Archive for fun facts

SIPA Fun Facts

Think you know everything about Columbia’s esteemed School of International and Public Affairs? So did we, until we decided to compile a list of fun facts about our beloved graduate institution. Here are some things we bet you didn’t know about SIPA and its storied history.

  • SIPA was originally named the School of International Affairs.
  • For the first SIPA class, the admissions requirements included “a distinctly superior undergraduate record and a better-than-average performance on the Graduate Record Examination.”
  • In its first year, SIPA tuition was $600 a year.
  • Max Abramowitz, the designer  Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and oversaw the design of the United Nations, was the architect for the SIPA building still used today.
  • The [International Affairs] building was dedicated on October 21, 1971. But not everyone was happy about SIPA’s new home; its construction led to the demolition of a row of brownstones inhabited by 300 tenants.
  • The Masters of Public Administration program was established in 1977.
  • In 1981, the school decided to officially change its name to the School of International and Public Affairs.
  • In 1992, the program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM) was created.
  • Following the 9/11 attacks, SIPA faculty and students organized campus-wide programs to help with the recovery effort, including coordinating volunteer translators and garnering support for affected families.
  • Today, the school has approximately 1,100 students, 18,000 alumni living in 155 different countries, and almost 70 faculty members.
  • The current student age ranges from 20 to 55.
  • More than half of the student body is comprised of international students, hailing from 95 different countries.
  • Two of the nation’s most high-profile mayors are SIPA alumni. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio graduated in 1987, while his Los Angeles counterpart Eric Garcetti graduated from the program in 1995.
  • Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins teaches a class on public policy for MIA/MPA students.
  • Madeleine Albright received a certificate from SIPA in 1968.
  • Today, job titles of SIPA alumni include the Wall Street Journal’s Moscow Bureau Chief, the Director of International Strategy at Twitter, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, the Executive Director for the Michigan ACLU, and the Minister for Finance in Mongolia.
where it all began

Where it all began: SIPA Class of 1948



"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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