Photos by Hans Hyttinen
Every single member of the Columbia Class of 2010- that’s CC, SEAS, GS, BC, JSchool, BSchool, Law School is officially graduating right now. They are joined by approximately ten million family members and friends braving the truly nasty weather. At last, a justification for the tents. Photos to come, but in the meantime, in case you haven’t heard this enough recently:
And don’t forget to look for the Empire State Building lit up in Columbia blue tonight at dusk!
Hannah Goldstein watched 2010 graduate and saw Meryl Streep. Delights!
How do you make students forget about a change in Class Day location and the threat of cooties? Distract them! The Barnard class of 2010′s new claim to bragging rights seems to have done the trick, and all senior faces were happy faces on this sunny day at Ancel Plaza.
The ceremony began with the procession of the senior class. The ceremony began with the first Meryl Streep sighting (through a window). Within seconds, audience and press alike were in a frenzy. “Meryl just wants to hang out with the students!” said Media Relations Director Sun Min as she guided the press towards the corner where students and Meryl were to intersect according to the planned graduation route. Intersect they did, and lots of schmoozing ensued. Then, after ten minutes of processing and seat-locating, all students were finally seated. First to speak was Anna Quindlen, Barnard’s celebrity-in-residence. “Like you, I am a member of the graduating class of 2010,” she said. OK, Anna. The next few of speeches were delivered by senior class president Chelsea Zimmerman, Provost Elizabeth Boylan, and student body president Katie Palillo, who went so far as to coin the term “foremothers” and made admirable use of alliteration, most notably in referring to the choice reading of Barnard women: “manuscripts, manifestos, and the Mystique.” Valedictorian Elected speaker Alicia Mountain also spoke on behalf of the graduating class.
The Senior Fund co-chairs took the stage to present the senior class gift: the Class of 2010 Contingency Fund, which will help ease the financial burden of living in “one of the most expensive cities in the world” by buying bedding and other college necessities for first-years on financial aid. Then the presentation of Medals of Distinction began: Thelma Golden (curator), Olympia Snowe (senator), and Shirley Tilghman (president of Princeton) all received awkward second-person citations. (“You were born in Queens…” began one.) So that no one forgot that Meryl Streep was in attendance, DSpar had been making a point to periodically express her starstruck-ness: while fumbling to open the envelope that held the name of the senior prize winner, DSpar said, “Meryl Streep should be doing this!” When Streep got up before her citation and stood in what was apparently the wrong place, DSpar murmured something to her and then quipped, “I’m directing Meryl Streep!” before going on to list every single award Meryl Streep has ever received.
And then the big moment arrived and Meryl Streep began her own speech, which was artful, surprisingly self-effacing and platitude-free. She told stories about being the Virgin Mary in her mother’s Nativity scene, trying to be one of the populars in high school, finding herself in college, and running into success and unwanted celebrity later in life; though all initially seemed unconnected, it soon became clear that she was choosing to leave the connecting job to the audience. Though much of her speech focused on female empowerment, her larger message seemed to be that success is an intrinsic experience, separate from Oscars, fame, SAG Awards, and invitations to speak at college commencements (!) “You don’t have to be famous; you just have to make your mother and father proud. And you already have,” concluded Streep warmly, and the crowd broke into wild applause. It was a perfect transition back to the students—the real stars of the day. And to the voice of Dean Denburg, the degree-awarding began and ended, DSpar gave her speech, and the Barnard College Class of 2010 were awarded their diplomas. A hearty congratulations!
Eliza Shapiro woke up so early for CC Class Day. Liz Naiden was late but she is forgiven, just this once. Their report follows. If you have pictures, video or overheards from this Class Day or any other, send em in using our tips form.
Bwog guesstimates that it took 3.66 rounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” to seat the entire CC Class of 2010 and faculty in their cushier chairs. At last, our fearless leader took the stage greeted by an exceedingly shrill cry of “PREZBOOOO” from one young woman and then a larger chant of “PrezBo”, which made Mr. Bo look intensely uncomfortable, and we were off.
Salutatorian and generally high-achieving person Jeff Spear delivered the first speech, complete with a Nietzsche reference: slave morality will hunt you down on your graduation day. Dean Kevin “Kev” Shollenberger, looking especially spiffy in baby blue (it’s those eyes) took the podium to introduce Class Day Speaker Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP. Jealous got a preemptive round of applause when Shollenberger noted that he’d been suspended from Columbia College.
Jealous delivered a rousing speech, prompting CC 2010 President Cliff Massey to tell his classmates, “I told you he’d be good,” probably because of this. Jealous, who eventually graduated in 1994 (read more about his CC days here), described the current state of the universe as one of “Dickensian contradiction.” He noted that Sarah Palin and her acolytes want to “party like it’s 1776,” (i.e take the country back several large steps) which was met with boos and cheers from the crowd, presumably unclear on what the boo or cheer supported or condemned. Jealous went on to relate fascinating anecdotes from his post-CC-suspension time in Mississippi, including a dramatic encounter with a man Jealous thought was going to kill him (but ended up offering help) in a Waffle House and an actual death threat from the KKK’s press office. The speech was well-received, and, yeah, more biased than most of your run-of-the-mill graduation speeches, but Bwog thinks that was kind of the point of having someone like Jealous speak in the first place. Jealous finished with the following pieces of advice: go with your gut, and “let’s party like it’s 2010!” EC, Heights or Campo? Or is everyone in Bushwick already?
