience firsthand the realities of conducting original fieldwork under sometimes unpredictable conditions.
In 2010, Cristina Matesanz (pictured) traveled to Spain to research estuarine parasites. Other student interns in recent years have studied the biological effects of groundwater pollution in Bangladesh, the effects of farming practices on disease risk in Kenya, the infection dynamics of Lyme disease in Connecticut, bobcat habitat use in Virginia, sea turtle nesting behavior in Costa Rica, the effects of warming on alpine meadow plants in New Zealand, and much more. Their work, typically conducted after junior year, serves as the basis of their senior theses and inspires many to pursue careers in the field.
The Promise of the Brain
Jerome L. Greene Science Center
Future home of the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative
This new research facility will place Columbia scientists at the forefront of efforts to bridge the biology of the mind with other areas of knowledge.
Construction of the Center, the future home of the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative (MBBI), is already under way on Columbia’s Manhattanville campus. Led by professors Richard Axel, Thomas Jessell (pictured here), and Eric Kandel, MBBI will open up new areas of collaboration not only with the sciences and social sciences, but also the arts and humanities — addressing the roots of human behavior as well as the causes of neurological and psychiatric diseases — from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to depression and autism.
This state-of-the-art research center will be the nation’s largest private academic facility dedicated to brain research — a home for the world’s leading neuroscientists to investigate complex questions of the brain and mind. Renowned architect Renzo Piano has designed the center to facilitate collaboration and interaction, with an eye to engaging and educating the public.
Photo by Jill LeVine
Advancing the Mission
Social Work Building and Programs
Columbia University School of Social Work
An alumna provides invaluable support for the School of Social Work's home, its students, and its innovative work.
The Columbia University School of Social Work has long led the way in addressing contemporary social problems. Today, distinguished faculty continue to conduct cutting-edge research and often convene national and international conferences that contribute new knowledge to the field. Donor support for the School’s building fund has proven instrumental in maintaining an environment that is conducive to this leadership as well as teaching and learning.
The school’s relocation in 2004 brought modern classrooms, additional meeting space, and dedicated library and computer facilities that allowed the school to expand its programs, add students, and truly globalize social work education. “The building at 1255 Amsterdam Avenue enhances the educational experience,” says Kaziem Woodbury ’05SW, an active alumnus. “From a student’s perspective, it’s an environment deliberately designed for learning.” Scholarship gifts help ensure that the very best students can attend the School and take full advantage of its many resources.
Fighting Poverty in Africa
Millennium Villages Project
The Earth Institute, Columbia University
A bold model for community-led development helps half a million people in rural Africa lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
Challenges like low-productivity agriculture, a high disease burden, and high transport costs render hundreds of millions of Africans especially vulnerable to persistent extreme poverty. By helping to make the investments in human capital and infrastructure required to achieve self-sustaining economic growth, the Millennium Villages project offers a bold, innovative model for helping rural communities.
In 80 villages in 10 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, simple solutions like mosquito netting, high-yield seeds, fertilizers, medicines, drinking wells, and materials to build school rooms and clinics are effectively nourishing communities into a new age of health and opportunity. The Millennium Villages are proving that, by focusing on community-led development at the village level, rural Africa can achieve UN-established global targets for reducing poverty and hunger and improving education, health, gender equality, and environmental sustainability by 2015.
A Foundation for Growth
Holliday Professorship of Real Estate Development
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
A Real Estate Development program that will shape the skylines and landscapes of tomorrow rises to new heights with support from a generous graduate.
In 2009, the architect, developer, and former New York City planning official Vishaan Chakrabarti (pictured) became the inaugural Holliday Professor of Real Estate Development and the first full-time director of the Real Estate Development program at GSAPP. Now he’s helping the program and its graduates seek — and achieve — positions of leadership in the field.
“Real estate today is at the epicenter of the forces shaping our world, be it the economy, the environment, the design of cities, or the planet’s irrevocable shift towards urbanization,” said Chakrabarti. “Columbia’s rigorous professional program — structured in the context of the world’s most innovative laboratory for architecture, planning and preservation — provides an unrivaled platform to tackle these pressing issues.”
Photo by Bob Handelman
Completing the Cycle
A legendary business leader’s gift inspires others to create scholarship endowments that will last for generations.
When Javi Plasencia ’11CC was a high school senior, he dreamed of attending Columbia but assumed that financial considerations would steer him to a more affordable state school. Thrilled to receive the Kluge Scholarship that allowed him to come to Morningside Heights, he says it changed his life’s trajectory.
