Reconnecting at Reunion 2012
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Columbia Engineering enjoyed record-breaking attendance at its annual reunion weekend held May 31 through June 3. With a slew of events that included dinners, cocktail receptions, social outings, and academic lectures, the jam-packed weekend gave alumni—from class years ending in 2 and 7—plenty of opportunities to forge new memories with old classmates and professors.
The fun weekend kicked off with an elegant welcome dinner in Low Rotunda at which the Columbia Engineering Alumni Association Awards were given. The Pupin Medal, Egleston Medal, and Samuel Johnson Medal were presented to three pioneers in science and engineering: Nobel Laureate and University Trustee Emeritus Dr. Harold Varmus ’64SIPA, ’66PS, ’90HON; former Samsung Electronics President Jae-Un Chung BS’64, MS’69; and Bernard Roth MS’58, PhD’63, Adams Professor of Engineering and co-founder of the Institute of Design at Stanford University. (Read the full story here.)
At the Golden Lions Dinner held Friday at the Russian Tea Room, perhaps one of the School’s most devoted alums, Bernard Queneau ’32, was recognized for celebrating the 80th anniversary of his graduation from Columbia. In his speech to the Golden Lions—fellow alumni who have celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation— Queneau talked about his time at the School in the 1930s and on his chosen field of metallurgy.
He shared his career highlights—having volunteered with the U.S. Navy Reserves during WWII and building his professional career thereafter at U.S. Steel for some 30 years, ending up as general manager of quality assurance for the steel giant. He said, “The reason for the overly long story of my life is that we are still in a steel age as well as the World Wide Web of the Internet.” He also thanked Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora for his “great hospitality,” and Columbia University for “the outstanding education” he received. Queneau will soon celebrate another major milestone when he turns 100 on July 14.
At the Dean’s Day Luncheon for all Engineering alumni, the Class of 1962 was inducted to the Golden Lions Society and the Class of 1987 to the Silver Lions Society. In his remarks, Dean Peña-Mora discussed the School’s positive momentum. He talked about faculty recruitment, the jump in admissions figures for both the undergraduate and graduate programs, and the ongoing negotiations with the City of New York to create an institute for data sciences and engineering. (Read the full text of his speech here.)
Delighted to share the good news with alumni, Peña-Mora said in conclusion, “There are many, many more exciting initiatives that are taking place at the School at a breath-taking pace.”
This year, the Magill Lecture in Science, Technology, and the Arts was given by Jeffrey Brock ’91GSAPP of Moneo Brock Studio, lead designer of the Northwest Corner Building. He focused on the architectural design of the newly erected building as well as parts of the building phase.
In addition to the Magill Lecture, reunion attendees also heard from Columbia Engineering faculty at other science and engineering lectures held over the weekend. Associate Professor of Computer Science Eitan Grinspun discussed how cinema and Hollywood uses computers to animate physics, and Keren Bergman, Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering, spoke on “How our Future Computers Will run on Light.” Engineering professors Klaus Lackner and Ken Shepard, and alumnus and NASA astronaut Mike Massimino ’84, also delivered lectures on climate change, the biological sciences, and space exploration.
Other activities over Reunion Weekend included a party for young alumni on the USS Intrepid, a tour of the Museum of Modern Art, the Chelsea Art Gallery Crawl, a tour of the new Northwest Corner Building, and cocktails and dancing on Low Plaza.
Janneth Marcelo BS’92, who returned to campus for her 20th Reunion, enjoyed several events over the weekend with her husband, son, and twin girls. “Camp Columbia was so much fun (for the kids) that one of my daughters cried when we picked them up,” said Marcelo, who now lives and works in Washington, D.C. “I enjoyed the Saturday lunch and lecture. Seeing design diagrams of the Northwest Corner Building’s trusses brought back memories of solid mechanics class! And, it was great to catch up with old friends, especially Ami Dave BS’92, my Engineering Student Council running mate during our junior year … I introduced my family to Koronet Pizza and hauled real New York City bagels home. It was a great time.”
-story by Melanie A. Farmer
Posted:Jun 8 2012