CC Class Day Recap

Written by

CC Class day, though never a particularly riveting experience, was cold, blustery and, well, boring this year.

The afternoon began with clear skies and salutatorian Julia Kalow, a double major in chemistry and creative writing, whose speech tended toward the latter. She told the story of a writer who informs her friends that she’s written a story with no ending. They balk, as does a snobbish boy in the corner reading the Iliad, who then notices, “Troy hasn’t fallen, the war isn’t over—perhaps the stories didn’t need endings.” Kalow reminded seniors that though they may be graduating, their “illustrious Columbia experience” doesn’t “end when our IDs expire,” or “when the University stops asking us for money.” Rather, it never ends, which was ambiguously comforting.

Following Kalow was Joel Klein, who in 2002 became Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, and whose speech sounded remarkably like his resume, with assorted quotes from Alan Alda and Theodore Roosevelt thrown in.

Clichés abounded. The glass was half empty or half full. Columbia had given seniors a car and gas and now they just had to drive. College is a “cocoon.” Acknowledging that “this was a hard assignment” and no one would remember what he said, he finished with: “The only thing I want you to remember from what I said today is, ‘go for it.’” Unfortunately by that point half the audience had forgotten who he was.

Dean of Student Affairs Costantino Colombo announced the award recipients as two of his staffers, who stood behind Bwog, loudly commented that writing speeches for the man is a sheer impossibility as he will only improvise. This is unfortunate, they noted, for words are the enemy of the Colombo.

Then there was senior class president Neda Navab, who continued Klein’s theme of giving a speech largely about herself and her trials and pitfalls in the last four years. She announced that her sister would be a freshman in the fall and as the cameras panned over her sister’s face, the audience cooed in unison. “Can it get any better than this?” Navab wondered.

It can! It did! Thank goodness for Dean Quigley and PrezBo, who between the two of them managed to be charming. “I’ve decided that I care too much to allow you to graduate,” joked Quigley. PrezBo gave some inspirational asides and then referred to the college as “one of the greatest dating services,” that appears to have failed quite a few of its seniors. “You seem to be a generation that wants to take your time to match up—the alumni association can help you!” he said, adding “Columbia and you are now wed.”

A hearty Bwog thank-you goes out to the kid wearing the spiderman costume under his gown–you made it all worthwhile.


Tags: ,


  1. blue

    Constantino Colombo? Is that a joke? I thought his name was Chris?

  2. phi beta kappa  

    inductee list?

  3. The University  

    will never stop asking us for money. If bin Laden went to CC, the alumni office would have tracked him down by now.

  4. spiderman  

    = alec s. hell yeah, the man is a mastermind.

  5. ugh

    Neda's speech was far too much about herself. Julia really did a great job by speaking for the class!

    • yup  

      Her sister stood up for the camera. At first I thought she was just standing for no apparent reason, but then the camera showed her sitting back down. It was a total set-up. Her speech wasn't memorable and was rambling too much about herself. "What makes it sooo horrifying is like that we are like graduating and like yeah." That's what it sounded like to me. Sorry Neda but I just had to say it. You're a nice girl just a bad orator.

      • CC'09  

        Mark Johnson will be giving our speech. Someone save us all. George Krebs, if that isn't leverage enough for you to get the admin to pony up and get a good speaker, I don't know what is.

  6. what?  

    no love for SEAS class day??

  7. why does  

    Bwog have to be so cynical all the time? I fucking graduated today, and I'm the first in my family to do so. Why can't Bwog stop trying to bring people down, for once?

  8. i liked  

    Klein's speech. I thought it was nice and, yes, while I am not intimately familiar with his resume, he is damn impressive and he left us with a good message.

    And why didn't the article mention how "passionate" everyone is about CC '08??? ;-)

  9. typo  

    NOW not NOT. (Still not proofreading, even after 4 years...)

  10. prezbo  

    seemed totally out of it/bored/hungover.

    quigley was charming.

    julia's speech was the best by far. it was complex and less cliche than the others. and it struck at the feelings i think we all had. i teared up at both her speech and the end of quigley's.

    • mostly agreed  

      but I loved prezbo's speech. because he was so out of it--his droll humor always struck me as inherently more honest than quigley's repetitions of the same thing he's said to us for four years.

      dead on about julia, though. great speech.

  11. GEOMETER  


  12. getalifeBwog

    Why is Bwog always so incredibly obnoxious and condescending?

  13. attendee

    bwog, easy on the cynicism ok. Class Day is one of the most beautiful ceremonies at Columbia, in fact, it's the only thing that Columbia actually tries to make pretty nice for us. and it's NOT boring by any means. are you serious? it's so freakin' exciting it's ridiculous.

    Klein gave a pretty damn good speech. It actually made me happy that CC requires an alum to speak because they can relate to the Columbia experience. I think Klein made that very clear. It was refreshing.

    Nevab was sweet but forgettable. Colombo needs to not shout into the microphone. He sounded like he was announcing a baseball game.

    Quigley = unbelievable. enough said.

    Prezbo was his typical self - unenthusiastic. unprepared. dazed. confused. don't they pay him enough money to slap on a little happy at commencement? jeez.

    anyway, stop hatin' and start celebratin'

    • attendee  

      I don't think bwog was being cynical, bwog was just not being gushingly spineless about class day. I was there and kelin and navab's speeches were embarrassingly self-important. and boring? damn right. the morning was utterly interminable. thank good for spiderman and quigley.

  14. ughh

    "never a particularly riveting experience"

    clearly this was not written by someone who either graduated or attended the ceremony. this is just bad journalism, bwog.

