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Columbia University was first established as King’s College in 1754. It is one of the earliest academies of higher learning. Learning at King’s College was briefly stopped during the American Revolution. Then, in 1784, the college reopened with a new name, Columbia. This name represented our newly birthed nation and the hardships of war that went into earning our independence.


Columbia University played a huge role in the lives of Robert Lax and Thomas Merton. Both Robert Lax and Thomas Merton attended Columbia University during the 1930's. It was here that they met and began their wonderful years of friendship. Thomas Merton originally was studying at Clare College at Cambridge. However, his classes lost momentum and wanted to expand his horizons. From here, he transferred to Columbia University. Merton stayed at Columbia and received his masters theres as well. In 1934, Robert Lax attended Columbia University. While studying here, he met some of the most influential people in his life. Merton and Lax both worked on the entertaining newspaper at Columbia called, The Jester. After Merton wrote a rather mature and humorous article, Lax asked a mutual friend of the two if he knew who Merton was. Coincidentally, Merton asked that same friend if he knew who Lax was.

“History.” Columbia University in the City of New York, www.columbia.edu/content/history.

“Thomas Merton.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, poets.org/poet/thomas-merton.

Biddle, Arthur w.. The Friendship of Robert Lax and Thomas Merton.