By his own admission, most of the time President Barack Obama, CC ’83, spent at Columbia was in the library. So what better way to honor his legacy than by building one just for him?
According to a report in Crain's Chicago Business today, the University is vying to build Obama's presidential library in Manhattan when he leaves office. Crain's Greg Hinz reports that University President Lee Bollinger is "directly involved," and that Columbia "has sent word to President Barack Obama's inner circle that it's prepared to do what's necessary to win the library." He writes:
The school's pitch, I'm told, is that Mr. Obama attended the school, that Columbia is a world-class institution, and that New York might be a good spot not only for the library, but also for the president and first lady Michelle Obama to live after his term ends. Beyond that, raising money should be no problem in liberal New York, one of the wealthiest locations on the planet.
University spokesperson Robert Hornsby gave Hinz a non-denial: "We're not in a position to comment on this." Spec has reached out to Hornsby as well… not that you should expect a better answer than that.
Honolulu (Obama's birthplace) and Chicago (where he worked as a community organizer) are other contenders, with the University of Chicago at "frontrunner" status, according to the Sun-Times. Obama, a political science major, transferred to Columbia College in 1981 after two years at Occidental College in California.
There are still several unplanned sites in Manhattanville. Maybe Obama likes neuroscience and shopping at Fairway?