#class day
SEAS 2010 Commences

Hans Hyttinen gives you the highlights of the SEAS ’10 Class Day.

This year’s SEAS Class Day was marked, as is the norm, by a number of speeches, both funny and inspiring.

Seth Davidovits and Rodney Chang delivered the valedictory and salutatory addresses, respectively. Met with general approval, their speeches were interesting and humorous—especially Seth’s, as he mentioned feeling sorry for the Class of 2013 since the world would end before their Commencement, or at least according to the Discovery and History channels.

Paul Brandt-Rauf, Columbia professor and holder of six (!) Columbia degrees, gave the Class Day Address. Surely aided by his extensive Columbia graduation experience, Brandt-Rauf’s speech, though a tad long, appeared well received. Evidently aware of his audience’s decreased attention span, he admitted, “I can drone on endlessly and say things that nobody will ever recall.”

ESC 2010 President Heather Lee, recipient of her first Columbia degree, also made a fine speech. Most notably, she gave her heartfelt thanks to the parents and professors who had helped SEAS 2010 achieve their goals, especially honoring the professors: “…and thank you for the problem sets, helping keep the ‘C’ in ‘SEAS.’”

The Clefhangers, a student a cappella group, closed the ceremonies with “Stand, Columbia” and “Roar, Lion, Roar.” SEAS 2010, Columbia salutes you!

We Bid GS ’10 Adieu

Jon Edelman reports from GS Class Day this morning.

In true GS style, guests were greeted by Howard Fishman and the Biting Fish Brass Band, who marched the graduates in to “Down By the Riverside,” rather than your typical 10-minute rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The ceremony continued with a rendition of the national anthem by Lena Park (GS ’10), who earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia after achieving R&B stardom in Korea.

Another, marginally more famous GSer, Jacques Pépin (GS ’70), took the podium after Park to deliver the Class Day Address. Pépin came to Columbia for language classes within a week of his immigration from France. His speech focused mainly on his bio and some follow-your-dream-type lines, it was generally well-received, even “inspirational” according to several graduates.

GS students are crazy!

Valedictorian Brian Corman’s speech was also widely praised.  Corman focused on GS students’ non-traditional and often more difficult paths. He illustrated with student examples, including that of Timothy Goebel, who became the first person to land three quadruple-jumps in a figure skating program after falling on the first one that he attempted.

Bwog dubs the ceremony a delight: a beautiful morning, a brass band, a Korean pop star and a famous chef. Congratulations GS ’10!

Mailman School of Public Health FTW

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Remember how Bill Clinton was going to maybe speak at CC Class Day? Well, he isn’t, but he will be speaking at the Public Health School’s Graduation at New Balance Track & Field Arena on 168th Street. Hubba hubba!

The complete Graduation/Class Day/Commencement hullabaloo calendar has just been released for CC, GS and the School of Mines. Other notable speakers include chef Jacques Pepin for GS, Gail Collins for JSchool, our old friend Eric Holder for Law School, and Meryl Streep for BC.

See the full schedule and speaker list after the jump. (more…)

CEO, Shmee-E-O

SIPA students are unhappy, and not just because they have to smoke their cigarettes in that weird little buried courtyard. No, it’s something bigger: they’re unhappy with the school’s choice of graduate and trustee Vikram Pandit, the embattled CEO of Citigroup, as graduation speaker. While it may be harsh to call Pandit “One of the 20 Worst American CEOs of All Time,” he’s certainly an interesting choice for a public affairs program–and the rumored Zen garden and $38 million 2008 salary can’t help matters. So, like any good 21st-century protesters, they’re taking to the web. The “We don’t want a bank executive to speak at our commencement” Facebook group is now private, but at last check had over 200 members, impressive for a 500-person class. We’ll keep you posted.

Photo via William Munoz’s Flickr

NAACP President Ben Jealous Is CC Class Day Speaker

Photo via NAACP

The youngest-ever president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, CC ’94, will be speaking at Columbia College’s Class Day. At a celebration tonight in Havana Central’s back room, Class Council 2010 President Cliff Massey revealed Jealous’s selection after weeks of speculation that saw names floated including Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan

Jealous, who was involved with the BSO and several other student groups while on campus,  got his B.A. in political science at Columbia before heading to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar for his Master’s in comparative social research. He has worked at the Rosenberg Foundation, Amnesty International, and the National Newspaper Publishing Association. He was among the 2009 honorees for the John Jay Award, given every year to an alum of the College for his or her distinguished professional career.