  15. '08  

    actually I think bwog is pretty right on... class day was cold, fairly uninteresting and entirely too long.


    Needs to be fired. The man cannot read neither improvised. He is an embarrassment to Columbia administration. How many words did he missed?

    • alum

      i was just thinking that the other day. colombo is so incompetent he is almost beyond ridicule. does he ever appear in the varsity show, fed, etc.? mocking him would be like mocking a handicapped child.

      what does he actually do. beyond prove that he is an idiot.

  17. ...

    is it weird that not one of my grades for the semester has appeared on ssol yet? or is it normal? no snarky replies... have you gotten your grades yet?

  18. cupcake

    i've gotten 3 grades out of 5

  19. !@#@#  

    Bwog, your SEAS coverage absolutely sucks. You didn't even announce our Valedictorian/Salutatorian. What the hell?

  20. Graduate

    SSOL = Still Shit Outta Luck

  21. Freshman

    As of this morning, I have all of my grades. I've had all but 2 since this Saturday.

  22. Quigley  

    is incredible. Best CU administrator by far.

  23. seas  

    seas class day was actually pretty decent this of course, bwog ignored it

  24. Funny Part  

    The CC guy who claims the SEAS degree is worthless up a few comments. I'm willing to bet almost every entry-level job in a America would prefer an engineer over a History major.

  25. '08  

    Anyone notice that one of the deans (I forget who) called the Class of '08 the "254th class to graduate from Columbia"? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the first class graduate in 1758? Making us the 250th class?

    • Yer wrong!

      It doesn't work that way. Graduating college in 4 years wasn't always the way it was; people could graduate after only one year of enrollment back before "college" was such an institution. 1755 would've been the first graduating class, meaning that 2008 is the 254th graduating class.

      On the other hand, since classes were suspended during the American Revolution, this graduating class might be in the high-240's. Good luck figuring out the exact number.

      • actually  

        The first university commencement was indeed in 1758 (at least according to the commencement program). However, to say it is the 250th graduating class is similarly incorrect. If you guys remember your columbia history, King's College was closed due to the Revolution in 1776 and reopened 8 years later with a spiffy new name. So by my count, this was the 242nd commencement, although one could be say that this is the 250th anniversary of the first commencement.

  26. Rodolfo  

    spidey schachner is a passionate, passionate man. quigley's alright with me. prezbo was on a bender sunday night. kalow's speech was pretty good. navab's speech was blah. josh graduated twice. klein still sucks.

  27. correction ms Kalow

    the university WILL ask you for money until you're dead so, in the end, the score will always be You=0; University=1

  28. i see

    number 3 already beat me to it, apologies

  29. Honors  

    Do we know what the cutoffs for cum laude, magna, and summa were?

  30. quigs  

    cum = 2.30
    magna = 2.35
    summa = 2.40

  31. Barnard

    explains it like this on their
    website: A student with a final cumulative grade point average matching or exceeding the cutoff average for the top 8% of graduates of the last three years will be awarded the degree summa cum laude.

    A student with a final cumulative grade point average matching or exceeding the cutoff average for the top 17% of graduates (and below the cutoff average for the top 8% of graduates) of the last three years will be awarded the degree magna cum laude.

    A student with a final cumulative grade point average matching or exceeding the cutoff average for the top 33% of graduates (and below the cutoff average for the top 17% of graduates) of the last three years will be awarded the degree cum laude.

    The averages for these three groups of graduates in the three academic years 2004-2005 through 2006-2007 were, in descending order, 3.86, 3.78, and 3.66. Accordingly, these values govern the awarding of the corresponding honors in 2007-2008.

    I don't think the college has the same system though, especially because its not just GPA based(supposedly). At a guess: cum would be around 3.75 at the lowest, 3.8 to be guaranteed it, 3.87+ for magna, 3.94+ for summa.

  32. what about Lindsey  

    My whole thing with the ceremony is that Linds Lazopolous didn't win a prize. She totally deserved the Campus Leadership Award, or something...I speak for many by saying she's really dedicated to CU school spirit, and is truly one of those folks who served to keep unity among members of CC'08. What a bummer not to see her win something...

  33. const crit

    Bwog, try getting a senior to write senior related posts. Having an underclassmen write the post slamming Matthew Fox last year should've taught you a lesson.

    Anyway, (speaking of matthew fox...) as an alum who was at Class Day, 07 and 04 have had the best speeches by far in recent years.

    Klein's speech had some really good moments, but veered into self-celebration a bit too much. Could've used one more rewrite to turn the focus back onto the graduates. There was a bit of gratuitous name dropping that got a bit much. But overall, it was a not too shabby capstone for four years.

    Julia's speech was really sweet, the line about "Maxim is looking forward to teaching your children about Econ" was really cute. Also, the cheering Maxim got when he was recognized for being Val? Warmed my cold-jaded-alumni heart.

    Congrats 08, remember the feeling and enjoy Commencement. You'll find yourself on the other side of the gates for good too fast.

    Lay off Columbo guys, he's been here forever and is probably reaching the end of his tenure here. He's been Dean of Student Affairs since 1998, and before that he was Dean of SEAS Student Affairs for who knows how long (there used to be one student affairs office for each school).

  34. graduating senior  

    i hate bwog.

  35. just wondering  

    anyone have a link to prezbo's speech from class day?

  36. ;;;

    what do the different ropes stand for? the gold or the blue one that some people have?

  37. new alum

    people need to stop shortening the event name...'commencement of the 254th academic year' doesn't imply that there were 253 commencements before...there just were academic years where our predecessors procrastinated for an entire year.

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.