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Courtesy Bruce Gilbert / Columbia University

Honorees at the John Jay awards dinner Wednesday night. From left to right, Julie Jacobs Menin '89; Robert P. Rooney '89; Ron Simons '82, BUS '89; Sara Just '88; and Eric Garcetti '92, SIPA '93.

Five Columbia College alumni were honored at the John Jay Awards dinner Wednesday night.

The John Jay Awards are held annually to pay tribute to alumni who have achieved exceptional professional achievement in their fields. Proceeds from the event go toward the John Jay Nationals Scholar Program, which provides scholarships and special opportunities each year to select first-years in Columbia College.

Columbia College Dean James Valentini announced that the event raised $1.1 million for the scholarship fund.

This year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, CC ’92, PBS NewsHour executive producer and former Editor in Chief of Spectator Sara Just, CC ’88, New York Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Jacobs Menin, CC ’89, Morgan Stanley executive Robert Rooney, CC ’89, and entertainment mogul Ron Simons, CC ’82, were presented with awards.

Each honoree was introduced by a previous award winner and spoke about the personal impact of their Columbia education.

University President Lee Bollinger also spoke about free speech at the event, defending Columbia’s commitment to the First Amendment in light of recent criticisms nationwide about colleges dismissing controversial perspectives.

“I really do believe that this is not true at Columbia or of our students. ... I do not, speaking for myself, see intolerance,” Bollinger said. | @ColumbiaSpec

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