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Fall 2001

In This Issue:

Annual Fund Climbs

Welcome, Class of 2003

Society of Columbia Graduates Names Great Teacher

Whitaker Foundation Grant to Biomedical Engineering

Distaff Side of Volunteerism

Alumni Briefs

Reunion 1999

Cybernetically Gifted and Water-Resistant

In Class Day garb, from the left, Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award winners Kenneth L. Shephard, Eric V. Siegel, Dean Zvi Galil, Alumni Association President Donald E. Ross '53
Class Day speaker David E. Shaw, and Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award Winner Atle Gjelsvik.

As the rains fell, SEAS students joined with almost 9,000 of their graduating brethren to be presented to University President George Rupp for the awarding of their degrees. In keeping with the times and the day, Dean Zvi Galil presented the class as "cybernetically gifted, Y2K compliant, and water-resistant," whereupon Dr. Rupp conferred the degrees upon the School's Class of 1999.

The class made its presence known so vociferously that their 300 voices more than equaled the shouts of the 1200-member College graduating class. The din would have been even louder had not the exuberance of the class been foiled by Security guards, who confiscated what can only be described as noisemakers more associated with Chinese New Year's celebrations than University Commencements.

The high spirits of the graduates on Commencement Day followed a Class Day celebration the previous afternoon where candidates heard remarks by David E. Shaw, the chairman and CEO of D.E. Shaw & Co., Inc., a global securities and investment firm, and chairman of Juno Online Services, Inc., a leading provider of Internet-related services. At ceremonies held on the South Lawn, on a cloud-filled day that showered rain on the assembled class, faculty, family and friends, Dr. Shaw gave the soggy group good reason to be there. Among his comments: "The greatest failure is a failure of the imagination"; and "Engineering has never been more central to society than now. Capitalize on it, accept the role and enjoy the process."

The Class Day celebration was also the occasion for the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association to honor teachers who have been selected by undergraduate students for their teaching ability. This year's awardees were Atle Gjelsvik, Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics; Kenneth L. Shepard, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering; and Eric V. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

Hassan Sinno, class president, presented a Japanese maple to the School "so our class will be remembered as one that showed love and commitment to its School." In accepting the gift, Dean Galil said: "Its roots will be nourished by Columbia, as were the students who have given it."







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