GS Welcomes Fall 2022 Incoming Students
Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean of the School of General Studies, opened the ceremony by extending a warm welcome to new students, their family and friends in attendance, as well as those watching the livestream online. She highlighted the exceptional nature of the incoming class and the broader GS student body.
"The varied and sometimes non-linear paths that brought you to Columbia GS have involved hard work and determination, challenges you rose to meet, and a desire to open your minds and increase your knowledge. The adaptability, flexibility, and persistence you’ve developed along the way—particularly in this era of the COVID pandemic—have served you well, and will continue to be a hallmark of the Columbia GS student body, of which I am incredibly proud," she said.
Dean Rosen-Metsch then introduced Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia, who spoke to the wisdom of GSers as lifelong learners that embody the goals of the University.
"I admire GS enormously. Its genius is recognizing that academic talent blossoms and flourishes for individuals at different times," he said. "You therefore know better than anyone that learning is an ever-ongoing process."
In his last Convocation address, he reflected on his time serving as President.
"Yes, Columbia has changed, but it is also important to say that its central mission of being utterly and completely dedicated to the life of the mind at the very highest levels, to the discovery and advancement of knowledge, and to the transmission of that intellectual process to each succeeding generation and now to you—that central mission is the same," he said. "This unconditional embrace of the life of the mind we nurture here is unique. Nowhere else in the world will you encounter this way of being."
"I encourage you to set big—even unrealistic—goals for yourself. Let yourself have high aspirations both for knowledge and for doing things," Bollinger said. "It adds meaning to our lives; a sense of purpose."
I admire GS enormously. Its genius is recognizing that academic talent blossoms and flourishes for individuals at different times. You therefore know better than anyone that learning is an ever-ongoing process.
After President Bollinger’s remarks, Dean Rosen-Metsch introduced Amy Hungerford, Executive Vice President of Arts and Sciences, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Ruth Fulton Benedict Professor of English and Comparative Literature.
"Whether you are combining programs across an ocean, taking up new studies to prepare for medical school, or joining Columbia as a new undergraduate who is also an artist, athlete, activist, veteran, returning citizen, public servant, professional, or entrepreneur, your lives have been shaped by an intuitive talent for experiment," said Dean Hungerford.
"As you step into your academic programs, keep those experiments coming. This is your gift. We are thrilled and grateful to have you here."
We prove time and time again that the classroom is far more engaging when GS students, with your diversity of life and academic experiences, are brought together in the classroom with students from traditional backgrounds—to benefit and engage one another intellectually and socially in creative ways.
Dean Rosen-Metsch returned to the stage to emphasize the mission of GS and highlight the various Dual and Joint Degree Programs offered through GS, including those with List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Trinity College Dublin, Sciences Po, Tel Aviv University, and City University Hong Kong. She also welcomed more than 70 incoming students to the Postbac Premed Program.
"Take seriously the fact that the Columbia undergraduate classroom is unlike that at any other Ivy League university because of you and what you bring to the intellectual discourse on campus. We prove time and time again that the classroom is far more engaging when GS students, with your diversity of life and academic experiences, are brought together in the classroom with students from traditional backgrounds—to benefit and engage one another intellectually and socially in creative ways," Dean Rosen-Metsch remarked.
Incoming students next heard from Marlyn Delva, Dean of Students at GS and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health. Dean Delva congratulated students on their remarkable achievements and encouraged them to take advantage of the diverse community and resources available to them throughout their academic career.
"You are joining us at an important moment in history, where there still remains much uncertainty. But we want you to feel certain that we chose you because we believe in you. We chose you because we are convinced of the success you will have. We chose you because it is clear you will enrich our academic discourse. We chose you because of who you are, and because you belong here," she said.
James Colgrove, Dean of the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, also addressed incoming students, welcoming the next generation of healthcare providers to Columbia.
"Your backgrounds are a strength," he said. "There is such a need for the knowledge and skills you will bring to your future careers."
Following Dean Colgrove’s remarks, Dean Delva introduced Arthur Bingham '84GS. Bingham is co-chair of the GS Alumni Association (GSAA) and CEO and chief credit officer at New York Private Finance LLC. He spoke about his time at GS and how his experience protesting apartheid in South Africa outside of Hamilton Hall shaped his view of his peers and the world.
"It is an honor today to represent the GS Alumni Association, which has over 20,000 members around the world," he said. "GS and this University are places with commitment and passion to shaping people and the world around it."
Finally, Emily Robinson, NSOP Chair and General Studies Student Council President, addressed the incoming class. She recounted her path to GS and her time at Columbia, urging students to get involved and to ask for help when they need it.
"Through every bump and hurdle, I have found support and strength in the Columbia General Studies community. This place has pushed me to grow, to step outside my carefully defined comfort zone, and to find a resilience in myself I didn’t know I had. It can do so for you as well," she said.
GS students make up the most diverse student body in the Ivy League, including nearly 70 incoming U.S. military veterans, nearly 50 incoming veterans from foreign militaries, and 110 incoming international students representing over 40 countries. This year, roughly 40 percent of the incoming class are the first in their families to attend college, and more than half transferred to GS from community college. The GS student body also includes professional ballet dancers, librarians, writers, athletes, models, musicians, teachers, designers, gardeners, construction workers, journalists, filmmakers, engineers, entrepreneurs, consultants, and more.
Throughout the remainder of Orientation Week, NSOP Orientation Leaders guided new GS students through social mixers, workshops about campus resources and academic practices at Columbia, and outings throughout New York City. NSOP is instrumental to new students' integration at the University and provides numerous opportunities to meet new and returning students, as well as alumni, before fall classes begin.
An Overview of the Fall 2022 Entering Class
The School of General Studies continues to be one of the most diverse undergraduate colleges in the Ivy League, and this year’s incoming class is no exception.
The presence of GS students creates a truly global diversity of socio-economic backgrounds, age, life and career experience, and perspective in the University’s classrooms.
- 26% of incoming students are international students
- 39% of incoming students are first-generation college students
- 32% of incoming students are eligible for a Pell Grant
- 16% of incoming students are U.S. military veterans
- Undergraduate: 426
- Dual Degree Programs: 253
- Postbac Premed: 74
Age range: 16–85
Students who are married: 23%
Students with children: 4%
U.S. residents hail from 39 states and the District of Columbia
Forty-six countries are represented, including Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.