After many, many awards were given- notably to the Valedictorian Arianne Richard and another to Mr. Spear, the President of the Alumni Association to the podium ask everyone to donate money (the Senior Fund raised $18,626, a CC record!) and made fun of the seniors for “giving the Deans a new definition of the term ‘pregame.’” During his speech, muffled chants and shouts from Beyond the Gates made everyone turn to each other to ask “hey, what’s that shouting?” Bwog ran as fast as our little feet could carry us across College Walk, and found a scene not unlike the storming of the Bastille. As we reported a few hours ago, over 30 construction workers, hard hats and all, holding signs and protesting the Community Benefits Agreement (“hey, ho, CBA has got to go!”). According to the entire CBA (read it all here) agreed upon by Columbia and the West Harlem Local Development Corporation (WHLDC), CU will pay $76 million to the Benefits Fund controlled by the WHLDC. It has been argued, and was certainly argued loudly outside the Gates today, that this amount is insufficient (or worse, according to the semi-reliable NYPost) for Columbia/West Harlem residents and workers. Public Safety shut the Gates, then opened them to let in tourists, the protesters moved across the street, and everyone simmered down. Update: The NYT caught on!
PrezBo took the stage next (after having crushed the protesters with his bare hands; just another Monday morning) and made a joke about Glee that was justified by his claim that “someone told me that one would work as a joke.” He congratulated the graduates and reminded them that, “Facilities has asked me to remind you that the red flag [on South Lawn] is up today.” His PSA was greeted with a round of boos, to which PrezBo, responded, “life is tough, I know.” Oh Lee C, just tell us you love us back!
At last, it was time to graduate. The Advising Deans took turns calling everyone’s name, a difficult task that they looked tremendously relieved to have survived by the time that “Kev” yelled “The Class of 2010!” and, just like magic, the Clefhangers showed up! We all sang “Roar, Lion, Roar” with them and went to Hamilton Lawn for snacks.
CC 2010, we are very proud of you, and we’ll miss you. Congratulations!
Just like last year, the Empire State Building will be blue and white this Tuesday for Commencement. You have Whitney Green, ESC, and the American Dream to thank.
Do you hear that, Columbia? That’s the sound of 2013 rolling their blue bins (don’t forget to donate) towards the family car, stopping along the way to embrace their floormates like it’s the last day of sleepaway camp and the buses just rolled up. Most of you should be finishing up exams right about now, making important choices, and preparing to move back to Montclair or, jeez, to graduate. Class of 2010: Columbia has put out the chairs and assembled the mini-jumbotrons. You know, that way they’ll just be there for five days for no reason.
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…)
Strong, beautiful seniors, rejoice! Last we heard, you were going to graduate out of Levien Gym in Dodge Fitness Center. Thankfully, the Barnard administration has settled on something decidedly above ground.
The 2010 Barnard commencement will take place on Ancel Plaza in front of SIPA, after which new graduates and their families can continue the celebration on their home turf on Lehman Lawn.
DSpar’s email will be sent to the entire Barnard community shortly. The full email message is after the jump.
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…)
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…)
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.
Seems that Hillary Clinton can’t get enough of Barnard: Barnard President Debora Spar just announced via email that the new Secretary of State (and former Senator, presidential candidate, and first lady) has agreed to give the commencement address at Barnard this spring.
Clinton will also receive the Barnard Medal of Distinction – past recipients include Toni Morrison, Mario Cuomo, Madeline Albright, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Now it’s your move, CC, GS, and SEAS. Full email after the jump (photo via Flickr). (more…)
Congratulations, CC grads: you forked over $11.8 million for the Columbia College Fund this year. That’s more than any year yet, according to an e-mail sent to ’07ers yesterday.
It didn’t take tipsters long to point out the Fund’s fumble. The thank you e-mail sent to donors included this photo from Commencement 2007. Oops.
Full text of the lovely message to “all 11,501″ J-school (er… CC) donors after the jump.
Now Bwog editor emeritus Chris Szabla reports on some of the more ridiculous elements of today’s pomp and circumstance.
Things being thrown/held by various schools:
CC: apple cores
SEAS: paper airplanes/annoying plastic clapping devices
GS: racing flags (because, I guess, they finally made it to the finish line)
Barnard: flowers and confetti
Nursing: pompoms (just…not right)
Architecture: balloons were all I could see, although the Record claimed they had plastic protractors
Business: monopoly money
Journalism: shredded newspaper
SIPA: national flags
Law: rubber gavels (people didn’t know they were rubber at first and apparently took cover)
Continuing Ed: frisbees
Teachers College: mostly seemed to ape SEAS’ paper airplane thing
Some beach balls also bounced among the graduates. CC students mostly let fly their apple cores (and in some cases whole apples) at SEAS, though some held steady and waited to assault Barnard. SEAS counterattacked with a volley of paper airplanes and
returned the apples. PrezBo looked visibly displeased when an uneaten apple whizzed near him.
As for the address, PrezBo bombed it with an untimely mention of “American Idol” (about a month late according to people who pay attention) interspersed with terribly unwitty self-deprecation. And concerning his references to the untrammeled prosperity of the world economy: huh?
Best moment: PrezBo made a condemnatory reference to people who thought in “simple binary form”. Upon hearing the words “binary form,” SEAS erupted in wild cheers, and PrezBo rephrased awkwardly. CC could not conceal its laughter.
More photos from Sumaiya Ahmed (actually taken on Class Day) after the jump… (more…)