U.S. Presidential Election: Columbia Connections

Barack Obama (CC’83) becomes the first Columbia graduate elected president of the United States.

He joins other illustrious Columbians who went on to run the country at pivotal times during its history: Theodore Roosevelt, who was president from 1901 to 1908, and his cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, president from 1932 to 1945. Both attended Columbia Law School but did not graduate. And Dwight D. Eisenhower left his post as University president in 1952 to become the nation’s 34th president. As an undergraduate, he attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Obama joins a long tradition of Columbians in public service, ranging from signers of the Declaration of Independence to Cabinet members to Supreme Court justices, as well as 15 New York City mayors and 13 governors of New York, including the current officeholder, David E. Paterson (CC’78).

“We note with pride that Barack Obama will not only be the nation’s first African American president, he will also be the first Columbia graduate to occupy the Oval Office,” Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger said. “Senator John McCain is also a member of the Columbia family, as the McCains’ daughter is a recent graduate of Columbia College. We wish him well in continuing his record of service to our country.”

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