Always Strive to do the Right Thing


Always strive to do the 'Right Thing'. More than anything else, this will assure you the respect of your fellow men and bring you personal happiness and satisfaction. And, as for the lawyers to be, let the 'Rule of Law' be your guide in your professional endeavors. This, and this alone, will save the world…

Axel Heck ‘77Law

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Building a Successful Career


The most valuable thing I learned at Columbia was to ask questions if I did not have a complete understanding of any issue. That has been an immense benefit over my entire career.  On the presumption you know what you want to accomplish - I did not that but knew I wanted to reach high - seek out a mentor.  Someone who has done what you wish to accomplish well and has a strong desire to share that information.  The key in doing that is picking the right mentor - and you need to do some due diligence to be sure you just didn’t find a turkey.  There many who have been successful by mere chance and are indeed turkeys. At your level of experience you could be fooled.  Use your Columbia experience to question/understand and evaluate the individual who is giving the information.  Just don’t be too aggressive about it. 

And while your doing that do not be tempted by high salary numbers.  If you build your career right - creating the corporation of “you” - you will build value.  And, that is a good way to think about yourself.

Lastly, integrity is a must.  Once you ruin your good name, you have nothing.  With that and years of accomplishment you can some day look back and revel in the fact that you did a good job and as good as could be done.  Many can’t make that statement.

Paul A Liberti ‘58CC 

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Strive for Excellence


Strive for excellence, and forgive yourself if you aren’t perfect. Remind yourself daily that you have great gifts to give to others. And do something fun every day!

- Bill Dorsey ‘77CC

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Strive To Be AMONG the Best


Strive to be AMONG the best

- Dr. Bob Goldstein ‘64DOS 

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Be Happy


Find something you love to do it with passion.  Improve those around you with your energy.  Build a better community.

- Betsy Altman ‘59SEAS

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You Have a Lifetime to Accomplish Your Dreams


You have a lifetime to accomplish your dreams and the process won’t be linear. Don’t be afraid to stray from a plan if unexpected (and enticing) opportunities come up!

- Margo Cointreau ‘06GSAS 

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The Greatest Thing You'll Ever Learn


“The greatest thing/you’ll ever learn/is just to love/and be loved in return.”

from ‘Nature Boy’, Nat King Cole

- Kath Donkin ‘90 

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New Grads, Congratulations!!!


Follow your dreams. Enjoy the freedom of living. Travel a lot and learn about the beauty of the world. Be honest and love your profession.

- Marija L. Stojanovski

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Take Some Time to Figure Out Your Priorities


Take some time to figure out your priorities in life, and stay true to them. This will help you live a happier life and feel more fulfilled. Congratulations!

- Julio Herrera ‘12SEAS

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Give Back to Columbia!

You may be too close to it now.  But after a few years, check their website and see if there is a way to help out.  Help is always needed, from monetary, to interviewing prospective students, to mentoring.

As the years go by, the precious nature of Columbia and the education and opportunities it offers becomes clearer, especially when you start seeing the world through the eyes of your kids.  It’s a magical place, so help it along and restore the roar!

- John Cody 

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“Yes, and”


In improv the cardinal rule to follow is that of “Yes, and.” Say yes, and add to the scene and the scene will continue forward without hitch (or perhaps with some comedy). The amazing thing about saying “Yes, and” is that to say “yes” you must actually listen to what your scene partner is saying. You must listen and hear it, digest it, and to “and” you must then respond with acknowledgement that you heard. “Yes, and” puts you and your scene partner on the same page and forces you to need each other to continue forward.

Life can be gone through with tunnel-vision, only seeing what you yourself care about, putting your own thoughts first above others at all times, or life can be a series of yes-ands, where you listen to those around you, hear them, and participate in that world jointly. Though it can be frightening to get to the other side of a yes-and, it is usually the one that is the most rewarding.

EBZ, '02CC

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You Have Just Graduated From the Best School on Earth


You have just graduated from the best school on earth. Use this education wisely and do something really good for the world.

- Ned Cherry ‘70GSAPP

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Congratulations on your graduation and welcome to a large, global family created by our experience at Columbia.