Determined to make the most of the opportunity, the avid cyclist became involved with the Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program, through which he led incoming freshmen on challenging four-day bike trips. He also served on the Columbia College Board of Visitors as a student member. Now a newly minted graduate, the onetime comparative literature major looks forward to his first assignment with Teach For America. “In terms of intellectual development and personal growth, attending Columbia has been as invaluable an experience as I had hoped it would be.”
Each year, financial aid allows a great number of talented and deserving students to attend Columbia College (and other schools at the University) — students who could not attend otherwise. Plasencia says he plans to do his part to keep the pipeline open: “I’m looking forward to giving back to help other students enjoy the same opportunities I received at Columbia.”
Photo by Jill LeVine
Columbia Business School
Henry R. Kravis Building and other new facilities
An historic gift provides the framework for state-of-the-art facilities to educate new generations of business leaders.
A $100 million gift from Henry R. Kravis — the largest in the history of Columbia Business School — will support the construction of two buildings on Columbia’s new campus in nearby Manhattanville. As it addresses a critical need for space, the planned expansion will elevate the School’s role as a source of global business and economic policy innovation and enable it to cultivate new generations of leaders who go on to careers in business, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector.
Featuring state-of-the-art technology and a design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the new facilities will encourage collaborative learning while also creating increased opportunities for students, faculty members, and alumni to engage the local community. One of the buildings will be named for Kravis in recognition of his extraordinary generosity.
Larry J. Lawrence Scholar, School of General Studies
A General Studies student embarks on a new path — building a second career while making a real difference in the world.
When Cassia Burke '11GS was chosen to dance with the Miami City Ballet, she thought she would forgo college for a life en pointe. But after several years, she knew it was time to consider a different career path. Burke volunteered to live and work with AIDS orphans in Uganda, where she was asked to teach English without textbooks or even a lesson plan. “I took a deep breath and spent all summer digging up old poems from memory,” she remembers.
Inspired by the possibilities of life offstage, Burke enrolled in the School of General Studies. Since coming to Columbia she has studied sustainable development, French, and Swahili, and completed a thesis on linguistic policy in Senegal schools. Her outstanding academic performance has earned her crucial financial support — including the Larry J. Lawrence Scholarship, which completely funded her senior year. “Since that summer in Uganda, my passion has been teaching, and I hope to one day make it my career,” says Burke. “The gift of an education is priceless.”
Photo by Bob Handelman
For Nursing Leadership
Dean, School of Nursing
Mary O'Neil Mundinger Professor of Nursing
A professorship to be held by the dean of the School of Nursing is endowed by alumni and friends as a tribute to her long-serving predecessor.
As the first holder of the Mary O’Neil Mundinger chair, School of Nursing Dean Bobbie Berkowitz (pictured) is implementing her own vision for the future even as she builds on the work of her long-serving and accomplished predecessor. Today, the School’s leading priorities include raising money for scholarships to ensure a diverse student body, expanding research to help build the science of health and healthcare, contributing to health policy, and engaging staff and faculty in developing strategic initiatives. Another key goal for Dean Berkowitz is to continue to strengthen relationships with Nursing alumni, one of the school’s most valued constituencies.
Photo by Catherine Gibbons
Passport to an Education
Ottaway Fellow, School of International and Public Affairs
By supporting a SIPA fellowship program, a couple devoted to international affairs helps deserving students make a world of difference.
The accomplished violist Christopher Jenkins ’11SIPA has worked extensively with youth musicians in a variety of settings and, as a chamber musician and string quartet member, performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to Cameroon. A few years ago, he realized he wanted to develop new skills for a different kind of stage.
Jenkins knew the School of International and Public Affairs could be the ideal springboard for a career focused on international humanitarian work. But the graduate of Harvard University, the New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music was extremely reluctant to add to his existing student debt. The Ottaway Fellowship provided Jenkins with the financial support he needed to attend SIPA. “It’s great to find classes so targeted to specific humanitarian assistance,” he said. “Everyone here wants to make the world a better place.”
Photo by Jill LeVine
Engineered for a New Century
Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Computer Science, Columbia Engineering
Support for faculty from distinguished alumni helps ensure the Engineering School’s leadership in the digital age.
