Low press briefings, Bwog is aware, are typically not very interesting. This one didn’t disappoint–PrezBo took a few softball questions from a few journalists in his low, almost subsonic tones–but we did get to meet Mr. Kluge himself, a charming old man whose death will bring the University more money than we can really comprehend.
Sounding like PrezBo on loop, Kluge talked about the importance of making Columbia a global university, and a bit about his experience as a scholarship student, which accounts for his focus on financial aid programs.
“I’m not interested in buildings. I’m interested in minds,” Kluge said, noting that other alums should belly up to the bar: “An institution like Columbia is really dependent on its alumni. And I would like to have this gift a token of what alumni can do and should do. That’s the only way an institution that’s private can exist in the future.”
Following the briefing, the entire administrative apparatus of Columbia (Robert Kasdin, Zvi Galil, Nick Dirks, Austin Quigley, and Nick Lemann all sighted), plus enough Kluge scholars and others to create a standing-room-only event, schmoozed in the Rotunda to the beats of a three-piece lounge band. Bwog had to skip out for the actual announcement, which ran a half hour late, but Mayor Bloomberg, Congressman Rangel, and Truman winner Ron Towns were all on the agenda. Check Spec and every other New York media outlet a bit later for the congratulatory pablum.