Columbia U. Gets Its First President in Obama

It's taken two and a half centuries but Columbia College, one of the oldest in the nation, finally will have a president who will be the first Columbia graduate to occupy the Oval Office.

And if the transition chatter is accurate, Barack Obama will choose as his attorney general Eric Holder, another graduate of the 254-year old Ivy League college on New York's Morningside Heights.

Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, who attended what was then called King's College, were secretary of the treasury and chief justice in the nation's early years. But having a Columbia graduate become president has taken a very long time.

"We note with pride" Obama's election, university president Lee G. Bolinger said in an elated statement the day after the presidential returns were in. "We are reminded of the university's core commitment to public service and its tradition of producing outstanding leaders for our nation and our world," he said.

Bollinger also pointed out that New York Governor David Paterson is also a Columbia graduate.

Holder, meanwhile, would succeed Michael Mukasey, like him a native of The Bronx and a Columbia College alumnus.

Columbia College is part of the larger Columbia University.