On an October morning, 20 years ago, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger stood on the granite steps of Low Memorial Library before a crowd of elected officials, community leaders, faculty, and staff to deliver his inaugural address. Behind him stood a structure that was symbolic of the institution’s storied history. Ahead of him lay a vision for the future that was illustrative of progress, change, and a deeper connection to the surrounding community.
“Columbia is integrated into the fabric of the neighborhoods and the city,” he shared during his remarks. “We share life with our neighbors and we have great responsibility to them. The university benefits enormously by living amidst such creative and resilient communities.”
The vision that President Bollinger had two decades ago has been realized in many ways: through the rise of the Manhattanville campus that is becoming a hub for free programs and events for our neighbors and the creation of various community-centered initiatives. Among these offerings is President Bollinger’s annual holiday programming, which was expanded and will extend into the New Year in honor of his last year as Columbia president.
Going beyond the annual holiday breakfast—which was hosted at The Forum at our Manhattanville Campus on Dec. 15—Columbia University worked with partners like HCCI, NYCHA Manhattanville, and ARC Central Harlem Senior Center to support turkey drives and Thanksgiving dinners in the local community. The university also teamed up with Harlem-based eateries to provide meals for Uptown residents. After the New Year, Columbia will join forces with local organizations—including the Upper Manhattan Asian American Alliance—to support local programming.
Check out photos below from President Bollinger’s Friends and Neighbors breakfast and grab-n-go meal initiative.