Columbia Joins White House Research Initiative to Advance Equity for Women and Girls of Color

Farah Jasmine Griffin, Alondra Nelson White House Women Equality Columbia University

English and African American Studies Prof. Farah Jasmine Griffin (left) and Dean of Social Sciences Alondra Nelson

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Nov. 13, 2015) — Columbia University has become a founding member of the White House-sponsored Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research, a national effort to engage colleges, universities and other mission-driven organizations in meaningful action to support research and improve public policy regarding women and girls of color. Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies and Dean of Social Sciences for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Alondra Nelson will lead Columbia’s participation together with Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies.

Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls, in collaboration with the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, is hosting a day-long forum on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, focused on empowering and increasing opportunity for women and girls of color and their peers. The Council on Women and Girls also released a progress report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” as a follow up to the 2014 report, and announced independent commitments to close opportunity gaps faced by women and girls, including women and girls of color.

“We are proud to work with the White House in applying Columbia’s deep expertise and commitment to addressing the most challenging issues facing our society including realizing the promise of equal opportunity and social justice,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger. “The new Collaborative to Advance Equity for Women and Girls of Color through Research will have an enthusiastic group of partners at Columbia and we’re grateful that Dean Alondra Nelson and Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin have taken on a leadership role.”

Dean Nelson, an authority on the sociology of science and medicine, is author of the forthcoming book The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome.

“Columbia will be a great partner in this initiative of the White House Council on Women and Girls,” said Nelson. “Ongoing and new research and programming here about women and girls of color will contribute to a critical public policy dialogue about barriers to racial and gender equality and will be a catalyst for change.”

Professor Griffin, an expert on American and African American literature, music, history and politics, is most recently author of Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II.

“Faculty and students across Columbia are already engaged in a range of efforts to advance equity for women and girls of color,” said Griffin. “As part of an iconic and diverse community in New York City, we are in an ideal position to bring not only our scholarship but also our first-hand experience to collaborating with the Obama administration and our academic colleagues around the nation.”

Among Columbia’s contributions to the collaborative will be a conference this coming spring on issues of concern to African American girls organized by Griffin and Carla Shedd, assistant professor of Sociology and African American Studies. The meeting of scholars, activists, artists, and girls will be sponsored by the Office of the President, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Social Science, and the Institute for Research in African American Studies, with support from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality.

Next summer, the Division of Social Sciences will continue a “Feminist Seminar for Girls” launched last summer by Dean Nelson in partnership with the YWCA of New York City.

Eric Holder to Receive Alexander Hamilton Medal


Eric H. Holder Jr. ’73, LAW’76 will be presented the 2015 Alexander Hamilton Medal on November 19, at the Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner, an annual black-tie event. The medal, the highest honor paid to a member of the Columbia College community, is awarded annually by the Columbia College Alumni Association for distinguished service to the College and accomplishment in any field of endeavor.

Eric H. Holder Jr. ’73, LAW’76 served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from February 2009 to April 2015. He has since rejoined the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he had been a partner from 2001 until joining the Obama administration. He is the third-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history and the first African-American to hold that office. Holder is a former University trustee, member of the Columbia College’s Board of Visitors, and member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone PS’88, have three children.

Event Details

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Reception 6:30 p.m | Dinner 7:30 p.m.

Low Library Rotunda, Columbia University

The proceeds from the Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner directly benefit College students by supporting the priorities of Columbia College, including the Core Curriculum and financial aid.


To purchase tickets, please contact Jilliann Rodriguez M’Barki, Director, College Events and Programs, 212-851-7483 by Friday, November 6.


10/17 – BAC Homecoming Celebration


If you have not attended the annual Black Alumni Council (BAC) Homecoming, you are missing the largest annual get-together of Columbia’s Black alumni from all schools and generations.

We hope you can make this year’s event on Saturday, October 17 at Providence in
New York City.

Come for food, cocktails, and conversation—and music and dancing, too! In addition to alumni, there will be many faculty members, administrators, and Black student leaders in attendance.

