EPIC Charter


We, members of the faculties of Columbia University, who have achieved the status of emeritus professor, adopt this Charter to serve in the creation of a fellowship of retired tenured academics, researchers, and administrators of Columbia University to be known and recognized as EPIC.

Formation of this fellowship signifies our shared commitment to Columbia University and its goals. As teachers, researchers, and administrators, we have guided generations of students in the enriching process of their education. EPIC constitutes a renewed pledge of loyalty to that calling to which all of us have devoted major parts of our lives. It is also at the foundation of our continuing relation to the University and readiness to provide continuing services where appropriate in furtherance of our common purpose.

Article I. Founding and Origin of the Organization

At the instance of Professor Emeritus of Physics Samuel Devons, a group of professors emeriti of Columbia University met on a number of occasions, beginning with a large conference at the Faculty House of Columbia University on Columbus Day 1998 and several times during 1999, notably on September 24, when emeriti met with President George Rupp at the Faculty House and then adjourned to Arden House to plan the future role and activities of a fellowship of emeriti. At Arden House a proposal was adopted to give formal standing to the fellowship through adoption of a charter that would provide recognition within the University community. The name agreed upon for this fellowship was Emeritus Professors In Columbia (EPIC). A working draft of this Charter was adopted by a majority vote of the Emeritus Professors In Columbia on the 25th day of January 2000. Under the leadership of its founder, Samuel Devons, a program of scholarly lectures and social activities was conducted over the next years. At the 2004 annual meeting at Faculty House, new officers were elected. By acclamation, Samuel Devons was named and elected Founder and President Emeritus. Seymour Topping, SanPaolo Professor Emeritus of International Journalism, the former managing editor of The New York Times and Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes at Columbia, was elected President. Professor Maristella Lorch, founding Director Emerita of the Italian Academy, was elected Vice President from the Morningside campus and Joseph A. Buda, Clinical Professor of Surgery Emeritus, was elected Vice President from the Health Sciences campus. James W. Kuhn, Courtney C. Brown Professor Emeritus of Business was elected Secretary/Treasurer. Elected to the Steering Committee were Professors Emeriti Henry F. Graff, Robert L. Belknap, Myron Winick, and Paul D. Carter, a former senior administrator in the Office of the President. Addressing the meeting, Henry Pinkham, Arts and Sciences Associate Vice President for Graduate Education and Research, rendered recognition of EPIC as a part of Columbia University and pledged cooperation. Meeting on the 13th day of January, the Steering Committee by unanimous vote amended the Charter in keeping with current needs and programs of the fellowship.

Article II. Purposes of the Fellowship

Section 1. Social and Professional Association

To establish and maintain a social and professional association of persons who share the common experience of long academic careers as members of the University, and a profound commitment to their cultural, scientific, or professional fields. In their commitment to the University they also see an opportunity for the fellowship to provide further service to the University whenever their backgrounds as former professors, researchers, or administrators of the University render them suitable. Such contributions to the University could include service as mentors to incoming junior or visiting faculty and students, special lectureships as may be appropriate in keeping with University practices, availability as expert consultants to the media, and service to the community at large on behalf of the University.

Section 2. Channel of Communication

To serve as a channel of communication between the members of EPIC, individually or collectively, and the administration of Columbia University. Such communication may involve matters affecting health insurance issues and the utilization of teaching and research experience. This service would be offered in compliance with University statutes and practices without derogation of any other available communication between members of EPIC and the University.

Article III. Membership

Section 1. Eligibility

The following shall be eligible, subject to an examination of credentials by the Membership Committee:

  1. All persons who hold the title of professor emeritus in accordance with the statutes of Columbia University.
  2. Retired tenured professors and researchers as well as administrators of Columbia University and its affiliated institutions, Barnard College and Teachers College, who request membership and who have been involved with academic programs.

Section 2. Dues

Dues. The Steering Committee each year shall determine the annual membership dues required to fulfill budgetary requirements. Only dues-paying members shall be entitled to EPIC privileges and listed in the directory of fellows.

Article IV. Officers

The officers of the fellowship shall be a President, two Vice Presidents, one drawn from the Morningside campus and the other from the Health Sciences campus, and a Secretary/Treasurer. The officers shall be elected for a one-year term and shall continue to serve until a successor is elected. Election shall be by vote at the annual meeting or, at the discretion of the Steering Committee, by mail ballot. All officers are eligible for reelection. The functions of the officers shall be as prescribed by the most current issue of Robert's Rules of Order, unless different duties are prescribed for such officers by the vote of a majority at an annual meeting, or by mail vote.

Article V. Committees

Section 1. Steering Committee

The principal committee of EPIC shall be the Steering Committee, which shall consist of the officers of the fellowship and four additional members to be elected at the annual meeting. It shall determine agendas for the general meeting and any other meetings which it may deem necessary to call to fulfill the purposes of the fellowship. The Steering Committee shall act on behalf of EPIC between annual meetings, unless instructed otherwise by the membership, and also as the continuing liaison with the University administration. The Steering Committee may create subcommittees and may delegate any of its powers, functions, and duties as it finds appropriate. In the event of a vacancy on the Steering Committee, a successor to serve for the unexpired term shall be selected by the remaining members. The Steering Committee shall meet at the beginning of each academic year to plan for the general meeting and the conduct of business for the year.

Section 2. Membership Committee

There shall be a membership committee, consisting of three fellows, appointed by the Steering Committee. The committee shall rule on all questions relating to eligibility for membership, subject to the approval of the Steering Committee.

Section 3. Nominating Committee

The Steering Committee shall appoint a Nominating Committee of three members who shall nominate members of EPIC for election as officers and as members of the Steering Committee. Nominations may also be made from the floor or by mail. When there is more than one candidate for any position, the election shall be by ballot. The terms of officers and of members of the Steering Committee shall begin the first day of the month following the annual meeting at which they were elected. The date and place of meetings for the election of officers and for the vote on any other issues shall be included in the announcement distributed at least one month in advance.

Section 4. Records and Files of the Fellowship

The files of EPIC, including address lists and membership information, as well as minutes and agendas of meetings, and records of other determinations by the Steering Committee or the membership, shall be maintained by the Secretary/Treasurer and the Office Manager. Where feasible, the files shall be stored in the EPIC Office presently located in Faculty House.

Article VI. Amendments

The Charter may be amended by a two-thirds vote of all of the members voting at a general meeting of the fellowship or voting by mail. Any member may propose an amendment by submitting it in writing to the Steering Committee which shall determine whether it is appropriate in terms of the general purposes of the fellowship.