Michael Collins is a pioneer in the field of statistical natural language processing, or NLP. His work explores how computer technology can dissect human language — through automatic translation, speech recognition, and refined search processes. “There is tremendous strength in computer science and related areas at Columbia, including a huge amount of talent in natural language processing, machine learning, and other areas of artificial intelligence,” Collins said. “I’m thrilled to be at Columbia Engineering during such an exciting time.”
Collins was recruited to Columbia Engineering from MIT to fill a newly established chair funded by University Trustee Vikram S. Pandit and a matching donation from fellow Trustee Armen Avanessians and his wife, Janette Avanessians.
A Chair for African Art
Riggio Professorship of African Art
Held by Zoë Strother, Department of Art History and Archaeology
A gift to endow a chair in African art provides a platform for a distinguished scholar while reaffirming Columbia’s longtime strength in non-Western art.
Professor Zoë Strother helped affirm Columbia’s strength in non-Western art when she rejoined the faculty as the first Riggio Professor of African Art in Fall 2007. A nationally renowned specialist in 20th-century art of central and west Africa, Strother had taught at the University from 1995 to 2000 before leaving New York for UCLA. As Professor Robert E. Harrist Jr., chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology, noted at the time, “The Riggio professorship in African Art takes its place among a constellation of other professorships in non-Western art that ensure Columbia’s continuing preeminence in these fields.”
Strother is known especially for her work on the role of the visual arts — especially masquerade — in articulating power and knowledge, and has conducted research in Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mali, and Senegal. She is also a contributing editor for Res: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics and associate editor of the e-journal Art in Translation. Her published work has been praised as “scholarly but accessible” and is widely used in teaching.
Field of Dreams
Robertson Field at Satow Stadium
Baker Athletics Complex
Leadership gifts helped fund a new playing field and modern stadium, putting Columbia baseball in prime position as the team competes for the Ivy League championship.
In 2007, Columbia upgraded its baseball field by installing a state-of-the-art artificial playing surface known as FieldTurf. As a result, the Lions could practice and play outside more often in February and March, the early months of the NCAA baseball season.
In Fall 2010, Columbia completed extensive work on the stadium surrounding the playing field. Today fans enjoy chairback seating and expanded seating down the first-base line. The facility also features a new home dugout, press box, and multimedia scoreboard.
In 2008 Columbia won its first Ivy League title in more than 30 years. The team has continued to be competitive, winning the league’s Lou Gehrig Division in 2010.
Smiles All Around
Mobile Dental Center
College of Dental Medicine
A gift from baseball star Alex Rodriguez funds a new van for Columbia’s mobile dental care program, helping to provide free checkups to needy kids in Upper Manhattan.
Columbia’s Mobile Dental Center regularly visits more than 65 day-care facilities, schools, and Head Start centers in northern Manhattan and the Bronx, offering comprehensive dental care to children between three and five years old.
The fully accessible van has two complete dental stations as well as x-ray equipment and a waiting area to provide oral health education. Staff members — including a dentist, pediatric resident, dental hygienist, dental assistant, and driver/data entry clerk — provide regular exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, referals and more. A unit of the Community DentCare program, it’s a great example of how Columbia truly makes a difference in the lives of its neighbors.
Climate Change on the Rise
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Center for Climate Change Law Columbia Law School
A professor helps train the next generation of leaders in climate change law while drawing international attention to island nations disappearing underwater.
If a country sinks beneath the ocean, is it still a country?
At the request of leaders from the Marshall Islands, internationally recognized environmental lawyer Michael Gerrard convened a global conference in May 2011 to explore legal issues that will arise as island nations disappear under water. As the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School and director of the Center for Climate Change Law, Gerrard is knee-deep in scores of environmental issues affecting water, land, and skies around the world.
Gerrard’s chair, the first endowed professorship at any law school devoted exclusively to the study of climate change, was established in 2009 with support from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation. “Climate change law emerged as a field only a few years ago,” says Gerrard, who holds a joint appointment to the faculty of the Earth Institute. “Now, it’s by far the fastest growing area of environmental law.”
Committed to the Core
The Core Curriculum
And Other Programs Supported by Annual Giving
A member of the Class of 2011 who worked to raise money for the Columbia College Fund says giving to the University is a lifelong commitment.
For students at Columbia College, the Core Curriculum lays the groundwork for lifelong learning and critical thinking. Classes like Contemporary Civilization and Literature Humanities inspire students to develop insights about themselves and the world around them, helping them to derive knowledge and wisdom critical to both their studies and their future lives. The experience has also proven to be a touchstone that unites alumni whose time at the College years is separated by years, even decades.
