Many eminent individuals have attended or taught at Columbia College and King's College, its predecessor. They are enumerated more fully in the "List of Columbia College people.
Among those College alumni categorized as "remarkable" by the university during its 250th anniversary celebrations in 2004 were "Founding Fathers of the United States "Alexander Hamilton, "John Jay, and "Gouverneur Morris (author of Preamble to U.S. Constitution, "We, The People"). Other political figures in this group include statesman and educator "Nicholas Murray Butler, New York Governor "DeWitt Clinton, US Secretary of State "Hamilton Fish, South African anti-apartheid leader "Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Chinese diplomat "Wellington Koo, many New York City mayors, including "Seth Low and "John Purroy Mitchel, as well as spymaster "William Joseph Donovan.
Academics listed include philosophers "Mortimer Adler and "Irwin Edman, historians "Jacques Barzun and "Alfred Thayer Mahan, economist "Arthur Burns, paleontologist "Niles Eldredge, drama scholar "Brander Matthews, art historian "Meyer Schapiro and literary critic "Lionel Trilling.
Public intellectuals and journalists, including broadcaster "Roone Arledge, social critic "Randolph Bourne, environmentalist "Barry Commoner, and writers like "Henry Demarest Lloyd and "Norman Podhoretz are also prominent on the list. Major publishers included were "Alfred Knopf, "Arthur Sulzberger, and "Bennett Cerf. Rabbi "Stephen Wise is also considered prominent.
Columbia College graduates recognized in the arts include pianist "Emanuel Ax, actor "James Cagney, musician "Art Garfunkel, composers "Richard Rodgers and "John Corigliano, lyricists "Oscar Hammerstein II and "Lorenz Hart, playwrights "Samuel Spewack, "Tony Kushner and "Terrence McNally, writers "Jack Kerouac, "Allen Ginsberg, "Herman Wouk, "John Berryman, "Thomas Merton, "Clement Clarke Moore, "Ben Coes, and "Clifton Fadiman, screenwriter "Herman Mankiewicz, filmmaker "Joseph Mankiewicz, sculptor "Isamu Noguchi, and violinist "Gil Shaham.
Architects "James Renwick, Jr., "Robert A.M. Stern, engineer "William Barclay Parsons, baseball player "Lou Gehrig, football player "Sid Luckman, and business leader "John Kluge were also Columbia College students.
Additionally, highly visible former Columbia College students in recent years include "President "Barack Obama, former "Attorneys General "Eric Holder and "Michael Mukasey, New York Governor "David Paterson, New Hampshire Senator "Judd Gregg, New Jersey Senator "Frank Lautenberg, former New Jersey Governor "Jim McGreevey, Los Angeles Mayor "Eric Garcetti, Estonian president "Toomas Hendrik Ilves, political advisor and commentator "George Stephanopoulos, actors "Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Jake Gyllenhaal, "Anna Paquin, "Casey Affleck, "Amanda Peet, "Matthew Fox, "George Segal, "Julia Stiles, "Cinta Laura, and "Kate McKinnon, radio personality "Max Kellerman, directors "Jim Jarmusch, "Brian De Palma and "Bill Condon, writer "Paul Auster, historian "Eric Foner, economist "Michael Wolf, the chart-topping alt-rock band "Vampire Weekend, and "Grammy Award-winning R&B singers and songwriters "Alicia Keys and "Lauryn Hill.
Among its alumni, Columbia College can count at least 16 "Nobel Prize winners.
|""||"Wikisource has the text of the 1879 "American Cyclopædia article Columbia College.|