Connect with us

All Articles

Actual Wisdom: Peter Awn

His claim to fame also involves suspenders

Our last  Actual Wisdom takes a radical leap from professors to other really cool people at Columbia. Dean Peter Awn discusses the merits of monasteries, socks, and gives you your daily dose of soul (music).

1. Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer.

Solon claims you’re not counted happy until you’re in an urn. Sorry Solon; nihil humani mihi alienum est, and that makes me a very happy man…now.

2. Your claim to fame (what makes you special?):

My socks.

3. What’s your most valuable or unexpected college experience?

I was in a monastery, so I had no college experience, unexpected or otherwise. One of the humbler pleasures, perhaps, was when we didn’t have to speak Latin at dinner.

4. What’s the craziest student excuse/extension story you’ve heard?

My little sister ate the paper and had to be taken to the Emergency Room.

5. Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?

Generally speaking, for men my age, you can’t ask whether to give it up unless you can get… your cholesterol checked regularly.

6. Back in my day…

There is no longer a homeless man living in the men’s bathroom in Kent who walked around naked when he was doing his laundry in the sink. I also miss being taken hostage on the 15th floor of SIPA during the anti-Shah protests in the late seventies. The hostage takers were more nervous than we were, which was touching. And then there were the years I could walk into class with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth……

7. Three things you learned at Columbia:

I never thought that I would be as passionate as I am about a Columbia education; that I would relish the privilege of being part of undergraduates’ lives at a time when they are putting their adult worldviews together; that you can walk out the front gates and have a life.

8. What’s your advice to students/academics/the human race in general?

The great philosopher, Aretha, hit it on the head: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I am also a great promoter of the value of being offended. Hopefully challenging and, yes, sometimes offensive ideas will force you to expand and/or nuance your intellectual horizons.

The ever-eloquent Awn via Alan Orling/Columbia

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published.



  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Keep Calm and Peter Awn!

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 claim to fame: socks suspenders

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous >class with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth

    Please bring that back, I wouldn’t get so antsy halfway through class if I could have a smoke.

  • CUCR says:

    @CUCR Dean Awn is awesome, and a friend of CUCR.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous @CUCR: *only friend

  • this guy says:

    @this guy is the best dean at Columbia.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Awn is just being Awnsome! Wacky socks for life maaaan!! <3

  • Bonus points for the gardenpath says:

    @Bonus points for the gardenpath <3

  • Radical leap? says:

    @Radical leap? Awn is also a professor…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous +1 for oral sex – cheese answer.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous good job not posting Barnard’s Phi Beta Kappa, Bwog.

    1. Jim says:

      @Jim bwog is columbia news not barnard news, good day sir!

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous funny, I’m pretty sure they covered Obama at Barnard.

        1. CC'14 says:

          @CC'14 Uh, because Obama went to Columbia? And Columbians were upset about it, no?

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous uh… They were upset he came to Barnard, not that Bwog covered it. Context clues: really important when you’re trying to be a troll.

          2. CC'14 says:

            @CC'14 “It” referred to the fact that Obama spoke at Barnard, not Bwog’s covering of it. 7+ people got it; why can’t you?

            Stupid Barnard girl is stupid.

  • Scumbag Peter Awn says:

    @Scumbag Peter Awn Justifies issuing diplomas in English instead of Latin because it is a dead language
    Uses Latin in every public opportunity he gets

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Check your GS Butthurt.

    2. CC'14 says:

      @CC'14 Big deal — the only Columbia schools that issue their diplomas in Latin are Columbia Law School and Columbia College. Does anyone think Barnard is above SEAS and GS because Barnard’s diploma is in Latin? It’s the actual Columbia degree that matters in the end.

  • Have Your Say

    What should Bwog's new tagline be?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Recent Comments

    My cat understands when i say its too early. He huffed and walks away (read more)
    My Cat Doesn’t Care About My Education
    September 26, 2020
    same with dr. price's cat (read more)
    My Cat Doesn’t Care About My Education
    September 26, 2020
    My cat will interrupt my classes, not because he is hungry, but because he just wants some attention. However, I (read more)
    My Cat Doesn’t Care About My Education
    September 26, 2020
    idk man hunger games sounds kinda sick (read more)
    What Should CU’s Admissions Criteria Really Be
    September 26, 2020

    Comment Policy

    The purpose of Bwog’s comment section is to facilitate honest and open discussion between members of the Columbia community. We encourage commenters to take advantage of—without abusing—the opportunity to engage in anonymous critical dialogue with other community members. A comment may be moderated if it contains:
    • A slur—defined as a pejorative derogatory phrase—based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or spiritual belief
    • Hate speech
    • Unauthorized use of a person’s identity
    • Personal information about an individual
    • Baseless personal attacks on specific individuals
    • Spam or self-promotion
    • Copyright infringement
    • Libel
    • COVID-19 misinformation