Annual giving not only provides vital direct support to Core programs, it also helps support some of the conditions that make the Core remarkable. By providing financial aid, for example, the Columbia College Fund helps ensure the diversity of voices in the classroom that is one of the hallmarks of the Core experience.
Beyond Core programs and financial aid, the College Fund provides funding for many aspects of the student experience, including summer internships, career education, student advising, and residential life programs. Outside Columbia College, donations to annual funds and alumni funds provide equally critical support at each of the University’s schools and units.
Photo by Eileen Barroso
Beyond Digital Technology
Wun Tsun Tam Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Bequests from a Hong Kong alumnus and his sister strengthen faculty, helping Columbia to address teaching and research challenges in the global age.
What separates humans from machines? How do science and the humanities connect? Seeking answers beyond technology is Lydia Liu, the Wun Tsun Tam Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. In her latest book, The Freudian Robot, she examines the role of writing in the digital age — “a new understanding of human-machine interplay at the level of the unconscious.”
Liu also serves as the director of graduate studies at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. “The Tams believed that education can change a person’s destiny,” she says. “Thanks to their bequests, professors can encourage students to explore into new ways of thinking about living in a digital society.”
Photo by Jill LeVine
Journalism at the Crossroads
Director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Columbia Journalism School
Emily Bell is leading the charge to educate the next generation of journalists, providing them with the skills to work effectively in an evolving media landscape.
Emily Bell had spent five years dedicated to online news and information, but it was a telephone call that got her attention. Was the director of digital media at Britain’s Guardian News and Media interested in leading a new center at Columbia Journalism School? Bell seized the opportunity to bring her expertise to New York and educate the next generation in digital journalism and emerging media.
Since October 2010, under Bell’s direction, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism has examined the interaction between journalism and readers who are both consuming and contributing online content. The center and its students explore innovative methods of digital reporting and presentation, providing pathways for truly interactive journalism to emerge and creating models that will serve both new and established media outlets. “Journalism has been set some profound challenges by digital progress,” Bell has said, “and needs help answering them.”
Photo by Bob Handelman
Prescription for Education
Roy and Diana Vagelos Scholar
College of Physicians and Surgeons
A philanthropic leader at Columbia University Medical Center spends time as well as money to give deserving medical students a healthy dose of opportunity.
Raised on a small farm in El Salvador, Rosa Mendoza came to the United States as a youngster. “My parents didn’t get to go to school,” she said. “They wanted me to do better.” Now the former major in molecular biology at Princeton University is in her first year of medical school at the Columbia University Medical Center, thanks to her Vagelos scholarship – and mentoring from Dr. Vagelos himself. “He makes time for you,” she says. “He really makes you feel he cares about you and your future.”
Photo by Bob Handelman
A Single-Minded Focus
Whitman Fellow, Theatre Management and Producing Program
Columbia University School of the Arts
An alumna’s success as a Broadway producer plays a lead role in preparing a new generation of theatre professionals to transform the stages of tomorrow.
Brittany O’Neill ’12SOA was a young theatre professional determined to enhance her knowledge and skills when she enrolled in the Theatre Management and Producing Program. A merit-based Whitman Fellowship allowed her to leave part-time work behind without taking on too much debt. Now O’Neill is devoting herself full-time to the stage and her studies, and has served as general manager of recent SOA productions of Love’s Labor’s Lost and Three Sisters.
“This fellowship allows me to take a full course load without worrying about working outside school; I didn’t realize what a difference it would make not to have my brain in two places at once,” she observes. “That’s the best thing about the fellowship — it allows you to focus on your passion.”
Photo by Jill Levine
Norman E. Alexander ’34CC, ’36LAW enjoyed a business career that spanned seven decades. When he died in 2006, he was executive chairman of Sequa Corporation, a $2 billion conglomerate that he led for nearly 50 years. A lifelong supporter of academic, Jewish and other philanthropic causes, Mr. Alexander was a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School and of the board of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, where he established the Alexander Program Center for Jewish Life. In 1985 he received the University’s John Jay Award for outstanding service and in 2008 the Norman E. Alexander Scholarships were endowed at the Columbia Law School.
