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University Commencement

Award Recipients


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Honorary Degrees are awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to research, publication, law, science, government, education and literature. Honorary degrees were first awarded by Columbia in 1758. Honorees do not need to be graduates of Columbia University.

The University Medal for Excellence is awarded each year to an alumnus or alumna, under 45 years of age, whose record in scholarship, public service, or professional life is outstanding.

Columbia University will confer eight honorary degrees and one Medal for Excellence at its University Commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 21, 2014:

Alisa Weilerstein
University Medal for Excellence
David Rosand
Doctor of Letters 
Renzo Piano
Doctor of Humane Letters
Robert B. Silvers
Doctor of Letters
Cicely L. Tyson
Doctor of Humane Letters
Natasha Trethewey
Doctor of Letters
Mortimer B. Zuckerman
Doctor of Laws 
Joseph B. Keller
Doctor of Science

David Remnick
Doctor of Letters


For full biographies, please click here.


Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching are awarded to current Columbia faculty who have had a significant influence on the intellectual development of students at the University. These awards recognize teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The 2014 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching:

More information on the 2014 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be announced in mid-Spring.




Alumni Medalists are alumni of Columbia University selected to receive this high honor for their distinguished service of ten years or more to the University - including its schools, alumni associations, regional Columbia Clubs, and University-wide initiatives. The Medal was first awarded by Columbia in 1933.

The 2014 Alumni Medalists:

Mitchell B. Freinberg
1973 BA Columbia College
1977 MBA Columbia Business School
Sabin C. Streeter
1967 MBA Columbia Business School
The Hon. Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr.
1978 BA Columbia College
Frederick Michael Strype
2002 MFA School of the Arts
K. Daniel Libby
1982 BS and 1984 MS School of Engineering and Applied Science
Adam Vane
2001 MA Teachers College
Philippa Feldman Portnoy
1986 BA Barnard College
1990 MBA Columbia Business School
Linda A. Winslow
1967 MS Columbia Journalism School
Donald O. Quest, MD
1970 MD College of Physicians & Surgeons
Virginia Bloedel Wright
1951 BA Barnard College