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Monday, July 03, 2006

Yes, Mr. President

Two Thursdays ago on the 22nd of June (yes I know I'm a little slow on the posting) I experienced my first Columbia meet and greet.

There was a cocktail party at the Dan hotel in Tel Aviv to welcome the president of Columbia (the university, not the country) on his first visit to Israel. The place was filled mostly with alumni, since that was who the party was primarily for. This wasn't an experience I am used to. For one, business attire is requested. What's business attire?! For me that's my uniform. I don't own any suits or even a single sport coat! I'm not used to the shake-shake, smile-smile routine. I suppose it's something I have to get used to. The president, Lee Bollinger, seemed like a nice guy, but that is based solely on my two and a half minute conversation with him about the weather.

Following the cocktails there were remarks by the president. He spoke mostly about plans to open a new campus and about large donations the school has received. During the Q&A period after, then questions focused on the anti-Israel debacle in the mid east studies department. I felt he responded pretty well to the questions he could answer and nicely dodging the ones he couldn't.

Overall, I enjoyed the evening even if I was sick and had to go into base the following day to guard for the weekend. I could get used to a little shake-shake, smile-smile in exchange for the free food and open bar, but next time someone else is driving.


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