Leadership support for the Austin E. Quigley Endowment for Student Success has been provided by a number of College and Engineering alumni, led by Richard Witten ’75CC, vice chair of the University Trustees and Columbia Campaign co-chair; Trustee and Campaign co-chair Armen Avanessians ’83EN; and Bob Berne ’60CC, ’62BUS.
“We want to help undergraduates accomplish two things — to make the most of Columbia while they’re here and to prepare for a satisfying future after they leave campus,” says Witten.
The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center was established in 1997 by entrepreneur Russell Berrie, who lived with Type 2 diabetes, and named for his mother, who also was diabetic. “The Russell Berrie Foundation invested in a powerful idea — to transform diabetes care and research by creating a center of excellence that is a model for humanistic healthcare," says foundation president Angelica Berrie.
Thanks to ongoing donor support — including a significant donation by the foundation in 2008 — the center today is one of the world's leading facilities for diabetes research, education, and treatment.
John Chun ’91CC, a partner at Summit Law Group in Seattle, Washington, is a trial lawyer and client counselor whose practice focuses on employment and complex commercial disputes. He currently serves as a trustee of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington and is a board member of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance as well as his law firm’s executive board.
Chun attended Cornell Law School after graduating from Columbia with a major in English.
Retired corporate executive John Craig and former entrepreneur Judy Craig were introduced to Columbia’s program in environmental biology by their younger daughter, Elizabeth ’07CC, who majored in the subject. They attended a student presentation of field research — on topics ranging from cormorants in New York Harbor to arsenic in third-world countries — and were inspired to establish the Craig Family Scholars Fund to help cover the cost of research internships for selected students over five years. “We thought it was wonderful to help young people who really wanted to change the world,” they say.
When they made their gift, the Craigs were interested in the connections between ecology and human well-being. Since then they’ve formed the nonprofit organization Eliminate Poverty Now, which focuses on economic development and educational opportunity, with a strong focus on women, in east and west Africa.
New York City and Columbia University lost a forward-looking philanthropist with the passing of Dawn M. Greene ’08HON in August 2010. As president and CEO of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, Mrs. Greene continued a tradition of philanthropy in education, the arts, and medicine begun by her late husband, Jerome L. Greene ’26CC, ’28LAW, a prominent New York lawyer and real-estate investor who died in 1999. In total, the Greene family and the foundation gave nearly $300 million to the University, including a $250 million transformational gift in support of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center.
“Dawn was a visionary who established as her top priority support for the study of mind, brain, and behavior, because she saw it as the most compelling intellectual challenge of the 21st century,” said President Lee C. Bollinger.
When she first enrolled at Columbia, Barbara Grodd ’79SW had already enjoyed a long career in fashion retail even as she raised a family. After graduating, the former buyer for major department stores made up for lost time, devoting more than three decades to often neglected populations: She provided services to women in Westchester County jail, directed drug treatment programs at New York City’s prison complex on Rikers Island, ran a community-based program for adolescent ex-offenders, and more. “Columbia created an opportunity for me to have a very dynamic career,” says Grodd, now retired.
Over three decades Grodd has given generously, often more than once each year, in support of faculty, students, and the building fund. Her first donation was a $40 gift to the Alumni Fund in 1980, one year after her own graduation; one of her most recent gifts, in 2010, created the Barbara and Clifford Grodd Scholarship Fund. In appreciation for her long record of support, the Barbara Grodd Library Alcove is named in her honor. “I have seen social workers do extraordinary things,” Grodd explains. “If I can afford to support the school, I will.”
In recent years, Sue and Bill Gross of Laguna Beach, California, have donated more than $15 million in support of Millennium Villages and other projects. “We're happy to support the Earth Institute,” they say, “and to play a role in helping bring hope and self-sufficiency to some of the poorest people on the planet who face almost insurmountable odds in achieving better lives for themselves and their families.”
“The Grosses’ generosity helps empower hundreds of thousands to fight poverty and transform their lives,” said Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs. “Through critical and creative ways, this donation will go to expanding the project throughout Africa.”
In January 2004, Marc Holliday ’90GSAPP was named CEO of SL Green Realty Corporation, the largest owner of commercial office properties in New York City — 14 years after receiving his MS in real estate development from Columbia. Now, Marc and wife Sheree Holliday have made a substantial gift to create the Holliday Professorship of Real Estate Development, the first endowed professorship in Columbia’s Real Estate Development program. Their generous gift has also spurred giving by others, putting the School’s $30 million Campaign fundraising goal in sight.
