Female Alumnae Praising SEAS and Decorating the 1 Train

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Remember Miss Subway competitions? No, because they were discontinued after 1976 (save a one year revival in 2004). But we should all pretend to be nostalgic for them now that, with the help of a tipster, we have found a former Columbia student winner!

After extensive research (read: some Googling), we know nothing about the smart and seductive Helen Lee except what her Miss Subway sign tells us. She studied Chinese, trained in voice and liked interior decorating and football games when “escorted by her Yale beau.” Yale!? Okay, since your pastimes are as archetypal as you are beautiful, we’ll forgive you. The Miss Subways just held a reunion, so maybe Helen was there!

In completely unrelated alumna awesomeness, Megan McCain went on The View recently to praise her Alma Mater. “I was around all these, like, MENSA scholars,” she said of her Columbia classmates, adding, “There’s a really good school at Columbia that’s specifically for math and science.” The one downside is that she was comparing Columbia’s prowess to The View and its hosts. But still, intellectual compliments? SEAS love? Looks like another high-profile alumnus just got one-upped.


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  1. EAL  

    I'm sure the "exotic" label next to Miss Lee's name is sure to rile up a few feathers among certain members of the Columbia community. Interesting find, Bwog.

    Why does Yale always seem to get the better of us?

  2. It doesn't  

    At this moment in history, Columbia seems to be cleaning up the mess Yale has made of America. And I mean more than just Bush-Obama.

    Btw, the school wasn't co-ed in 1976, and so I'm guessing Helen Lee was Barnard

  3. actually  

    SEAS went co-ed well before CC. I think the first woman to get a degree from SEAS was in the 50s (possibly a MS not BS though)

  4. oh also  

    it gets brought up far too often but BWOG, "Looks like another high-profile alumni just got one up-ed" is wrong.

  5. Anonymous  

    I'm pretty sure by "majoring in Chinese" that Ms. Lee was not in SEAS.

    • Are you  

      calling Miss Subways 1949 Helen Lee a liar?? Bite your tongue.

      I actually wouldn't be surprised, given the borderline-racist "Exotic" label, if the people running this campaign back in the day just assumed she majored in Chinese.

  6. hmmm

    Well it says she "studied" Chinese, not that she majored in Chinese. Maybe she majored in some type of engineering with a minor in Chinese, and the Ms. Subway people thought that focusing on the Chinese minor would give her more appeal than portraying her as an engineer.

  7. well  

    she doesn't show up in the columbia directory so i'm pretty sure it was barnard

  8. Also  

    1949. She had to have been at Barnard. Neither school was co-ed then.

  9. and

    it clearly says "barnard." whew.

  10. earnest question

    dear barnard students, why do you insist on wearing columbia gear when the barnard store sells much cuter stuff that actually says your school name on it?

  11. she also

    could have been a graduate student

  12. Angry Black Man  


    1) Exotic
    2) SEAS Asian
    3) Asian taking Chinese
    4) Asian interior decor


    Also again, 2010 celebrate! AJ is no longer prez! 2010 CLEAR!


  13. I heard this  

    on WNYC. Well, Miss Subways in general.


    And the Cher song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Xq5TQQuHY
    (Ignore the freaky Cher faces in the youtube video)

  14. wtf meghan  

    what school at CU is specifically for math and science?

    God what a dumbass, I can't believe she went here.

    • so...  

      I don't know the context of the quote but maybe she meant the magnet school Columbia is partnering with...that makes more sense than trying to claim it was a retarded attempt at referencing SEAS. She went here for 4 years, even if you don't think she's intelligent she probably heard people say "engineering school" a few times

  15. Alum

    General Studies has always been co-ed. Ms. Lee could have studied there or, as others have noted, she could have been a grad student. It's also possible that she just attended the summer session, or that she was never a degree candidate at all.

    Not being in the alumni directory does not imply she was a Barnard student. Aside from the possibilities I have already mentioned, she may have opted out of the directory. It's also possible that she has died since 1976, or that she is listed under a different name.

  16. hmm

    Alumnae who attended Barnard prior to Columbia becoming co-ed are allowed to refer to themselves as Columbia graduates and to list "Columbia" on their resume as if they had attended Columbia College. (At least I was told that by a Barnard pre-coed alumna.)

  17. AHH  

    I can't tell in these comments whether people are talking about Helen Lee or Megan McCain.

  18. ehhh

    Well, Megan was being very nice, and I therefore feel guilty about not responding with niceties in turn, but she finds a conversation with the ladies of the View to be an intellectual challenge? Some of the uninformed viewers who get their views from that "View" must now think that Core classes are peopled with the intellectual equals of Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd.

  19. ehhh

    I wonder, would Sherri Shepherd or Joy Behar qualify for that "special" school that is *specifically* for math and science? Could it be that math and science are indeed their true strengths, and that that is why their verbal skills are so lacking?

  20. Anonymous

    By the way, Megan was not talking about The View. It looks that way at first, but she's talking about The Big Bang Theory, whose star is the guest. The clip is still very silly.

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