Welcome to the Office of the Secretary of Columbia University.
Established in 1895, the Office of the Secretary has primary responsibility for facilitating the governance of the University. The office directly supports the work of the Board of Trustees, including the staffing of quarterly board meetings, annual board retreats, committee meetings, and orientation for new Trustees. The office also maintains a directory of trustees and updates the University Charters and Statutes.
In addition, the office oversees the process for selecting honorary degree recipients and the winners of the University Medal for Excellence. The Office of the Secretary also undertakes, from time to time, special projects on behalf of the president and the University Trustees.
Trustees Thank President Bollinger
Earlier today, President Lee C. Bollinger announced that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, his 21st year as president of Columbia University. Lee’s presidency has proven to be one of the most consequential in all of Columbia’s 268-year history. His leadership has had a profound impact on the University and will leave behind a rich foundation upon which a new era for Columbia can flourish.
Building knowledge, creating space for the exploration of new ideas, and examining what is needed for the betterment of future societies are just some of the themes of Lee’s tenure. But at heart he is an educator, and every new building project, academic initiative, and fundraising campaign that he undertook was in service of creating a world-class environment for learning and teaching. Columbia’s four campuses have been transformed as a result.
I Need Help With
Appointment or reappointment of officers of instruction and the terms of appointment are first confirmed in writing by the department chair or dean. They are then subject to approval by the Provost of the University. Upon approval, the Office of the Provost issues formal letters of appointment on behalf of the Secretary of the University.
Obtaining Blue Seal Letters
Blue Seal Letters enable faculty to receive appropriate courtesies for observation and study while traveling; they are addressed to officials in charge of archives, government agencies, institutes of health, and institutions of learning, libraries, and museums.
To obtain a Blue Seal Letter, send a request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Tenure Status
- Travel Dates and Requested Permissions
- Contact Information
Processing takes approximately one week.
Frequently Asked Questions
An official list and official biographies of University Trustees are available on the Board of Trustees page.
Information regarding the process, background, and form for nominating candidates can be found in the Honors and Prizes section of our website.