However, immunity from gratuitous administrator emails is not one of them. Want a sneak peak at your future inbox? Want to see if you’ll be among the select few special enough to be used by Deantini to brag about the College?
Oh, and Dean, it’s “Roar, Lion, Roar!”

Dear Alumni,
I want to wish you a happy New Year and share with you some news and observations from my first semester in Hamilton Hall. During the past five months, I have met with dozens of you at meetings, dinners and in my office, and received countless emails from around the world. Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Even more, thank you for all that you do each day to help strengthen the College and enhance the undergraduate experience here.

In December, we admitted early decision applicants for the Class of 2016 from the best early decision applicant pool we have ever had. Our admitted students hail from 39 states and 20 countries around the world. They have a tremendous diversity of backgrounds, and like our current and former students, are creative, talented and intellectually fearless. They are truly representative of all that makes Columbia College students so remarkable.

We think our success in early decision is due, in no small part, to our full-need financial aid program. Because of our policies, students who need financial aid can apply only to Columbia and commit to entering the College if admitted, confident that we will meet their full demonstrated financial need. We thank you for your support in helping us admit these future Columbians. We know that each of these gifted students will bring a unique voice to the spirited discussions in our classrooms and around campus and contribute to and benefit from the undergraduate experience in the College.

Our current students are also thriving, through internships, fellowships and in research labs, and in winning competitive scholarships and awards. Alex Frouman ’12 has been awarded a Marshall Scholarship, which he will use to study economics at the graduate level in the United Kingdom. Richard Sun ’13 was awarded one of Ireland’s prestigious Undergraduate Awards, which encourage excellence at an undergraduate level, for his paper on “Triple Bottom Line Analysis of Sustainable Urban Development.” In October, he flew to Dublin and received an award medal from Ireland’s president, Mary McAleese. Our early decision class makes me confident that Columbia College students will continue to receive such prestigious honors.

We are working on expanding student internship and fellowship opportunities. This summer, we will kick off a new alumni-sponsored student internship program, which will provide College students with access to new, high-quality internships. These internships represent a gift of experience to present College students from former College students. We have exceeded our internship goal for the program’s first year, and, with your help, hope to increase the number of internships in future years. We are also delighted to have the Columbia College Women mentoring program, through which alumnae provide support and guidance to women students by giving job advice and career help. We currently have 180 seniors matched one-on-one with alumnae mentors, and an additional 150 juniors matched in groups. We are committed to increasing mentoring, which draws on one of the most important assets the College has — its alumni — for the benefit of current students, and we encourage you to join this effort.

I will be in touch in the coming months with additional news and details. In the meantime, please continue to contact me at with your ideas and feedback.

Roar, Lions, Roar,

James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College
Vice President for Undergraduate Education (Interim)

Photograph by Ravi Bhalla of the Columbia Photography Association