Hundreds of Alumni Gather Virtually for Reunion 2020

This year’s first ever virtual Reunion Weekend drew more than 300 GS alumni and guests from all over the world together to reconnect, celebrate, and enjoy new and exciting events.

June 22, 2020

It all began on the evening of Friday, June 5, when alumni and guests, alongside Dean Rosen-Metsch, kicked off the weekend with an unforgettable evening celebrating the talent of GS’s most esteemed performing artists. 

For the second year in a row, GS hosted a Reunion event dedicated to the arts. A Celebration of the Performing Arts at GS was a multifaceted performance of dancers, musicians, and songwriters. Dancers from the Columbia Repertory Ballet and the Columbia Ballet Collaborative performed excerpts from Love Letters and Sonatas, for Lee, respectively, and musicians included Sumar Frejat '21GS, Sondra Woodruff '19GS, and Anna Troy '19GS.

Coming to Columbia, for me, was realizing that high-level academics and really high-level art can coexist and actually feed off each other.

Ellie Frith '20GS

The performances were followed by a talk-back with actress Rachel Ticotin '19GS and Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch '90GS, which explored the path of being an artist in the Columbia community and beyond. Originally from the Bronx, Ticotin began her career as a child in theater. She was one of the founding members of the Ballet Hispánico of New York dance company before she began starring in films such as Man on Fire and Something's Gotta Give. She has appeared on Broadway and television as well, most recently in The Act. Ticotin also co-directs the Rising Stars show at the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts each year. 

Saturday morning’s programming began with 50 guests attending "GS Update: Innovations and Growth of the School," which was hosted by Dean Rosen-Metsch. In addition to highlighting recent innovations and developments at the School of General Studies, Dean Rosen-Metsch discussed GS’s unique international dual degree programs, its thriving military community, and took questions from the audience.

Following Dean Rosen-Metsch's discussion, nearly 100 alumni tuned in to a popular faculty lecture from Dean of the Postbac Premed Program James Colgrove '01MSPH, '04GSAS on the history of pandemics. Pandemics and People: Contagion in the U.S. from Smallpox to Coronavirus drew alumni from all four undergraduate schools and saw high levels of participation and engagement.

The medical and epidemiological calamity of coronavirus has forced the U.S. to confront unprecedented challenges within our lifetimes. These challenges are not new in our country’s history, however, and Dean Colgrove explored the background of such diseases, placing the current health crisis in historical context. The lecture was followed by a discussion that examined the enduring scientific, ethical, and political challenges raised by the current pandemic.

After a break for lunch, GS alumni came together again in the afternoon for a Conversation with Christopher Riano '07GS, Author of Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws. Dean Rosen-Metsch joined Riano for an exclusive conversation about his forthcoming book, which presents the definitive history of same-sex marriage equality in the United States, offering a history of American families, faiths, and fundamental legal and constitutional change in the last half century. The discussion focused on Riano's process in authoring the book as well as current issues that make it so relevant and important to the time we’re living in now.

To view recordings of these events, visit the Reunion page of the GS website. If you have any questions, please contact