Focus on What You Want to Do


Focus on what you want to do, not what you want to be.

-Ted Pryor '82BUS

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The World Is Ready for Your Brilliance



Congratulations! The world is ready for all the brilliance you have to offer. Don't be afraid to be lost or confused--you have a lot of time to figure it all out. Surround yourself with the people and things that make you come alive--and forget the rest. Before you leave campus, sit on the steps and really soak it all in. Always remember you have a place to call home in the greatest city in the world! Best wishes!

-Namrata Gumaste '14CC

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Creative Freedom Is Important


Don't forget that you have the opportunity to create amazing entrepreneurial businesses in this new media world. Don't just think of your career in terms of being someone else's employee or freelancer. You'll have much more freedom, and creative freedom, if you create a company of your own.

-Alex Connock '88JRN

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Live the Life of The Ideas You Want to See in The World


Live the life of the ideas you want to see in the world. You can make a difference and we need your contributions.

-Joseph Alem '06SIPA

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Hold Fast to the Spirit of Youth


Hold fast to the spirit of youth; let years to come do what they may. (And spend some quiet time where this is written.) 

-Greg Gonzalez '87CC, '88JRN

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Say Thank You, and Mean It


Say thank you, and mean it. 

-D. Westerholm '11SOA

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Our Next Generation Must Embrace Technology


Technology is a disruptive force that is impacting all business endeavors. Our next generation of CBS business leaders must embrace technology. Those that don't will become obsolete, like old technology. Those that do will thrive and prosper.

-Michael Oliver Weinberg '98BUS


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Continue to Think and Learn


Your Columbia education has taught you to THINK! Continue to think and learn and do things to improve your world, not merely your finances. Be a productive and worthy citizen of the world!

-John G. Scandalios '57CC

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Act on Your "Gut" Feelings


1.In most, if not all, things, you probably have a "gut" sense of what is the right thing to do. You will probably be most satisfied with your life if you act on that sense.

2.If you live your life the way one or more people want you to live it, you will not probably not be satisfied. It's your life, not theirs. If you don't do what they want, they'll eventually get over it and you will be happier.

-Kenneth Birnbaum '69BUS, '69LAW

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Don't Listen to Negative Advice


Don't listen to negative advice. There will always be someone telling you it's "impossible." Or "no one has ever done that". Learn to trust your own judgement.

-Susan Gingrich '75PS

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Do Something Fun Every Day


Do something that is fun every day and be thankful that you can.

-Mel Klein '62CC

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Economists Keep In Touch with the Human Element


Economists should never lose sight of the human element in explaining economic decisions and predicting outcomes.

-S. Nuri Erbas '82GSAS

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Stay In Touch


Stay in touch with each other. My very best friends are from my Columbia years! Communicate well, encourage yourself and others to think freely, and above all strive to be kind at work, to your friends and family, and also to strangers. Don't be proud or pretend... be humble, generous and real. These are the things that matter in the end. 

-Airie Stuart '94SOA

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Marry Well and Grow Together in Love.


Marry well. Grow together in love. Have children early and often. This more than anything else will have the biggest impact on your happiness. 

-Chuck Callan '78CC

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Become Wise Enough to Serve as Your Own Best Adviser


1. Look with suspicion upon unsolicited advice. You will probably get a lot of it in the coming years. It may well be motivated by impulses and aims having little to do with your own best interest. For instance, a middle-aged person may be interested in recapturing, for a moment, his own youth by vicariously connecting with younger generations in the form of advice-giving. Or, he may be attempting to distance himself from the folly of his own youth. Be willing to consider advice, and even to learn from it, but remember that the ultimate goal in life is not to follow others advice but to create your own, to become wise enough to serve as your own best adviser.

2. Do not believe those who say, you are over-thinking it. Most often, what such people mean is:Your thinking is too quick and complex for me. It is very hard to over-think. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we under-think.

3. Be wary of those who say, just trust your gut. There is nothing simple about trusting your gut. To trust your gut, you must first find your gut, which takes time and effort. You must try out your gut, see where it leads you, see to what it tends, see what it favors and what it hates. You must discover what sort of creature your gut is. So, first go seek your gut, study your gut, prove your gut in the archaic sense (look up the archaic meaning of the term, prove if you don't know it), and then decide whether and how to listen to your gut.

4. Learn, if you are able, what fear and anxiety are for you, what they do to you, and how they affect your thoughts and actions. If you can do this, you will have a much better chance of dealing with them in creative and courageous ways. To become familiar with fear and anxiety requires that you probe them, think about them, talk about them, and, sometimes, confront those things that make you the most fearful or anxious.

5. There are a few profound paradoxes that point us toward a richer understanding of the human condition. One paradox is that human lives can be meaningful to persons and yet, in some ultimate sense, the existence of humanity may be meaningless. Another is that when one creates something, one finds what is already there. Find and appreciate the rare, special paradoxes when you can, but beware the temptation to seek refuge in mysteriousness where reason could enlighten you. Many apparent paradoxes are mere confusions. Many people are unable to recognize the genuine paradoxes, so they see false paradoxes everywhere. For example, it is not truly paradoxical to give unsolicited advice to be wary of unsolicited advice: That is merely ironic.

-Matthew Bowker '96CC

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Have Fallback Options


Have fall-back options—in case your ideal one is delayed

-Paul Anirban-Pal '03SIPA

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Think of All You've Learned


Congratulations! Think of all you've learned and understand that you've received the tools to learn so much more. Best wishes in all your endeavors.

-Paul de Bary '68CC, '71BUS, '71LAW

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Find Ways to Further Peace and Understanding


In your place of work and service may you find ways to further peace and understanding in our increasingly diverse world.

