The University rights its fiscal ship, Columbia College admits women for the first time, the Lions end a 44-game losing streak with a home victory against Princeton, Eric Kandel becomes one of 64 Columbia alumni, faculty, and administrators to win a Nobel Prize, and Columbia 250 begins.

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President William J. McGill

Former faculty member William J. McGill is elected Columbia's 16th president; he is the University's first Catholic president.


The Black Students' Organization is formed at Columbia.


The University returns to financial stability after more than a decade of deficit budgets.

President Michael I. Sovern

Michael I. Sovern is elected Columbia's 17th president. The former law dean and provost is the University's first Jewish president.

Women at Columbia

Columbia College admits women into the Class of 1987; it is the last Ivy League school to do so. Barnard retains its women-only status as per a new agreement with Columbia.

Rockefeller Center

Columbia sells the land under Rockefeller Center to the Rockefeller family for 400 million dollars; the sale effectively doubles the University's unrestricted endowment.

Columbia Trustees agree to sell the University's 39 million dollars in investments in companies doing business in South Africa to protest apartheid; the action had been urged by the University Senate and community groups.

Spectator headline

The Columbia football team's losing streak of 44 games ends with a 16-13 homecoming victory over Princeton.


A seven-year process secures community approval for Columbia to develop property adjacent to the Health Sciences Campus. The site includes the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965.

President George Rupp

George Rupp succeeds the retiring Michael Sovern to become Columbia's 18th president. Rupp had previously presided over Rice University and served as dean of the Harvard Divinity School.

John Kluge

John Kluge (Columbia College 1937) establishes a scholarship program for students from underrepresented communities at Columbia. The Kluge Presidential Scholars Program is part of the largest gift ever received by the University.

Alfred Lerner Hall

Alfred Lerner Hall, home of the new student center, opens; it replaces the demolished Ferris-Booth Hall as the locus of Columbia undergraduate life.

Ongoing renovation of Butler Library is highlighted by the opening of the Philip L. Milstein Family College Library, a digitally sophisticated and inviting study space.

Eric Kandel

Eric Kandel wins the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on the physiology of memory; it is one of five Nobel Prizes won by Columbians since 1998.

September 11 memorial service

The attack on the World Trade Center takes the lives of 41 Columbians.

The Robert K. Kraft Family Center of Jewish Student Life opens.

President Lee C. Bollinger

Constitutional law scholar Lee C. Bollinger is elected the University's 19th president; he previously presided over the University of Michigan and is the first Columbia president to be born and raised west of the Rockies.

The flags of Columbia

The celebration of Columbia's 250th anniversary begins.

Benjamin Cardozo
One of the great legal thinkers in American history, this remarkable Columbian was a spokesman on the relationship between law and social change.
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