Welcome to the Class of 2023!

Aug 27 2019 | By JESSE ADAMS | Photo Credit: Timothy Lee Photographers

Dean Boyce and the Class of 2023 show off the traditional beanies handed out to Columbia Engineering first year students.

Over their next four formative years, Columbia Engineering’s Class of 2023 will have incredible access to all that the school’s renowned faculty and facilities have to offer, Dean Mary C. Boyce told the packed house of first-years who gathered on August 26 to mark the official start of the academic year. But just as importantly, they’ll also have each other: 327 of their generation’s brightest minds, drawn from 37 countries and 43 U.S. states, collectively striving to confront humanity’s greatest challenges.

The impressive new class assembled at Havemeyer Hall to kick off their undergraduate careers with commemorative beanies, a pledge to uphold the university’s academic code of honor, and guidance from Dean Boyce, distinguished Professors Barclay Morrison, Kristin Myers, and Christos Papadimitriou, and fellow Columbia engineers.

“Welcome to Columbia—it warms my heart to be here this morning to see all of you from across the country and from around the world,” said Myers, who studies the biomechanics of soft tissues and pregnancy and directs the department of mechanical engineering’s undergraduate studies. “This job is incredible, I cannot tell you, I am one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to teach engineering classes.”

Papadimitriou, a leading computer science theorist, echoed the idea that students will find some of their greatest inspirations in problem-solving together.

“I hope you realize that you have never been in such exquisite, select company,” he said. “Your professors will teach you a lot but you will learn much, much more from your peers.”

The incoming class also received advice from alumna Nathalie Torres ’07, director of data and strategy at consulting firm IxCO, and biomedical engineering major Bunmi Fariyike ’20, program manager of the Columbia Engineers Without Borders’ Ghana Project.

“There’s a misconception that your Columbia education only happens in the classroom,” Torres said. “What you do outside of the classroom is also part of your experience here. Some of my most memorable experiences were gained from the things I chose to do with my spare time [that] really shaped the person I am today.”

What you do outside of the classroom is also part of your experience here. Some of my most memorable experiences were gained from the things I chose to do with my spare time that really shaped the person I am today.

Nathalie Torres '07
Director of data and strategy at consulting firm IxCO

Fariyike reflected how rapidly the three years have passed since his own first-year assembly.

“I remember when I was just in your shoes, asking questions like ‘Who am I? Who do I want to become? Do I have what it takes to become that person?’” Fariyike said. “I encourage you to treat every day of this next four years as a new opportunity to make an impact on the world around you, wherever that takes you.”

Whatever expansive challenges Columbia Engineering students decide to take on in whichever wide-reaching areas, Dean Boyce said, they are poised to change the world.

“We’re not just educating engineers, but educating leaders: men and women who will push the frontiers of knowledge, think creatively about old and new problems, and translate their ideas into solutions that will benefit us all,” she said.