“In times like these, it is especially important to generate new ways of thinking and otherwise invest in the future of the profession,” Holliday says. “I am pleased that Vishaan Chakrabarti will play a key role in that effort, and as a graduate of the program, I am happy to contribute to building a strong foundation.”
In recent years, donors have known that their gifts in support of undergraduate financial aid will have even greater impact thanks to programs funded by the late John Kluge ’37CC, a titan of American broadcasting and the University’s most generous benefactor. Kluge’s $200 million gift for undergraduate scholarships, announced in 2007, has been used in part to create matching programs that have since prompted millions of dollars in additional donations from alumni and friends. Among other things, the gift provided the foundation for Columbia College’s Scholarships 101 program, which continues to multiply the impact of financial aid gifts over $150,000.
An economics major who became one of the nation’s most extraordinary businessmen, Kluge was always grateful for the scholarship that allowed him to attend Columbia and spoke repeatedly of the importance of returning the favor. “I want to help ensure that Columbia will always be a place where young people can come to develop their intellect, make something of their own lives, and give something back to our communities, our country, and our world,” he explained. “That’s one way I can try to make a difference for future generations.”
Henry R. Kravis ’69BUS, co-founder, co-chairman, and co-CEO of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), is also co-chair of the Business School’s Board of Overseers. “I credit Columbia Business School for giving me the business foundation and education that allowed me to succeed,” he said in making his $100 million gift, the largest ever received by his alma mater.
Over the years, Mr. Kravis has provided generous financial support for many Business School initiatives, such as Columbia CaseWorks, the Meyer Feldberg Distinguished Fellowship Program, and multiple endowed professorships. The private equity industry pioneer is equally generous with his time, often participating in School conferences and events. Said Mr. Kravis of the institution he so tirelessly supports: “I am inspired by the talent of the School’s faculty members and alumni, as well as students’ potential to effect positive change in the world.”
In addition to supporting the scholarship that benefited Cassia Burke, Larry J. Lawrence ’69GS, ’71BUS donated $1.5 million in 2009 to establish the General Studies Scholars Match. This $3 million fund, which also draws on $1.5 million provided by a pair of anonymous donors, now provides a 1:1 match for new donations of $100,000 or more in support of scholarship endowment at General Studies. Lawrence made the donation in the midst of the global economic downturn because, he says, he and wife Sally realized the gift “would have a bigger impact when it was needed most.”
“The opportunity to attend Columbia provides a life-changing, transformative experience,” says Lawrence, a 2010 Alumni Medalist, Columbia Campaign volunteer leader, and board member of the Columbia Investment Management Company. “Now more than ever, we can help put the University in a position to provide continuing opportunities for aspiring students.”
As dean of Columbia’s School of Nursing from 1986 to 2010, Mary O’Neil Mundinger had a wide-reaching influence on nursing education and practice nationwide. When she announced in 2009 that she would step down as dean, the school’s alumni and friends raised $2.5 million to endow a professorship in her name, to be held by the school’s future deans.
Leadership commitments in support of the new endowment — ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 — include pledges from Hilda Hodges Jones ’79NRS and Christopher S. Jones ’67LAW, Trustee Emeritus Michael E. Patterson ’67LAW and Elena Patterson, Mary Dickey Lindsay ’45NRS, and Sally Shipley Stone ’69NRS and Charles L. Stone, Jr. ’71PS.
Loyal Columbians who earned their doctorates here, David Ottaway ’72GSAS and Marina Ottaway ’74GSAS are united by their interest in international affairs and deep commitment to creating opportunities for deserving students. David Ottaway, a senior scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, worked for decades as an award-winning journalist at the Washington Post, while Marina Ottaway is the director of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In 2007, the couple made a $1 million contribution to establish the Ottaway Fellowship Fund, which now awards two-year fellowships to two SIPA students every year. All told, they have given more than $2 million to the University, supporting a variety of programs including scholarships for doctoral students. Said David Ottaway: “We strongly believe that education is the best way to level the playing field for all Americans regardless of color, creed, or ethnicity, by making accessible to them the best schools and universities.”
Vikram Pandit '76EN, '77EN, '80BUS, '86BUS is Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup, the global bank which serves clients, institutions, and governments in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions.
Pandit, a University Trustee since 2003, serves on the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School and is a member of the executive steering committee for The Columbia Campaign. He holds BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering, and an MPhil and a PhD in finance from Columbia University.
