King’s Crown Leadership Awards

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The annual King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Awards are given to CC and SEAS students who have "offered outstanding leadership to their communities with exemplary commitment and energy." Put another way, they are given to students who either did a good job running a student group, did the administration's bidding, or sometimes both. Since 2013 awards have been granted in eight categories, with no more than ten students recognized in each category.

The awards were in the shape of King's Crowns and were first given out in September 1904 for the 1903-1904 school year, and then in May1905 for that school year by the King's Crown student organization. For some reason Columbia lists the official establishment date for the awards as 1916 in official literature, such as school bulletins.


There is an annual dinner in late April or early May for all recipients, which is held in the Low Library Rotunda and is in fact quite nice. A few of the annual prizes given to students on the basis of alumni gifts with very specific instructions are presented at this event instead of Class Day. Depending on the nature of the award, recipients also receive a pin, money, a certificate, or some combination of these.


There's a selection committee made up of some of the members of student councils and headed by an administrator from SDA. They vote on individuals after a nomination period. Not all awards are based on nominations from students; those that are not are presumably based on nominations from administrators.

The Awards

There are multiple award types and categories.

Award Categories

  • Principled Action
  • Community Building
  • Columbia Spirit
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Innovation & Enhancement
  • Inclusion & Advocacy
  • Indelible Mark
  • Health & Wellness

Old Award Structure

Prior to 2013, King's Crown Leadership Awards were structured differently.

Crown Leadership Awards

Individual student leaders received recognition based on their contributions to their respective organizations, and in a grade reflecting their tenure with the organization. Awards were granted in Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Copper grades, with winners receiving pins in color of their award grade. One stand-out student leader in each grade of award other than Gold would be given Horizon award recognition.

Organization Achievement

In addition to individual awards, student groups were eligible for organization-wide awards, including the Impact Award, Alma Mater Award, Intergroup Award, Promise Award, and the Best Program Award. The organization award process included interviews by student government leaders and student affairs administrators. For winning organizations, one members could attend the dinner as a representative.

Leadership Legend

Finally, graduating seniors were eligible for "Leadership Legend" awards, with between 5-12 seniors being recognized in the Pioneer, Bridge Builder, and Indelible Mark categories.

In 2009, theCommunity Builder Award for an individual student was founded.

External Links