Anyone familiar with Columbia College Chicago knows that Manifest is a huge part of graduation week! Manifest is Columbia College Chicago’s celebration of graduate and undergraduate student work in the form of a big festival. There will be over 100+ showcases of different work spread across campus.

Part of the festival involves the Masters Showcase from all the masters programs at Columbia on Thursday. This involves a dinner for the graduate students and their family and friends, with presentations from a few students on their programs and what they have accomplished. My cohort is small, only about 8 people. We all decided we wanted to participate in the Manifest experience together.

The next day, Friday, May 12th, is when Manifest will take place. It starts off with a graduating student parade next to the Student Center around 12:45pm to 1pm. From 1pm to 1:30pm, the Manifest kickoff takes place in the Main Lot between Balbo Dr. and Harrison St. Then a number of showcases, exhibitions, performances, displays, will take place on the Mainstage from 1:30 to 8pm. These are all presented by the student programming board and student organizations. Along with this, Manifresh and department showcases are presented campus-wide at different locations from 2pm to 9pm.

Like Manifest, the Columbia commencement ceremony is known to be fun, unique, lively, celebratory, and different from any other college graduation. I remember last year my undergraduate ceremony involved lively performances from the commencement choir group, which was made up of musicians and singers from different ensembles and choirs across campus. Additionally, it features student and faculty speakers. Now, approaching the same ceremony as a Graduate student, I am excited to do it all again.

This made me curious to look into Columbia’s Mission and Purpose. As stated on the website, Columbia’s purpose is:

  • to educate students for creative occupations in diverse fields of the arts and media and to encourage awareness of their aesthetic relationship and the opportunity of professional choice among them
  • to extend educational opportunity by admitting unreservedly (at the undergraduate level) a student population with creative ability in, or inclination to, the subjects of Columbia’s interest;
  • to provide a college climate that offers students an opportunity to try themselves out, to explore, and to discover what they can and want to do
  • to give educational emphasis to the work of a subject by providing a practical setting, professional facilities, and the example and guidance of an inventive faculty who work professionally at the subjects they teach
  • to teach students to do expertly the work they like, to master the crafts of their intended occupations, and to discover alternative opportunities to employ their talents in settings other than customary marketplaces
  • to help students to find out who they are and to discover their own voices, respect their own individuality, and improve their self-esteem and self-confidence
  • to offer specialized graduate programs which combine a strong conceptual emphasis with practical professional education, preparing students with mature interests to be both competent artists and successful professionals.

After reading through these, I agree Columbia embodies all of these mission statements. And a lot of these are emphasized in the production of Manifest!