The Class of 2017 celebrated Commencement on Wednesday, May 17, becoming the 100th class to graduate from Columbia Business School.
The event marked an important milestone in the century-long history of the School, which opened in 1916 with 61 students in a one-year program. Founded during a period of profound economic change in America, the School fulfilled the vision of Columbia University’s trustees to create an institution that would prepare business leaders for the increasingly complex challenges of the emerging era. Today, that vision is more relevant than ever in a constantly changing, dynamic global business environment; operating from the very center of the business world in New York City, Columbia Business School remains an authority on the intersection of theory and practice.
“Celebrating the Centennial has provided the School with the chance to recognize our illustrious past accomplishments and acknowledge the crucial contributions that members of our community have made in our first 100 years,” Dean Glenn Hubbard said. “But even more importantly, it has helped us look to the future in anticipation of the new ways we can impact not just business, but the world.”
Around the globe, alumni, students, faculty members, and administrators have been commemorating the Centennial since August 2015 with celebrations, conferences, and other event programming, attracting thousands of participants. Among the key events was the Centennial Showcase series led by Hubbard, which took place in 15 cities around the world, including London, Mumbai, San Francisco, São Paulo, and Tokyo. The Centennial Symposium, held on Campus on May 2, 2016, commemorated the School’s landmark achievements over the past century while challenging thought leaders in academia and industry to look to the future. Panels focused in particular on management education, global business, and the crossroads of business and society.
The dedicated Centennial website, featuring congratulations from such esteemed alumni as Warren Buffett ’51 and Henry Kravis ’69, includes several videos capturing the Centennial celebration, as well as stories about illustrious alumni and a timeline of the School. In addition, excitement around the Centennial resulted in an outpouring of financial support, with donors contributing more than $100 million last year.