Massey expressed excitement over the choice, telling Bwog, “Since he graduated sixteen years ago, he’s faced similar challenges to the ones the Class of 2010 will face soon,” citing Jealous’s work in health care litigation and social justice issues. CC Dean Michele Moody-Adams wrote in a press release, “Benjamin Todd Jealous wonderfully personifies the value that Columbians have long placed on active engagement in the world and in finding the solutions to society’s challenges. We will be proud to welcome him back to Morningside Heights.”

Massey also told Bwog that the Class Day committee’s original shortlist also included actress Anna Paquin (who studied at Columbia for a year) and President Barack Obama. Though Obama was the most popular choice among students, the security measures required for a presidential visit (such as the Secret Service securing several Res Halls while students were still living in them) made an invite impossible. SEAS and GS, the ball’s in your court. Full Columbia press release after the jump.



Barnard Gals: Meryl Streep Is Your Class Day Speaker

Photo by Google Images

Breaking news from the Diana Event Oval! Meryl Streep has just been announced as Barnard’s Class Day Speaker. Bwog is hoping she’ll deliver the speech in a medley of her most famous characters– a Miranda Priestly drawl, a Julia Child shrill, whoever she played in 2006′s under-the-radar film “The Ant Bully”. Make way for Meryl, 2010!

Grading the Graduation Speeches

For most of our readers, the graduation ceremonies have finished, and after watching all the webcasts, we still can’t tell them apart. They all have graduates throwing things/falling asleep/not paying attention, administrators reminding said graduates about the opportunities that await them, and lots of light blue and school pride. The one area that does have the potential to make a ceremony slightly worth your time (besides the diploma, of course, and the post-ceremony family gifts) is the speech. But did this year’s selection make people perk up their ears, or drop their heads? (photo from acordova on Flickr)

SEAS Class Day – James Albaugh, Executive Vice-President, Boeing: Allbaugh started off nonchalantly, joking about the absence of the West End, and his lack of academic success while at Columbia (Albaugh recieved a master’s from the engineering school in 1974). The first half of the speech focused on the problems Albaugh felt faced the new generation of engineers, including global warming, and he bemoaned how the United States is failing to keep pace in science education. The second half of the speech, however, could have been given to a new group of Boeing employees, as Albaugh moved through pieces of advice for anyone seeking a career in engineering. He even drew advice from how people become a “friend of Jim” at Boeing, and closed with a quote from a newspaper article about the first cross-country flight of a Boeing 707. In giving a thoroughly practical speech, Albaugh too often sounded like he was reading from a corporate memo. Grade: B- (more…)

Gray Davis or Brent Scowcroft Could Be Speaking at Your Graduation

But only if you’re in the Law School or SIPA. Columbia’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs announced the complete list of Class Speakers today, and joining Attorney General Eric Holder are many other famous names to prop up the 22 various Class Day and Commencement ceremonies taking place between this Saturday (the B-School) and next Thursday (Law School and Dental School).

Among the big names: former California governor Gray Davis at the Law School graduation, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft at SIPA’s Commencement, Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall at the J-School’s Class Day, New York Times medical correspondent Lawrence Altman at the Med School graduation, and senior advisor to Hillary Clinton Phillipe Reines at General Studies’s Class Day. Of course, some of the speechifying talent isn’t travelling very far: professors Jagdish Baghwati and Jeffrey Sachs will be speaking at the Ph.D. convocation and the Dental School graduation ceremonies, respectively.

Our favorite detail, though? Both J-School ceremonies are “closed to the media.” Full list after the jump. (more…)

SEAS Class Day Speaker Chosen

In a decision lacking much of the fanfare of the College’s Class Day speaker announcement, SEAS deans chose their own speaker over the weekend: James Albaugh, SEAS M.S. ’74.

Albaugh earned his B.A. in Math and Physics from Willamette University and is now executive vice president of the Boeing Company and chief executive officer of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. According to his Wikipedia page, he supervises a $30.8 billion budget, and is one of Boeing’s “best paid managers.” See you May 18, Jim!

Photo via boeing.com

Disowned, Scorned, Still Proudly Self-Deprecating

Loyalty is not something ingrained in students at this spirit-deprived school.  Even with all the excitement, we knew deep inside that Barack Obama (CC ’83, now some kind of important person) would never speak at Class Day.

After all, what with saving the world, how could he possibly have time to visit his Alma Mater?

As it turned out, our intuition was correct – Obama won’t be our Class Day speaker.  He’ll be the commencement speaker for other schools.

