Sign of the Times: A Lonely Graduation Photo

Amy Mosedale caught this telling moment in front of Butler Library at Columbia University as the sun set on Tuesday. A lone graduate posed on a pedestal in front of the library.

It’s not yet clear if Columbia will resume full in-person classes next year. The latest message from Columbia President Lee Bollinger said the academic year will go on in 2020-2021, but it’s not clear in what form:

“It is true that in a crisis, such as the one we are now experiencing, the almost incomprehensible variables and uncertainties that characterize the moment often make definitive decisions unwise. That said, I want to affirm that Columbia will be proceeding with the 2020-2021 academic year. Over the next two months, I and others will write with more detail about how we will do that. I have no doubt, however, that whatever form our pursuit and application of knowledge takes we will be called upon to manifest a steady and determined effort and to achieve the highest levels of creativity we can summon. We are open, but we are and will be open in new ways, including those we have not yet discovered. Some of what we will do will be new but will change back when normality returns, and for good reason, because these activities and practices have been developed and refined over centuries. I’m thinking here especially of the art of personal intellectual discussion. Other things, however, we will invent afresh, and keep, and the Columbia decades from now will be richer for them. You will hear from me soon about ideas that are emerging.”

Graduation would have been on May 20 this year.

SCHOOLS | 3 comments | permalink
    1. BronxBoy says:

      That pedestal is called the Sundial. There used to be a huge ball on it that threw a shadow.

    2. jd says:

      Gee, that sucks. You worked so hard. Paid all that money, and probably still own money. Yet, no proper graduation.

    3. Marcia says:

      A disappointing conclusion to an otherwise wonderful college experience. Yes get creative and do something positive with those gowns!! Like graduation masks for students with college logo and then offering the extra material to make gowns for our health care workers who are using inadequate protection! And the gowns would be washable to reuse!!