Regardless of where you end up, for work or love, regardless of what you do, for a living or for charity, regardless of your status, as president or personal assistant, when you find a fellow graduate you share the same bond.

We all spent long or sleepless nights at the library, we all know the food places around school, we all cherish the beautiful campus itself, we all are, and make up, Columbia. The infamous real-world won’t be kind, but when the going gets tough remember this bond we share and the good times you had at our Alma Mater.

Tread the waters with joy, we share the journey with you.

- Bessie King ‘10

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Stay Open!


When you feel you are going to close down because things are not going your way, remember you can’t because you have to stay OPEN to all possibilities!

- Barbara

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The year I graduated from Columbia Law School, Barack Obama was graduating from Columbia College.  I never knew he was there in the commencement crowd with me. I always wonder how I could have managed to know him.

- Anne Barschall ‘83LAW

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Gravitate Toward Those Who Ignite Your Light

Gravitate toward those who ignite your light and away from all who try to extinguish it. Let your light shine.

- Lauren D. Ugorji

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Congratulations, Graduates!


A few random suggestions for new grads.

Quick, right now while you are still a student: Find some interesting professional associations and join at the student rate. Sometimes you can lock in a student or new graduate rate for up to two years. While you are paying off those student loans, you will appreciate being connected to a professional network at a lower cost.

Practice some humility. I was rather brash, bull-headed, and optimistic new hire. I didn’t see much further than my own nose, which incidentally was often pointed in the air. Yes. You’re a Columbia grad, Ivy League, yada yada. But guess what? Performance reviews are humbling. I was told that I was too chummy with senior management and that the secretaries thought I was mean. Be kind to your support staff. They work pretty closely with the bosses and really know what’s going on around the office. They can be a great help when you need it. Senior managers appreciate your enthusiasm, your ideas and your support, but remember when they say, “OK. This is how we’re going to do this,” that’s how you’re going to do it. Respect the decision and learn from it.

Stay connected with your fellow Columbians. You’ve made lifetime connections with people who shared a formative experience. Join Young Alumni events in your area. Participate on a committee. Give back through mentoring and class giving. Keep that up and over the years you will expand your network of Columbians you would otherwise never have met. I’ve had some really wonderful discussions at reunions with people who graduated in the 50s, 60s, 70s and often find myself looking for them at the next one.

Most of all, enjoy your day. Congrats. You made it!

Noreen Whysel '90CC

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Follow Your Passion and Believe in Yourself


Follow your passion.  Believe in yourself.

- Todd Lituchy

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Dear Columbia University Graduates


Now that you have graduated from such a prestigious Ivy League institution, it is the time to really be aggressive in your field. Take calculated risks and push for success.

Remember that honesty and integrity are your main ingredients.  

- Brian Tabaroki , CEO, Candelabra Group . M.S. Real Estate Development ‘10

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Never Stop Learning!


You have just had the privilege of learning cutting-edge things at a cutting-edge university. On the other side of that diploma, you’ll have to work a bit harder to stay on top of the information that you may have felt like you were drowning in as a student. Follow your favorite professor’s research now and in the years to come. 

- Debi Spindelman SIPA

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For Those Students Who Are Global...


For those students who are global and interested in humanity and seek contribution for helping society and international business - plant your tree in Africa for starting and developing entrepreneurial business (ground floor career opportunities as oppose to marginal business business in the US - with less economic growth for new generational development of technologies that will require less and less of human skills - machines and computers - do not complain).

Charles L. Fields '72BUS

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Go Out as much as You Can


Life is too short to stay at home!

- Anonymous

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Wear Sunscreen!


Wear sunscreen!

- Anonymous

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Fully embrace new opportunities with confidence and willingness to learn!

- Graduating Year 2014, CSSW

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If You Can Make it Here, You’ll Make It Anywhere…


You’ve survived Columbia and New York.  You can definitely go after your dreams. Continue to work hard (represent your Alma Mater proudly), but remember to have fun and enjoy every day as much as you can.  And when you need help you’ll have the entire Columbia family behind you.  Cheers and congratulations to you all! 