That’s right, schools, pluralized.  Two days ago, the White House issued a little-noticed press release announcing that Barack Obama would serve as commencement speaker at three colleges: Arizona State, Notre Dame, and the US Naval Academy.

Bwog’s analysis would suggest that he’ll touch on themes such as “the economy,” “the future,” and “you unemployable history majors.”

The press release promises “more details” at a later date, but we’re not holding our breath.  We’re too bitter.

Reminder: Class Day Speaker Announced Today

Don’t forget that this year’s class day speaker will be announced today at 12:30 on Low Plaza. That’s in one hour, folks. Place your final bets and cross your fingers.

UPDATE (12:38 PM): As rumored yesterday, the CC Class Day speaker will be Attorney General Eric Holder, CC ’73, Law ’76.

UPDATE (1:35 PM): We’ve got pictures of the momentous announcement and Columbia’s press release. (more…)

Attorney General to Be Class Day Speaker?

 - Wikimedia Commons

Make that two cabinet officials: sources confirm to Bwog that the Class Day speaker will be announced at midday tomorrow on Low Steps, and that discussions are underway with Attorney General Eric Holder, CC ’73 and Law ’76.

Holder, the first African-American attorney general, has previously been Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Deputy Attorney General under President Bill Clinton, and one of three members of President Barack Obama’s vice-presidential selection committee. The two alums were in the news together over the weekend, in fact, when Obama told the New York Times that he disagreed with Holder’s characterization of America as a “nation of cowards” on racial issues. According to Columbia College Today, while in the College, Holder “majored in American history at the College and served as a mentor at a Harlem youth center.” Unlike his boss, who has rarely talked about his time at Columbia, Holder has often returned to Morningside, and was at one point a member of Columbia’s Board of Trustees.  Any questions about the speaker can be addressed to ccsc09@columbia.edu.

And, to help along the inevitable comparisons, here are some other schools’ chosen speechifyers: Eric Schmidt (Penn), Katie Couric (Princeton), Howard Dean (University of Vermont), Christopher Buckley (Yale), Vice-President Joe Biden (Syracuse), and Oprah Winfrey (Duke).


Handing the Lectern Over to You

CC ’09 Class Council Rep. Colin Felsman has notified Bwog that the much-anticipated voting website for CC ’09′s Class Day speaker has been online for the last few hours and may be found here.  So if you are a senior who wants to take a break from that 25-pager you’ve been “working” on in Butler all day, head to the newly launched site and exercise your finest of democratic priveleges, times eight. 

Seniors will be able to vote eight times for the candidates, and while you can technically vote eight times for the same person, the data will be checked by the council and counted as merely a single vote.  A final ranking of the speakers will be made public when the poll closes in a week.  Thankfully Joel Klein is not an option, but Bwog has its inklings on who we think might just take the cake this year.

Bwog wishes the seniors happy voting and reminds you that should you have any questions please email ccsc09@columbia.edu.

Photo via Gothamist

Your 20 Potential Class Day Speakers

The list of the twenty most popular living CC alums and parents is in!

The CC 2009 Class Council has just released your top twenty choices of who you want to see as this year’s Joel “Who?” Klein. Class Day Speaker nominees include Eric Holder, Warren Buffet, Seymour Hersh, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Terrence McNally and yes, obviously Barack Obama.

Tomorrow a website will appear through which seniors and only seniors (it’s password protected) will vote for their eight favorites of the twenty. The top eight choices will then be presented to Quigley in order of popularity. Again, voting starts tomorrow and lasts for three days. We’ll be posting a link to the website as soon as one exists.

UPDATE 12/9, 4:28 PM: Bwog has just received word from the CC ’09 class council that the much-anticipated voting website has just been posted and may be found here.  Seniors will be able to vote 8 times for the candidates, and while you can technically vote 8 times for the same person, the data will be checked by the council and counted as a single vote.  Bwog wishes you happy voting!

Full list of all your favorites (including brief biographical sketches courtesy of CC ’09 Class Council) after the jump.


Suggestions to Inform Your Class Day Speaker Nominations

We just posted about nominating your favorite political figures, writers, scientists and members of Vampire Weekend for this year’s Columbia College Class Day speaker.

If you’re unsure of whom to pick, Bwog’s put together a quick list of people we’d think would be good choices. Feel free to argue with us or suggest your own nominees in the comments.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, empress of jurisprudence, Supreme Court resident, and Law grad

Dean of Yale School of Architecture/designer of fanciest apartment building in the city Robert A.M. Stern

Multilingual intellectual and literary critic Jacques Barzun

The New Republic‘s longtime literary editor Leon Wieseltier (more…)