The BAC looks forward to seeing you.

Date & Time: Saturday, October 17, 7:30–10:30 p.m.
Location: Providence, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

Price in advance:

  • $20 students
  • $50 alumni and guests

Price at the door:

  • $30 students
  • $70 all others

The price includes a buffet dinner, three-hour premium open bar, music, and dancing.
Please note: due to Columbia’s alcohol policy, only students 21 and over may attend.

Alumni of Color Honor Eric Holder


Over two hundred and fifty Black, Latino and other alumni of Barnard and Columbia gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at a surprise party to honor former Attorney General Eric Holder, ‘73CC, ‘76 Law. The event to thank our friend and role model, and the nation’s first African American Attorney General, was coordinated by a large group of Eric’s classmates led by Steven Noah Sims ‘73CC, ‘75SW and Rachelle Viki Browne, Esq. ‘74 Barnard and drew alumni of several generations from across the country, including California, Oregon, Atlanta and New York.

The two-day gathering held at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel included White House tours for early registrants, the Saturday evening surprise party featuring old school favorites and an active dance floor, and an uplifting worship service Sunday morning led by Dr. Marilyn Sanders Mobley, ’74 Barnard, with a stirring sermon by The Reverend Dr. Lewis M. Anthony, ‘74CC.

Chairpersons Sims and Browne thanked the Dean’s Office of Columbia College for its generous support of the surprise party and acknowledged a number of special guests, including Columbia Trustee and Black Alumni Council Heritage Award recipient A’Lelia Bundles ‘76JRN, Director of Principle Gifts at Columbia James T. McMenamin, Jr., The Dean of Barnard College Avis E. Hinkson ’84 Barnard, Barnard Trustee Frances L. Sadler ‘72 Barnard, and Professor Quandra Prettyman, who has taught English and Africana Studies at Barnard College since 1970. The chairs also thanked Cynthia Wood and Barbara Wood Harrison ‘79TC of the Garland E. Wood Foundation for its support of the upcoming Black and Latino alumni reunion planned for summer 2016. Garland Wood, ‘65CC,‘72BUS, was a founder of the Black Alumni Council and recipient of the BAC Heritage Award.

The 2016 Barnard Columbia Jam, as the previous reunions of Black and Latino alumni from the 60s and 70s were called, will take place August 12, 13 and 14, 2016 on the Barnard and Columbia campuses and invites alumni of all schools and years, with participation from students and faculty. Alumni volunteers are organizing The Jam in partnership with Barnard Alumnae Relations, Columbia Alumni Association, and The Black Alumni Council. Registration, reunion hotel, events, and other information will be available in the coming weeks.

For more information email or contact Bruce King ‘74CC, Frances Sadler ’72 Barnard, Wayne Turner ‘77CC, Kevin Matthews ‘80CC or Zachary Husser ‘73CC.


(Eric Holder with event organizers, including Steve Sims on the left)



(Columbia Alumni on the White House Tour)

Sponsor the Purchase of a Custom Stole for a Graduating Senior


We would like to thank everyone who helped make the 2014 Black Graduation ceremony the biggest to date. Last year, we were able to raise enough money to purchase custom graduation stoles for all of nearly 150 seniors who walked down the graduation aisle. This year, more than 120 graduating seniors have already signed up to participate in the ceremony and the BAC has committed to help them raise the funds needed once again.

We kindly ask that you consider purchasing one or more stoles using the link below. The stoles help to distinguish the students from among masses of other graduates and will become cherished keepsake for each recipient.

Thank you for your participation!

To donate click on this link

$25.75 covers the purchase of one stole. Sample design pictured below:


2/18 — 2015 Black Alumni Heritage Award and Scholarship Reception



Join the Black Alumni Council (BAC) and the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) for the 2015 Black Alumni Heritage Award and Scholarship Reception honoring this year’s recipient Roger Lehecka ’67CC, ’74GSAS, Dean Emeritus of Columbia College.