– Jeanelle Folkes, CC ‘05, TC '10

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Money Does Not Solve ALL the Problems


Just remember -

Money does not solve ALL the problems… but it solves MOST of them.

- Anonymous 

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A Little Humility Goes a Long Way


Congrats, grads! Be grateful for the opportunity you’ve had to spend time at Columbia. If you resist the lure of Wall Street, the establishment law firms, and all that, you’ll not only have a happier life but you can enjoy the infinite pleasures of giving back, to repay the world for the privilege of attending and graduating from an Ivy League school. Be humble, and thank your lucky stars.

Bob Dreyfuss, CC 1970

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Keep Involved, Keep Active


Keep involved, keep active with the young alumni community. There are so many places out there for you for, from Columbia college young alumni, to the black alumni council, to Columbia alumni association. Every different special different interest you could be interested, and just keep that network involved because you’ll find so many opportunities come from the great friendships that you not only made in school, but the ones you can make from many generations of former students, as Dean Valentini likes to call them. Congratulations!

–Robyn Burgess ’10CC

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Network and Collaboration


Develop a strong peer group of mentors, remember to networking and embrace lifelong learning.  One discipline does not have all the answers, so inter-professional collaboration is key to problem solving and identifying innovative solutions.  

- W. Montalvo, PhD, RN 

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Bring Rain Gear!

Bring rain gear! Chances of have always been high at graduation. Bring your own rain gear and don’t forget to remind loved ones attending! 

- L. Chou

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Take Path of Learning

When faced with fork of decision, don’t be afraid to go with the one that is less convenient or certain. You can’t go wrong with a steep learning curve. You’ll meet like-minded adventurers along the way. Congratulations!

- E Yuan

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Do Your Best in Whatever You Do and Remain True Blue


Do your best in whatever you do and remain true blue.

Jean Vernon 

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Find What You Love, and Do That


Find what you love, and do that.

- John ’93CC

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Embrace the Unexpected


Embrace the unexpected.

- Ron Meyers ’92CC

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Learn Chinese


Learn Chinese.

– Jermey Dickstein ’88CC

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Take Advantage of All the Interesting Classes


Take advantage of all the interesting classes, as it is a time to be intellectually curious, and to explore and learn. You’ll never have this opportunity again.

– Henry Sackler ’06CC

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Make Sure You Read a Lot About the Industry


Make sure you read a lot about the industry, and figure out as much about the job or particular industry as possible!

- Albanery Roman ’99CC ’08BUS

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Realize How Lucky You Are


Realize how lucky you are. Columbia College is one of the most unique places on earth to learn, you have so much in common with your classmates, and as soon as you leave here you’ll realize how much you’ll miss it.

- Lauren Rennee ’09CC

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Travel the World


Travel the world and see as much as you can while you’re young.

- Ahmet Can ’88CC

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Meet Everyone You Can


Meet everyone you can.

– Carlos Cruz ’88CC

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Follow Your Passion


Follow your passion.

- Jae Lee ‘86CC

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Look for Something You Like to Do


For work, look for something you like to do.

– Andy Gershon ’83CC ’86LW

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Take Risks and Don't Be Afraid


Take risks and don’t be afraid.

- Anonymous

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Hard Work and Perseverance Pays Off

Hard work and perseverance pays off.

– Charles Markowitz ’82CC 

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Do What You Love

Do what you love to do and have fun.

- David Fleiss ’MD75 ’86CC ’88LW

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Be Flexible

Be flexible, and do what makes you passionate.

- John Malcolm ’82CC 

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Always Be Young at Heart

Always be young at heart.

- Anonymous

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Enjoy Every Day That is Before You

Enjoy everyday that is before you, as it offers opportunities. With challenges comes an opportunity.

- Gerard ’83CC

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Enjoy it


Enjoy it.

– John O’Loughlin ’81CC

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Take Advantage of Your Alumni Network


Take advantage of the alumni network as you don’t know how beneficial it is, and the resources provided. So stay connected.

- Jackie Chu ’02CC

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