Your 20 Potential Class Day Speakers

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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.

Columbia College Class Day Speaker List (in no particular order):  

Warren Buffet, Columbia B-School

CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and businessman extraordinaire. Remember when he backed Goldman Sachs earlier this year? We do.   

Barack Obama, CC ‘83,

He is the President Elect of the United States. Kind of a big deal right now.  

David Paterson CC ‘77

The first African American and blind man to hold the position. He has thus far illustrated incredible “vision” for the state of New York, and currently is deciding on the senate replacement Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton.  

Benjamin Jealous CC ‘94

Now president of the NAACP, previously served at Amnesty International as the director of the US Human Rights Program.  

Eric Holder CC ’73, Law 76

The first black Attorney-General Designate, Eric Holder formerly held the post of deputy Attorney-General under President Clinton.  

Maggie Gyllenhall CC ‘99

Beautiful actress, she is best known for her roles in, Dark Knight, Donnie Darco, Mona Lisa Smile (alongside fellow alumna Juil Stiles),  and let’s just say a whole let of other flicks.  

Paul Auster CC ‘69

Renowned author, he is best known for a series of New York detective novels penned under the pseudonym, Paul Benjamin 

Julius Genachowski CC ’85

Obama’s tech and finance guru, he will definitely be appointed to the incoming administrator and is rumored to be the favorite for the newly established position of Chief Technology Officer. Obama likes technology, we like Columbia, we like a Columbia alum running the country’s technology. Simple logic.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Law ‘59

The second female to hold the position of Supreme Court Justice, she was appointed by President Clinton. Prior to serving on the Court, she was the first director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s.  

Seymour Hersh, Parent ‘04

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author, he contributes regularly to the New Yorker. Best known for his work on Abu Ghraib  

Art Garfunkel, CC 65

One half of Simon and Garfunkel and a V-Show alum.  

Marcus Brauchli, CC ‘83

Managing editor of the Wall Street Journal 

Marcellus Wiley, CC ‘97

Drafted to the NFL in 1997 by the Buffalo Bills, he went on to play for the Chargers, Cowboys and Jaguars. He is now an analyst for NFL Live on ESPN.   

Lawrence Brilliant, M.D, Parent ‘07

He is the Executive Director of, Google INC.’s philanthropic branch. While working at the World Health Organization, he focused on eradicating small pox.  

Alexandra Wallace CC ‘88

Executive producer of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, she is the first woman to lead a nightly newscast in a decade. She has also covered Hurricane Katrina and the death of Pope John Paul II.  

Fred Katayama CC ‘82

Correspondent for CNN Business News and Money Line, he received an Honorable Mention from the Asian American Journalist Association.  

Terrence Mcnally CC ‘60

Phi-Beta Kappa while at Columbia, this American playwright has received 4 Tony Awards, Two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a lot more hardware than the Columbia Athletic Department.   

Kenneth Cole, Parent ‘10

CEO of Kenneth Cole, this clothing designer and social promoter’s name speaks for itself. Check your shirt label.  

Emanuel Ax CC ‘70

Prominent figure in the classical music scene, this pianist has 7 Grammy Awards, three of which were earned for collaborations with Yoyo Ma  

Vikram Pandit, SEAS ’76, SEAS (M.S.) ’77, B-School ’80, B-School PhD ’86

Columbia Trustee and CEO of yet-to-be bankrupt Citigroup, he joined the firm when it was already in financial turmoil and has made a gallant attempt to bring about stability in these stormy economic times.

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  1. seriously?  

    how does Ben Stein not make this list? Do you honestly want to listen to Maggie Gyllenhal? Kenneth Cole, love him, but the standard speech he gives is on his website. And fat chance Obama will even give a dime to the alumni fund let alone speak at graduation.


  2. god damn  

    god damn. why do we in SEAS not have an accomplished list of alums like this?

    Oh. Right.

  3. Charles Darwin Fan  

    Not 'til Mr. Stein becomes an evolutionist.

    This University has a good reputation in the sciences and can't afford bringing a guy whose views are probably closer to Pat Robertson's.

  4. Jennifer Oriole  

    Vikram Pandit was freaking undergrad at SEAS majoring in EE. How can you leave his BS out, BWOG?????

    • Juli  

      Bwog did not write the brief biographical sketches, the CC 2009 Class Council wrote the brief biographical sketches.

      All praise and constructive criticism should be directed in that direction.