Before Citi, he founded the hedge fund Old Lane Partners after more than two decades at Morgan Stanley where he rose to the post of President and Chief Operating Officer of the institutional securities and investment banking businesses. Prior to a career in finance, he taught at Indiana University.
Said Columbia Engineering Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora: "We are very grateful for the profound generosity and leadership of Vikram Pandit and other alumni who recognize that a significant investment in Columbia's outstanding engineering faculty is truly an investment in the future of the School and the next generation of leaders."
Armen Avanessians ’83EN, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, serves as a University Trustee and co-chair of The Columbia Campaign, and is also Chair Emeritus of the Columbia Engineering Board of Visitors. Along with his wife, Janette, Avanessians committed matching funds that helped complete a major initiative — the raising of $30 million to establish 10 new endowments for engineering and applied science faculty.
The chairs supported by the Avanessians gift and other donors will help bring the total of new endowed Columbia Engineering professorships to 20 — almost doubling the number of named positions available and greatly enhancing Columbia Engineering’s efforts to recruit and retain the best faculty in key research areas from around the world. Donors to these chairs share one common goal, according to Mr. Avanessians: “Helping Columbia Engineering take a significant step forward to fulfill its potential as one of the world’s leading engineering institutions.”
In 2007, Leonard and Louise Riggio donated $5 million in support of two professorships, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate programs in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. The gift was one of the largest ever in support of art history at Columbia, and its effect was heightened further through a matching program established by University Trustee Gerry Lenfest, which provided additional support for the portion of the gift funding faculty positions — including the then new Riggio Professorship of African Art.
“Our gift recognizes the depth and quality of Columbia’s excellent program in art history, as well as our family’s desire to become part of this important legacy,” said Mr. Riggio, who is the chairman of Barnes & Noble, Inc. The Riggios’ donation to the department was inspired in part by their daughter, Stephanie ’06CC, who majored in art history at Columbia College. The family also has a lengthy record of support for various artistic, educational, and charitable institutions.
University Trustee Gerry Lenfest ’58LAW, ’09HON is one of Columbia’s most generous benefactors. In 2006 he pledged $37.5 million to create a matching fund to endow faculty chairs in the Arts and Sciences (and $10.5 million more for the School of Law). Over the years he has donated more than $100 million to Columbia — for a Law School residence hall, for innovative awards in support of teaching in the Arts and Sciences, to promote sustainable development and advanced solutions to global climate change and acute global poverty, and more.
“What makes Columbia unique is its great tradition of outstanding teaching in all its schools,” Lenfest has said. “My gift to increase the number of teachers through a matching grant recognizes the importance of tradition at the University.”
Hal Robertson ’81SEAS, an industrial engineer and banker, played varsity football and baseball at Columbia and was co-captain of the baseball team as a senior.
“I thought about how much the University has meant to me over the last 30 years and thought it was the right thing to do,” said Robertson. “Columbia gave me my start to my professional career and this was an opportunity to give back.”
In 2010, former Lions second baseman Phillip Satow ’63CC, a longtime executive in the pharmaceutical industry, received a Varsity C Alumni Award in recognition of his support for Columbia Athletics. He and his family have made numerous gifts to Columbia, including the Satow Family Scholarship Fund and the widely used Jed D. Satow Room on the fifth floor of Alfred Lerner Hall.
Of his gift, Satow said, “It was a natural fit. I love Columbia. I have always been a supporter of Columbia athletics. And I love baseball; it is one of the loves of my life.”
One of baseball’s best — and best known — players, Rodriguez has been the regular third baseman for the New York Yankees since joining the team in 2004. A-Rod was also born in New York, where he lived in the Washington Heights neighborhood until age four.
“A winning smile builds confidence and self-esteem that last a lifetime,” he said in making a $250,000 donation to support Columbia’s Community DentCare program. “Every child deserves access to regular dental visits, and it’s reassuring to know that this new dental van will serve nearly 3,000 children in the community where I was born and its surrounding neighborhoods.”
Andrew Sabin, who runs a company that refines precious metals, has a longstanding devotion to environmental and conservation causes. In 2007, he established the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, which made this gift and is also a lead funder of the Center for Climate Change Law.
Active in Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and other conservation groups, Sabin has been a frequent participant in meetings of Columbia Law School’s Environmental Law Advisory Committee since its inception in 2000. He previously served as the treasurer of the Evan Frankel Foundation, which made a groundbreaking gift to establish the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professorship in Environmental Law more than a decade ago.
