Columbia Journalism School
  • Alum15_1
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  • At the J-TEN reception for Alumni Weekend 2015.
  • At the J-TEN reception for Alumni Weekend 2015.
  • At the J-TEN reception for Alumni Weekend 2015.
  • At the J-TEN reception for Alumni Weekend 2015.
  • Alum15_1
  • At the J-TEN reception for Alumni Weekend 2015.

Alumni and Friends


More than 530 alumni returned to campus over two days to attend workshops and reconnect with former classmates, making this our most well-attended Alumni Weekend yet. Visit Facebook and Google+ for more photos of the weekend. 

Several awards were presented during the weekend for distinguished work in journalism and service to the school. Here are excerpts of some of the remarks by winners, and a link to videos of their speeches or presentations:


Innovator Award Recipients, Walt Mossberg ’70 and Kara Swisher ’85, founders of Revere Digital, which produces Re/code tech conferences and website

Kara: "We changed the nature of tech conferences, to make them interesting, newsworthy, entertaining."

Walt: "No one can show slides. There’s no podium. No one can speak from a prepared text, and we do not do panels.No six-person panel where everyone gets five minutes."

Kara: "He told Bill Gates he couldn’t use Power Point, which was fantastic."

Walt: "More difficult was telling Steve Jobs he could not use the 50 slides he brought."




Raney Aronson-Rath ’95, Alumni Award winner
"My year at Columbia was life-changing. Professor Topping was wise and my RW1 professor, the infamous Professor Dick Blood, changed my life. Talk about a strong and tough editor. His insistence on facts and fairness taught me discipline and a keen sense of telling the truth as a reporter. I carry those values with me to this day." Video



Margie McBride Lehrman ’70, Alumni Award winner
"It’s unusual for people who work behind the scenes to be recognized. For me, this is a huge honor, because it comes from my peers, because it comes from this school that helped change my life, and because it recognizes behind the scenes work…  To work behind the scenes often means your parents don’t have a clue what you do." Video


Jeff Gottlieb ’80, Alumni Award winner
"Regardless of the format, though, great journalism remains based on thorough reporting, clear writing, original thinking and uncovering what powerful people want to keep secret. All I could think of when I was writing this speech was, please, clear vivid writing, no cliches, no redundant words, because Norman Isaacs and Roland Miller and Irv Horowitz and Spencer Klaw would kill me if they heard anything else." Video


Irena Choi Stern ’01, Alumni Award winner
"The alums, I answered without hesitation (when asked recently what she liked best about her job).  It was you who made my job so enjoyable and so rewarding. Without a doubt you are the most interesting, intelligent, worldly and well-informed group I’ll ever come across in my lifetime." Video


Wayne Dawkins ’80, the Dean’s Medal
"Professors “Pete” Johnston and Phyllis Garland profoundly shaped my daily journalism, and now teaching career. . . . Both journalists-turned-academics were rigorous editors. My writing assignments were autopsies, soaked in red ink. Yet both professors edited with love. They were committed to excellence." Video


Eve Orlans Mayer ’52, the Founder’s Award
"Growing up, I awakened every New Year's Day to see my father at his desk writing checks in a big ledger.  It was before our era of planned giving and the daily barrage of mail.  He didn't wait ever to be asked.  He knew of a need.  Or anticipated one.  And he shared.  Moderate checks.  We weren't rich." Video


Paul Neely ’70, the Founder’s Award
"I have supported the Graduate School for two reasons: The past, and the future. The past, it gave me a great head start into my life in journalism. I owe it a debt for that, and I try to pay off my debts. For the future, this school has been the gold standard for not just journalism education but for journalism … It takes metaphorical gold to support a gold standard. I believe in this kind of place, I want Columbia 45 years from now still to be regarded as the place that does it right and gets it right." Video




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