      • CCSC 09  

        Juli's totally right. That was something we realized a few minutes ago. That being said, he's still eligible because he's a trustee and holds numerous other degrees.

        Our apologies,

        CCSC 09

  5. Ben Stein  

    is a total and complete douche bag. shame shame shame on ben stein!!!

    uggh...i fucking hate that prick.

  6. terrence mcnally  

    is my hero.

  7. Did  

    Julius Genachowski work for CUIT sometime during his stay? Then we're all doomed.

  8. Patterson '09  

    Dave Patterson is one of the funniest and best public speakers out there. He would be great.

  9. lol  

    Pandit sucks. Or is this "famously bad" right now? I guess you could make the case for Buffet turning $5 bil into toilet paper, but Obama? Not yet, Fox News!

  10. CCSC 09  


    If you read the post, it's clear that this list is largely pulled from our nomination website. Plus seniors get to choose 8 from 20 so Maggie may not even make the list.

    Ben Stein was invited last year and was not very receptive. Also, besides being a bit washed up, and crazy (see his work on intelligent design), he wasn't very popular among seniors. Ben Stein received only one nomination, Maggie G. got over 30. Sometimes democracy is funny like that...

  11. Hersh!  

    he's the best one that no one will pick...

  12. cc09

    I bet paul auster would be really awesome, and he might actually be willing to accept.

  13. wow...  

    Sophisticated technology such as password protection?

    Columbia must have learned from the whole ROTC debacle....

  14. GARFUNKEL!!  

    i want garfunkel! yay garfunkel!

  15. Alum

    "David Paterson CC '77

    The first African American and blind man to hold the position. . . ."

    This sketch would look more professional if it actually said what position he holds.

    • Alum

      Oh for fuck sake. He's the governor of New York State. I think it should be obvious to most Columbia students what position he holds.

      Otherwise, they should be expelled.

      • Alum

        Of course we all know that. We all know who Barack Obama, Warrent Buffet and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are, too, but whoever wrote the bios still had the courtesy to give them their due. All I'm saying is that they messed up with Patterson.

  16. all else aside  

    paterson is an awesome speaker. check him out on a colbert a while ago. it was great.

  17. senior  

    so here's the question--is voting for Obama as one of the top 8 throwing away my vote?

  18. ianc-b  

    it should be paul auster, obvi.

  19. ashish

    Julius Genachowski is a stand up man. Would love to see him speak!

  20. GOD  

    Who WROTE these? They're awful!

    Beautiful actress, she is best known for her roles in, Dark Knight, Donnie Darco, Mona Lisa Smile (alongside fellow alumna Juil Stiles), and let's just say a whole let of other flicks.

    Donnie Darco? Juil Stiles? "and let's just say a whole let of other flicks"??? CCSC, incompetent as always.

  21. ccsc  

    voting for Barack Obama will NOT be a throwaway vote. If nobody votes for him, he won't make it into the top 8! But you should also try to diversify your list in case your #1 (Barack Obama) is invited but declines to attend.

  22. stupid  

    You guys really shouldn't post this info. Way to offend people that you don't end up inviting, and look stupid when people turn you down.

    • CCSC 09  

      How is this stupid? All the names on this list are massive public figures, I'm pretty sure they won't be offended at making the top 20, and most are important enough that they won't care about making the top eight. Also, we are submitting the top eight to Quigley not publishing them on Bwog.

      As for the bios, we pulled these together quickly to get the list out. They aren't extensive but the point was a brief two sentences on who each person is.

    • Alum

      Being turned down doesn't make anyone look stupid. These are busy people, and many of them would be unavailable even if they would very much want to accept. When they say no they aren't passing judgment.

  23. somehow  

    i highly doubt anyone would decide to take out a personal grudge against columbia because they checked bwog, found a list of 20 names, and then were upset that they weren't on it. if they're going to do that, they have too much free time. and aren't important enough.

  24. Argh  

    People should have 2-3 votes. Everyone will want to vote Barack, but he has the least likelihood of coming. So why not give everybody 2-3 votes, and then do a tally?

    • Alum

      Obama should be invited to speak at the university-wide ceremony, not class day. It would be an insult to invite him to something less than the main event. Even then, don't be surprised if he says no.

  25. Funny  

    how the above alum has posted 5-6 comments on this thread, even though this will clearly not affect him/her.

    CC'08 perhaps looking for some redemption after getting daz KleinShaft?