A reception with wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will follow the program.

Please note, you must be 21 years and over to be served alcohol. No exceptions.

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015; 7–9 p.m.
Location: Columbia University Club of New York
15 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-7402

In advance:
$5 students
$30 alumni and guests

At the door:
$10 students
$40 alumni and guests

12/13 — HBCU/Ivy League Collaborative Panel

HBCU Lvy Panel

The BAC is partnering with the Catalyst Network Foundation for a panel discussion with alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and alumni of color from Ivy League schools.

Open to all Junior & Senior High School students in the New York City Metropolitan Area
High School Students come learn about the unique learning opportunities at
Historically Black Colleges/Universities and Ivy League Universities.

Refreshments will be provided
Discussion pertaining to College Experience & Admissions Process
Meet Alumni and admissions officers from

Columbia University, Hampton University, Harvard University, Howard University
Morehouse College, Spelman College, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University!

If you are alum of a school that is participating in the event we welcome your presence. There will be a 20 minute session before and after the panel discussion, where you will be able to engage with the high school students on a personal level an share your college experience.

Date & Time: Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 1pm to 3pm

Location: Jerome Greene Hall, 435 116th street, between Amsterdam and Morningside Drive




12/3 – Race Matters, but Not How You Think it Does: How Stereotypes Affect How We Live, Work, Play and Pray Dr. Valerie Purdie-Vaughns


On Wednesday, December 3, at 6:30 p.m., psychologist Valerie Purdie-Vaughns from Columbia University will discuss the nexus between brain science and narrowing racial and gender disparities in professional, health, and academic settings.

Purdie-Vaughns will examine how stereotypes affect how we live, work, and play. Drawing upon recent neuroimaging studies, she will explore the benefits of offering people concrete, psychological strategies to challenge the stress of discrimination—and how this can lead to improved grades and test scores. Brain imaging tests suggest this holds great promise in reducing health disparities as well.

Purdie-Vaughns is an expert on racial and gender achievement gaps and the use of interventions to improve outcomes. She has presented her research findings at the White House Conference on Education and at Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton Universities, among others.

This talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Register Here
For more information or to register, please call 212-851-2977 or email

Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.


10/25 – Black Alumni Homecoming 2014



Join the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) and the BAC at the 2014 Black Alumni Homecoming—a celebration of culture and achievements by black alumni at Columbia.

Questions? E-mail

Date: Saturday, October 25
7:30–10:30 p.m.
Location: Providence
311 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Price in advance:
$20 students
$45 BAC members
$55 alumni and guests
Price at the door:
$30 students
$70 all others

Price includes a THREE-HOUR PREMIUM OPEN BAR, buffet dinner, music, and dancing—a $100 value!
Please note: due to Columbia’s alcohol policy, only students 21 and over may attend.

TOWN HALL: The Role of Millennials in the Aftermath of Ferguson

Town Hall&Rally

NOTE: We have rescheduled our General Meeting in observance of this important event. We will distribute details on a new date and time shortly.


The Role of Millennials in the Aftermath of Ferguson


Wednesday September 17th

Columbia Law School | Room 104 | 6:30pm

Join the BAC, the Harvard Black Alumni Society of New York (HBASNY) and a Coalition of Columbia Student Organizations for a Town Hall for change.
The Town Hall will be an open forum led by a host of academics, advocacy groups, and community activists to encourage genuine dialogue and tangible action steps, while also fostering a stronger sense of community and comprehension around the issues of activism, police engagement, and change agency in a 21st century context. The evening will include an interactive panel discussion followed by breakout sessions to connect with and engage with other attendees on these issues.

Panel Participants:

  • Jeffrey Fagan, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Ekow Yankah, Professor of Law, Cardoza Law School
  • Whitney Tymas, Director of the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program, Vera Institute of Justice
  • Erica Ayala, Youth Leadership Development Associate, Children’s Defense Fund
  • Brandon Delesline, Multicultural Marketing Consultant

Town Hall Registration: