How will President Obama address his Columbia University class without a teleprompter?
The Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper reported that Bollinger made the announcement at convocation but that he didn’t elaborate on what type of role Obama would have on campus.
The university late on Monday clarified that Bollinger was not making a big reveal.
“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.”
White House deputy press secretary Jen Friedman also rolled back the idea that big news was being made, saying in a statement, “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’s comments generated big buzz on social media, with students tweeting the news.
Obama has plenty of connections to Columbia, including having graduated from the school in 1983, and has long been said to be considering some sort of role there. And as referenced in the Columbia statement, Martin Nesbitt, the chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, has said that officials were impressed by the school’s “intellectual assets” and would explore a partnership with the university.
Also, Michelle Obama and daughter Malia earlier this year were spotted touring New York campuses, including Columbia.