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Columbia Spectator Staff

In celebration of the University's 250th anniversary,Spectator is ranking the 250 greatest Columbians through the ages, from number 250 to number 1. The project will culminate with the selection of the single most influential alum in May.

130 - Edward Cecil Harris, GS 1971

A pioneer in his field, Harris is memorialized as an archaeologist through the name of the standard methodology for organizing data from archaeological digs: the Harris Matrix. The matrix, which Harris developed as his doctoral thesis in 1973, allows scientists to order the artifacts and events of a particular site by date. A native of Bermuda, Harris spent much of his life in England and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999.

129 - Eileen Ford, BC 1943

A leading executive in the modeling industry, Ford discovered some of the world's most beautiful women, including Sharon Stone, Christy Turlington, Brooke Shields, and Jane Fonda. In 1946, she and her husband Jerry founded the Ford Modeling Agency, which has grown to become one of the most prestigious in the world.

128 - John Corigliano, CC 1959

Corigliano is one of the preeminent contemporary classical musicians. His lyrical music written for the theater, film, chamber groups, and orchestra, has been hailed as distinctly American and intentionally accessible. In 1999, Corigliano won an Academy Award for his score for the The Red Violin, and in 2000, he won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his Symphony No. 2. He currently teaches composition at Juilliard.

127 - Katherine Boo, BC 1988

In 1999, Boo, a Washington Post reporter, shocked the nation with her portrayal of inadequate care facilities for Washington, D.C.'s mentally retarded population. She went on to win the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for public service--along with a host of other major journalism prizes--for the piece, earning her a spot among America's best investigative reporters. She also won a MacArthur "genius" grant in 2002 to support her work over five years.

126 - Peter Barton, GS 1972

Barton left a position as a top aide to New York governor Hugh Carey in 1979 to attend business school. He never looked back to politics, joining cable company Tele-Communications, Inc., where he would define his career. He served as president of TCI's Cable Value Network, which later became the QVC home shopping network. Later in life, Barton founded the prominent consumer watchdog group Privacy Foundation, which he funded with his fortune made from his days at TCI.

125 - David Horowitz, CC 1948

One of today's most controversial political and social commentators, Horowitz is a former anti-war activist who became disenchanted with the left and helped found the neoconservative movement. He is the author of several books and the editor of Front Page Magazine. Horowitz has been an outspoken opponent of racial preferences and speech codes on college campuses, and he has recently made headlines for his Academic Bill of Rights, a controversial bill in Congress that seeks to ensure ideological diversity in academia.

124 - John Clellon Holmes, CC 1949

When he was an undergraduate at Columbia, Holmes made friends with Jack Kerouac, CC 1944, and Allen Ginsberg, CC 1948, and he soon became a "sometime member" of the literary movement that would come to be known as the Beat Generation. In fact, Holmes himself coined the term "Beat Generation" in a 1952 New York Times Magazine article (Kerouac had actually invented the term four years earlier when Holmes had asked him to describe their generation). His most famous novel, Go, involved characters who were based on Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady.

123 - Mark H. Willes, CC 1962

Willes, who began his career as an assistant professor of finance at Wharton, went on to become an important business leader in a variety of fields. He served as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1977 to 1980, and then switched to the private sector and joined General Mills, Inc., where he eventually became vice chairman. In 1995, Willes became chairman, president, and CEO of Times Mirror, and he served as publisher of the Los Angeles Times from 1997 to 1999.

122 - Atoosa Rubenstein, BC 1993

After working for Cosmopolitan magazine for four years, Rubenstein developed the idea for a teen version, and had become the editor-in-chief of CosmoGIRL! by age 26. She soon doubled the magazine's circulation and turned it into a major competitor on the market, then left to take on the biggest brand in the business: Seventeen magazine. Rubenstein has been listed as one of America's most influential figures in business.

121 - Robert C. Merton, SEAS 1962

Just one day after enrolling in Columbia College, Merton switched to the engineering school. The son of former University Professor and distinguished sociologist Robert K. Merton, the younger Merton studied engineering and mathematics and later earned a Ph.D. in economics. In the early 1970s, Merton was one of three scholars who developed the mathematics of stock options. In 1997, he won the Nobel Prize for economics for developing a new method of determining the value of derivatives.

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