Write Columbia's History
Reflections—An Octogenarian's Recollection
Jeremiah J. Ciancia
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences 1939

Generally speaking, student life at Columbia circa 1935 was quite different from today. My day began with a daily commute from New Jersey at 8:00 a.m. via bus, ferry, and subway to Dean Ballard's College of Pharmacy at 68th Street.

Our freshman class comprised 36 students, all with limited financial resources, and all with unlimited ambition and a serious desire to elevate their lot in a world struggling against the bonds of the Great Depression.

Extracurricular activities were held to a minimum, since our focus was totally committed to a five-day, 9-to-5 regimen with an occasional Saturday to boot! With tuition at $400 and used textbooks for $2.50, we were hard pressed to spend $4 on a Saturday night date. Now, decades later, my thoughts are replete with fond memories of those outstanding teachers who patiently showed us the way to a quality education.

In my 86 years of countless blessings, the Columbia experience remains among the top, and I'm proud to be an alumnus of that grand institution. Although the College at 68th Street is gone, its influence (to paraphrase Norris Clark, S.J.) not only gave me a good living, but indeed, a life worth living.

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