- Rev. Dr. A. Gary Angleberger '57CC

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Change The World


If you want to change the world, start by making your bed. 

-Anthony Blackstone '68GSAS

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Think and act like a lion. 

-Josephine Hart '82GSAPP, '83BUS



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Regularly Set Goals


1. Regularly set goals for yourself - career, personal, exercise, rest, savings and travel.

2. Treat others outside your fold with gentleness and inclusion.

3. Throughout life, build small social groups where you are a contributor (in some fashion).

4. Seek advice from a knowledgeable, diverse group of people; remain flexible, and amenable to change.

5. Decide to enjoy life on a daily basis.

6. When setbacks occur (such as a personal relation gone south), try to process what is going on now in crisis, as if you are examining this distressing/painful episode from the vantage point of 6 months forward.

7. Document your progression with some text and photos, etc.

-Patrick F. Dolan '78BUS

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Apply Yourself


Be modest. Apply yourself. Remember the basics.

-Hideo Yanai '96SIPA

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Life Is a Journey


Continually strive to deliver excellence in your performance. Build and nurture your rolodex; you will need it many times. Don't do anything that would land you on the front page of the WSJ in a negative way. Life is a journey, not a series of goals...Enjoy it!

-Ronald Lefkon '64BUS

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Now It's Your Turn


You got one of the best education, now it's your turn. Use it!

-Elizabeth Klasicka '74GS

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Keep an Open Mind


Keep an open mind, keep active intellectually and physically, and follow a career in what you love and yearn to do.

-Wendell Hatfield '53CC, '56PS

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You Were Meant To Be Great


Be fearless. You were meant to be great.

-Tochi Iroku-Malize '07PH

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Never Forget Your Ambition


Never forget your ambition. Stand by your views. Congrats to the classes of 2017.

-Jannine Dewar '13MSPH

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Have Faith in Your Journey


Have faith in your journey, the good, the bad, the ugly. They all play a part in who you will become.

-Christina LaGamma '16BC

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Where Will You Be in Seven Years?


What and where do you want to be in seven years from today? What would the future-you tell your present-you?

-Rao Kolluru '89PH 

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Be Adventurous


Be adventurous in all of your choices and unafraid of the unknown. Stretch yourself and embrace your world.

-Patricia Bidwill '78BUS

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Be Kind


Be kind.

-Lone Kuhlmann '71JRN

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Make Your Dreams Come True



Don't settle. If you don't see a way to make your dreams come true, make a way for your dreams to come true.

-Debi Bobango '85SW

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LinkedIn Is Your New Facebook

LinkedIn is your new Facebook!

-Priscilla Mensah '09SEAS

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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff


Don't sweat the small stuff -- it all comes together in the end.

-Roham Usmani '16JRN

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Fear Nothing, Challenge Everything


Fear nothing and challenge everything!

-John Gaber '91, '93GSAPP

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Trust Yourself and Go For It

As you make your own way in the world remember to have compassion, to be courageous, to trust yourself and go for it. Your path may be straight her winding like mine was. But it's your path and trust that it will take you where you need it to. And most importantly be positive -- cause a positive attitude will take you a long way.

-Maryam Banikarim '89BC, '93BUS, '93SIPA

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Work Harder Than You Dream


Work harder than you dream and remember that it's not polite to talk too much about yourself.

-Lloyd Lim '87CC

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The Path to Happiness...


Don't assume that the path you are on is the only one. The path to happiness is often one you didn't know existed.

-Harold Freiman '90LAW

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You Have Bright Futures Ahead


Congratulations, graduates! You all have very bright futures ahead of you. Hold close these friends and the others you have met and will have met. In the beginning, through it all and at the end, it's all about the loyalty you will demonstrate for each other. That virtue, along with hard work and commitment to your duties, will carry you through! Felicitations again!

-Sohan Dasgupta '07CC

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Fail Quickly, Start Over


Fail quickly; start over.

-Laurent Adamowicz '09GSAS; Anthropology Dept., Columbia University

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Dare To Be Happy


Dare to be happy.

-Rafaela Dias Romero '16SIPA

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Your Education Lives On


Keep reading! One of the pleasures of taking the Core is that you will re-read your CC and Lit Hum books, and each time you do, something kinetic takes place. The works can take on entirely new meanings. That's how your Columbia education lives on. There's something special about re-reading these classics and discovering something that you didn't notice or realize in the first go-around, or if you are lucky, you learn something about yourself in subsequent readings. Congratulations to the Class of 2017! ROAR!

-Mark Momjian '83CC, '86LAW

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Be Brave and Persist


Be brave. Persist.

-Gardner Jacobs '55, '58PS

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Enjoy Every Second of Graduation


Enjoy every second of your graduation day.

-Chantal Schuster '06GS, '07SIPA

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Listen to Understand, Not to Respond



Listen to understand, and not to respond! 

-George Soto '76GS

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Don't Be Afraid to Fail

Don't be afraid to fail.

-Linda Tancs '11LAW

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Let It Shine


Evidencing as is so that one of my most cherished items is my diploma; when I ask fellow alums about experiences at other schools and they say; "it is ie. ok; but its not like Columbia;" that light which has been lit will shine on in you. Let it shine.

-Mark Trop '84LAW

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You'll Appreciate Your Columbia Education


The older you get, the more you will appreciate your Columbia education.

-Barry Bley '64CC, '65TC

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The Columbia Students Sitting Next to You Might Be the Next Global Leaders.


If you wish to build a better world, start building better relationships with your classmates. The world is made by people, and the Columbia students sitting next to you might be the next global leaders. Share your thoughts and you will find your allies.

Aline MacCord, '16SIPA


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Remember That Women's Rights are Human Rights.


Remember that women's rights are human rights.

Louise Bernikow, '61BC, '73GSAS


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