Updated, May 1, 11:55 p.m.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, GS '97, will address graduates at the School of General Studies Class Day on May 19.
Brewer, who was announced as the speaker in an email from GS Dean Peter Awn on Thursday, became borough president in January after winning last November's municipal elections. She previously served as the city council member representing the Upper West Side from 2003 to 2012.
Brewer graduated from Columbia with a Bachelor's in Arts and majored in urban studies. She completed her coursework part time while balancing a full time job. In 2002, Brewer returned to Columbia to teach a colloquium in urban studies at the School of International and Public Affairs.
Some students interviewed Thursday said they did not know who Brewer was or what the position of borough president was, but said the appreciated the choice.
"I think it's an interesting choice," Peter Nason, GS '15 and GSSC president-elect, said. "I guess when you think of class day you think of someone you know of ... I guess I'll have to do some research to see what made her pertinent to GS."
The announcement also named Ido Haimi, GS '14, as this year's valedictorian and Gabriel Jackson, GS '14, as this year's salutatorian.
Haimi, who served in the Israeli Defense Special Forces as a soldier and then as a commander, majored in biochemistry at GS. He currently serves as special agent at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, a teaching assistant, and a co-instructor of Methods in Biological Research.
After graduation, Haimi will attend Yale University School of Medicine. He is a member of the GS Honor Society and the GS Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
Jackson, a native of Northern California, is studying human rights at GS and plans to attend law school after graduation. He served as a research assistant for Dinah PoKempner, an adjunct professor of political science and general council for Human Rights Watch. He is also a member of the GS Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa.
Maia Bix contributed reporting.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated that GS Class Day was on May 21. It is actually on May 19. Spectator regrets the error.