  26. But

    Dont you have to be an alum/parent of someone in the COLLEGE? How are Ginsberg/Bufet even eligible?

  27. i will always  


  28. Again  

    Please actually take the time to read the post. Each senior selects 8 different names because we are submitting a list of 8 names. We will do a tally of the 8 most popular names and then submit those as our suggestions.

    • yo,  

      stop being arrogant and read it yourself. The way it is phrased, it sounds like we vote for our top choice and you present the 8 with the most votes to Quigley.

      Anywho, glad that's not actually the case.

  29. wtf  

    god ccsc is so incompetent. they should do tallies.

  30. spelling  

    Please, have some pride. Warren Buffett*!!!!

  31. Bwog  

    Hey Bwog,

    Can you please adjust the language to clarify that each senior makes 8 choices? This is what we originally submitted to you.

  32. The CC Connection  

    The way it was explained to us, the CC connection is a little more vague than that. They need to be a member of the Columbia community, and preferably an alum/parent of the college. However if there is overwhelming support for one of the three names that are not directly tied to the college we are hoping that the administration would be understanding.

    CCSC '09 takes full responsibility for our grammatical mistakes, but cut us at least a little bit of slack. We are trying to make this a transparent and democratic process and believe it or not we have finals too. 4 typos in a list of 20 names shouldn't be the focus of criticism, at least we are opening this to a vote and not making the selection without gauging class opinion. Lastly, we will of course be using tallies of the votes. How else would we find out the top eight choices?

  33. Uh...

    The last time I checked, Columbia doesn't PAY their speakers to come speak.

    That being said, why would ANY of the people on the list want to come to Columbia? (I mean, I know some would for their alma mater, but not all)

  34. damn

    damn...are you guys doing summer internships for citi or something?

    a gallant attempt? yeah, gallant like isaiah managed the knicks

    and seymour hersh? the guy who said this: Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people... I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say."

    Eric Holder please because Obama won't come

    Lawrence Brilliant sounds cool too

  35. old guy

    quit whining, this is way more transparency then ever. about damned time.

    that being said, how did you guys forget to nominate THE TODD, Rob Maschio himself, who even took the time to offer his undoubtedly awesome services?

    You all fail.

  36. oh and

    The Todd has speaking experience! He appeared before the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland in October to give a talk!

    Draft The Todd '09!

  37. Holder!  

    Holder!! Let's have Holder!!!

  38. The King of Spain

    As someone who heard McCain, Calatrava, Klein and Fox speak, let me suggest that you all stop whining and bickering about who would be the coolest, and start whining and bickering about who you think would give the most interesting and meaningful talk. Of those four, it was the two that were anticipated least that actually said things that we thought were interesting. Actually, Ahmadinejad gave a much better speech than McCain.

    Biggest-name people who have a lot to do are not going to make good speakers, because they probably won't write their speeches, probably don't care too much, and probably have little school pride that would motivate them otherwise.

    • king

      Let me paraphrase the real King of Spain, who said something pertinent to a certain individual who would also probably be inclined to say "Ahmadinejad gave a better speech..." Shut up.

  39. rep  

    it goes without saying that nobody cares much what these guys say. the point is to tell people about the kool dood who spoke at your graduation and to publicize the awesomeness of your school's alumni

  40. LOL  

    CCSC 09 getting their panties all up in a knot. welcome to the internet!

  41. ...  

    i sense a gawker snippet forthcoming that links to this snippet and makes fun of columbia and it's inflated sense of importance.

  42. cc09  

    Paul Auster!!! he's still part of the morningside community, and there's a good chance he'll say yes. plus, he's a pretty awesome writer so he may also speak intelligently ....?

  43. wowie  

    Boy am I glad my governor isn't that idiot in Illinois!

  44. obama  

    if not, he won't even be added to the list at all

    • No!  

      Don't vote obama.

      a) He is very unlikely to turn up, meaning. This means someone who is more likely to turn up will lose his spot to Obama.
      b) He barely acknowledges Columbia and admitted to being 'like a monk' while he was here. Hence, his experience with columbia wasn't meaningful to him, and hence his speech will not be one we can relate to or in the least bit meaningful.
      c) His speech is likely to be political propaganda and diluted - he's not going to speak from the heart when he's president of the USA.

  45. patterson or holder  

    i've heard patterson before and he's great, holder because we won't get Obama...i'm just saying

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