Obama’s Roommate, Plus Obama’s New York

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Two pieces of (somewhat) Obama-related media: first, one of his first college roommates writes about their time together in the fall of 1981. Phil Boerner ’84, who transferred with Obama from Occidental, remembers Obama that, “as a host and roommate, he sometimes did the shopping and cooked the chicken curry.” Oh, and Obama may have spent so much time in the library because “our apartment had irregular heat, and we didn’t enjoy hanging out there once the weather got cold.” The pair also hit up establishments that Columbia students still haunt, including Tom’s (“for breakfast”), the Met, and the Central Park jogging loop.

Meanwhile, in the New York Times, author Kevin Baker ’80 decides that, because he “came to New York, and to Columbia University, just a few years before Barack Obama arrived in 1981,” he should remind us what New York was like in the early 80s. “It was a dirtier city then, more violent, more interesting,” he writes, “more accessible to poor, eager young people.” Still, “everything seemed like a revelation, right from the first day at Columbia, when my art humanities professor took us to St. John the Divine and explained what a Gothic cathedral was.” Some things never change.

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  1. econ trouble..

    for columbia?

    from the wall st. journal:


    "As of last June, 41% of Columbia University's $7 billion endowment was in hedge funds and 40% in private equity, with only 4% in U.S. stocks, 4% in cash and a piddly 1% in bonds. That is light-years away from the old-time institutional rule of 60% stocks, 40% bonds.

    So what? Many hedge funds lock up investors' money for as long as three years. The typical private-equity fund makes "capital calls," requiring investors to pony up another 50 cents to 75 cents for every dollar they already have committed. Columbia is on the hook for another $1.6 billion in capital calls through 2012. When all goes well, as it had for years, endowments pay for capital calls with gains elsewhere in their portfolios.

    Now, however, all isn't well. With no gains to be found, many institutions are short on liquidity just when they need it most. A recent survey of college and university presidents found that 50% have, or will soon, put in a hiring freeze. Nearly 7% admitted selling assets into a bear market; another 9% have been forced to borrow money at punitive rates."

  2. wait...

    how'd the guy get into Art Hum his first semester?!?

  3. because...

    He was a transfer student.

  4. well  

    i took art hum first year and i'm not a transfer

  5. Ridiculous

    Wow, why are we even discussing this. Can we all acknowledge that this was over 25 years ago, and maybe, just maybe circumstance might've been different then?

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