By Scott Etkin
On October 4th, Minouche Shafik will make history when she is inaugurated as Columbia University’s 20th president, becoming the first woman to lead the 250-year-old institution.
While Shafik has been serving in the role since July, this week’s celebration makes it official and is intended to be a “public reaffirmation of the University’s commitment to service, impact, and academic excellence,” according to Columbia’s website.
The two-hour inauguration ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Low Plaza — in front of the iconic domed library — and will include a procession, speakers, and musical performances. President Shafik will also give a speech and be formally installed by the co-chairs of the Board of Trustees, who will present her with the charter and keys to the university.
While seating at the ceremony will be reserved for people affiliated with Columbia, efforts have also been made to open the event up to the public. Columbia is hosting “watch parties” on the Morningside Campus South Lawn (in front of Butler Library), as well as at the Forum, a relatively new building that is part of the school’s Manhattanville campus. A live-stream will also be provided. (Registration and details are available at this link.)
In the week following the ceremony, Shafik will keep with a tradition that started in 1980 by hosting an “Inaugural Symposia” on two topics of global importance (these events are only available to members of the Columbia community). On October 11th and 12th, she will be joined by expert speakers on issues related to human rights and the geopolitics of climate change.
Previously, Shafik was the president of the London School of Economics. A more detailed bio published by WSR is available here.