Jacques Barzun passed away on Thursday at the age of 104. A man who was an integral part of Columbia’s identity, Barzun will be missed.
Coming from a home in a Parisian suburb that can only be described as a salon, Barzun was no stranger to intellectual thought. He grew up worshiping literature and philosophy and, witnessing World War I’s destructive effect on French universities, he immigrated to America in 1920 to attend Columbia University. Upon graduating, Barzun became a professor and, later, he rose to become Dean of Faculty. Barzun believed that everyone should have a strong connection to history’s great books and, for this reason, he created the Literature Humanities section of the Core, a class that all Columbia College students should be familiar with. As Barzun became more immersed in his work, he found himself more and more intertwined with Columbia, growing to be such a part of the institution that he even redesigned its academic robes. Though Barzun himself may be gone, his legacy lives on in the form of Columbia.
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