Like many of his classmates, recent graduate Colin Sullivan ’11CC of Greenwich, Conn., enjoyed an active extracurricular career at Columbia. He served for three years as an admissions tour guide, co-chaired the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee that coordinates events for prospective and admitted students, sat on the Spectator’s managing board as alumni director, and took pictures for the newspaper and other campus publications. In Fall 2011, the former political science major begins work at Booz & Company in New York.
Sullivan also served on the Class of 2011’s Senior Fund executive committee, which raised money for the Columbia College Fund. In addition to working with fellow committee members to develop fundraising strategies and personally soliciting gifts from classmates, he supported the fund as a donor — one of more than 950 seniors who had given through early May. “By raising money to improve the Core Curriculum, financial aid, student affairs, and internship opportunities, we make sure that future generations of students have even greater opportunities than those we enjoyed,” he says. Sullivan has already joined the Young Alumni Committee: “I’ve gotten a lot out of my time at Columbia, and I want to give back. I know that I will continue to support Columbia every year.”
Robert Yik-Fong Tam ’50BUS, pictured, and his sister Wun Tsun Tam, both of Hong Kong, together gave Columbia more than $29 million to fund key academic priorities. Mr. Tam — a banker and investment manager, an accomplished painter and patron of the arts — left a bequest of $14.2 million in March 2004. His sister, Wun Tsun Tam, a former teacher and administrator who did not attend the University, bequeathed $15 million to Columbia when she died in October 2004. In recognition of this great generosity, chairs have been established in each of their names.
Unrestricted gifts to Columbia give the University discretion to support priority needs. In the Tams’ case, their bequest gifts have been used to support faculty in the Arts and Sciences and the Business School, to launch the programs of the University’s Committee on Global Thought, and to further the programs of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library. Their gifts also funded the Tam Challenge for Endowed Professorships, which makes up to $15 million available to match certain additional gifts that support distinguished scholars in the Arts and Sciences.
In 2008, with newspapers facing an uncertain future, Leonard Tow ’52GSAS, ’60GSAS decided to act. “It seemed to me the appropriate time to at least plant the seeds for a kind of new integrity in Internet journalism,” the cable television pioneer and distinguished philanthropist told the New York Times.
Tow envisioned a center dedicated to the teaching and research of professional journalism in digital and emerging media. The Tow Foundation — run by Leonard Tow’s daughter, Emily Tow Jackson — indicated that it would be happy to give $5 million if Columbia Journalism School raised $10 million more, and by January 2010 ten donors had risen to the challenge.
“This gift from The Tow Foundation reflects their vision of a journalism profession that evolves with changing demands and is based on sound research and cutting-edge innovation,” said Journalism dean Nicholas Lemann. “Their generosity is also a reminder and a challenge to those in the field of journalism to turn the obstacles we face into opportunities for growth.”
Pharmaceutical industry leader P. Roy Vagelos, M.D. ’54P&S, and his wife Diana Vagelos, a 1955 graduate of Barnard College, are unstinting supporters of the University. The Roy and Diana Vagelos Scholarship at the College of Physicians and Surgeons helps ensure deserving students have opportunities to achieve their potential — making the world better for all of us. Dr. and Mrs. Vagelos reaffirmed their commitment to the University with a $50 million gift for a new medical and graduate education building.
“We are training the doctors who will deliver medical care, the scientists who will perform ground-breaking scientific research, and the teachers who will help train the future generation of physicians and scientists,” said Dr. Vagelos. “It is important that their educational facilities be as exciting as medical science is today.
Barbara Whitman ’05SOA enrolled in the School of the Arts’ Theatre Management and Producing Program following a successful career as a stage performer. Today, she’s a Tony Award-winning producer of Broadway hits including Next to Normal, 33 Variations, A Raisin in the Sun, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She’s also an engaged alumna who — eager to see both the theatre and theatre students thrive — gives freely of her time by making regular visits to the classroom to share insights.
Whitman has also established a pair of fellowships that provide generous grants — one for current SOA students and one for new graduates of the program. “When I was a student, taking classes with leading professionals in the industry, I not only learned from the best but also made valuable contacts that helped me start my career started with a bang,” she has said. “The program made a huge difference in my career, and I felt it was right to give back. To make a difference in a student’s career and give them an extra boost feels like an incredibly great way to help.”