Reconnecting at Reunion 2014

Jun 30 2014 | By Cliff Massey

Nearly 400 Columbia Engineering alumni returned to Morningside Heights to celebrate Alumni Reunion Weekend, held May 29 to June 1. The weekend—which marked milestone anniversaries for classes ending in 4 and 9—featured dozens of events both on campus and off with fellow classmates from Engineering, Columbia College, and Barnard College.

The weekend kicked off with the Annual Welcome Dinner in Low Memorial Library, where Dean Mary C. Boyce welcomed the School’s Reunion classes back to campus. The Columbia Engineering Alumni Association (CEAA) also presented its three prestigious awards of achievement to Chuck Hoberman MS’85, founder of design firm, Hoberman Associates; University Professor Wafaa El-Sadr; and Ursula Burns MS’82, chief executive of Xerox.

Several events during Reunion Weekend highlighted the extraordinary research being conducted by Columbia Engineering faculty. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, gave a lecture on her revolutionary work on human tissue engineering. Adam Sobel, professor of applied mathematics who holds a joint appointment in Earth and Environmental Sciences, spoke with alumni about his research in understanding the impacts of Superstorm Sandy and predictions for future climate events. On Saturday, James Hone, professor of mechanical engineering, delivered a lecture on his lab’s groundbreaking work with graphene, which has been touted as a “miracle material” due to its extreme strength. At a special ceremony later that day, Hone was awarded the Great Teacher Award by the Society of Columbia Graduates.

Egleston medalist Chuck Hoberman MS’85 returned to campus Saturday afternoon to give the annual Magill Lecture in Science, Technology, and the Arts. His talk focused on the work done by his own Hoberman Associates, a multidisciplinary practice that specializes in transformable design—the development of products, structures, and environments that change their size and shape.

In addition to learning opportunities, Reunion Weekend featured a series of social events. From the Class of 1964 induction into the Golden Lions at the Russian Tea Room to the Young Alumni Party aboard the Intrepid, alumni enjoyed a full weekend of fun and informative activities, reconnecting with one another as well as Alma Mater. Camp Columbia for Kids kept little Lions, ages 3 through 12, busy with sports, arts and crafts activities, movies, and a magic show. Other Saturday evening socials included the all-class wine tasting event, class-specific dinners, and the Starlight Reception at Low Plaza. Alumni and guests enjoyed dessert, champagne, and a live band that performed songs for every generation. The dancing lasted until 2 a.m., when the party broke up—at least until next year.

Alumni Reunion Weekend for 2015 will take place Thursday, May 28, to Sunday, May 31, next year. Classes celebrating a Reunion in 2015 are those ending in 0 or 5. We hope to see you there!