News | Student Life

Orientation 2013: Who's who around campus

Lee Bollinger

  • Affectionately nicknamed "PrezBo," Bollinger has been Columbia's president since June 2002.
  • Bollinger spearheaded Columbia's expansion into Manhattanville and oversaw the implementation of the eight global centers around the world.
  • An outspoken defender of affirmative action, Bollinger was vocal in the press during the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin trial.


Robert Kasdin

  • Though few students see him around campus, Kasdin oversees the operations of the University, including facilities and finances.
  • Kasdin worked with Bollinger at the University of Michigan, where both of them held posts until 2002.
  • After spending over a decade at Columbia, Kasdin is still Bollinger's right-hand man.


Mary Boyce

  • The first female dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Boyce started in July.
  • Before coming to Columbia, Boyce headed the department of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • As she crafts her vision for the school, Boyce says she hopes to expand Columbia's involvement in the New York entrepreneurial scene.


Debora Spar

  • Since her appointment as president in 2008, "DSpar" has continued to expand Barnard's global reach.
  • Spar has focused on women's leadership during her tenure, creating the Athena Center for Leadership Studies in 2009.
  • Spar maintains contact with students through her fireside chats and monthly book club meetings, which she launched this spring.

James Valentini

  • After Michele Moody-Adams resigned as Columbia College dean in August 2011, Valentini was appointed interim dean the next month and named the permanent dean in June 2012.
  • Valentini has pushed his "3, 2, 1" fund-raising challenge to seniors to donate to the yearly Senior Fund.
  • Valentini's goals for CC have included bolstering alumni relations and creating a horizontal bureaucracy that students can navigate more easily. 

Peter Awn

  • Awn has served as General Studies dean for 16 years. He joined the faculty 19 years earlier.
  • For the past few years, Awn has worked to align the GS Core with the CC Core, expanding the number of sections of Contemporary Civilization and Literature Humanities available to GS students.
  • Awn also teaches a course on Islam each spring, which is highly popular among students. 


Terry Martinez

  • After former Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger left Columbia for Johns Hopkins University, Martinez took on interim duties in June.
  • Martinez plans to bolster hazing education among student groups.
  • Before taking her current role, Martinez was dean of community development and multicultural affairs, a position she held for nearly four years.


Avis Hinkson

  • Hinkson was named Barnard dean in October 2010 after working as the director of undergraduate advising at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Hinkson said she would prioritize issues of transparency and space upon taking the post. She grappled with the housing crunch last fall that resulted in the conversion of singles into doubles in Plimpton Hall. 
  • Currently, Hinkson oversees admissions, the dean of studies, financial aid, health services, the registrar, and residential life & housing.

Daphne Chen

  • After her party ran uncontested for executive board, Chen takes the presidency after serving as Columbia College Student Council's vice president for finance last academic year.
  • Chen said that her goals as president include increasing transparency, making resources more accessible to students, and improving the overall campus experience.
  • Chen also announced in April that the formation of a task force to explore a potential merger between CCSC and Engineering Student Council was in the works.


Siddhant Bhatt

  • The former ESC vice president of finance, Bhatt will serve as Engineering Student Council president this year. He was the only candidate for the post.
  • Bhatt and Chen collaborated in order to extend the hours of the Science & Engineering Library in the Northwest Corner Building during finals after Watson Library barred undergraduates from using the space.
  • Last fall, Bhatt also worked with the Engineering Graduate Student Council to add more amenities to Mudd Hall and on the project to renovate Carleton Lounge.


Madelyn Popkin

  • A newcomer to Student Government Association, Popkin beat out former junior class president Aliza Hassine, BC í14, in one of the few contested student government elections.
  • Popkin said she hopes to coordinate more effective communication between the council and students, encouraging administrators and student officials to reach out to students.
  • Against a backdrop of a push for more gender-neutral restrooms around campus, Popkin also advocated for increased awareness of trans* and gender-nonconforming issues.


Hannah Germond

  • Former first-year class president Germond secured 57.9 percent of the votes for General Studies Student Council president, beating out two other candidates.
  • As president, Germond said she hopes to reach out to underrepresented groups in GS, including students with children and LGBT, international, and Jewish Theological Seminary students.   
  • Germond served as city counselor in her hometown in Indiana before coming to GS. 


This article is part of Spectator's Orientation Issue. You can read the rest of the issue here.

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