Updated, Aug. 31 at 7:27 p.m.: The University just dropped a statement regarding University President Lee Bollinger’s remarks—and the University said it has no formal association with President Barack Obama, CC ’83, yet.
“Lee Bollinger’s comment at Convocation today that he was looking forward to welcoming back Columbia’s most famous alumnus only reiterated the May 12 statement by the Barack Obama Foundation that it ‘intends to maintain a presence at Columbia University for the purpose of exploring and developing opportunities for a long term association’ and reflected no further developments concerning President Obama’s plans,” the statement read.
The White House has also pushed back on Bollinger’s statement, telling Politico, “The President has long talked about his respect for Columbia University and his desire to continue working with them. ... However, at this point no decisions have been finalized about his post-Presidency plans.”
Bollinger said at Convocation this afternoon that he is looking forward to “welcoming back our most famous alumnus ... in 2017.” He didn’t elaborate at Convocation about what type of role or presence Obama will have on campus. We’re checking with Columbia PR, and we’ll update you when we hear back.
The relationship between Obama and Columbia can be defined as “it’s complicated” at best. Columbia lost out on its bid for the Obama Presidential Library earlier this year, but it does expect to get a piece of the pie with some type of presence from the Obama Foundation on campus, according to Bloomberg. Obama has said that he doesn’t remember his time on College Walk all too fondly but did once acknowledge that he went to Columbia by wearing this T-shirt.
Other things that happened at Convocation: Bollinger talked about globilization (as per usual), it was very hot in the tents, and all the first-years couldn’t wait for their parents to leave. More highlights below, courtesy of Twitter and Spectrum's Snapchat.