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CUSP Structure and Staff

Senior Assistant Dean, Student Affairs
Director, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program 

Born and raised on the Columbia campus, Lavinia Lorch earned her B.A. summa cum laude from Barnard College as a Senior Scholar and her PhD in Classics from Columbia University where she taught both Latin and Literature Humanities. Lorch’s teaching career includes Latin and Greek at Vassar College and French at New York’s New School for Social Research as well as language and literature classes in several private city high schools. She is the recipient of the Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship for Greek Studies, the Lawrence H. Chamberlain Fellowship, the President’s Fellowship, the Murray Fellowship for the Humanities, and the Mary Allison Prize for General Excellence in Scholarship. She has published on Euripides as well as Ovid and Dante, has translated poetry from Greek, Italian, and French, has lectured both in the States and abroad, and played the lead role in Euripides’ Medea performed off Broadway in ancient Greek. In 2008, in recognition of her contribution to French education, the French Republic bestowed on her the honor of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Lorch’s academic interests lie in relating and applying the lessons of classical literature and philosophy to real world issues.

In the Fall of 2000, Lorch was hired to design, implement, and direct the Scholars Program at Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Until 2005 she also directed the university’s Fellowships office which prepares and advises students for prestigious national fellowships. Lorch’s previous experience in educational administration includes ten years working in New York City's private school system, specifically in bilingual bicultural settings. She served as the founding Headmistress of La Scuola New York (now La Scuola d’Italia), and later worked at the Lycée Français de New York as Director of the English Program, Director of Admissions, and Academic and Administrative Director. Believing in the philosophy of educating the complete individual, Lorch focuses on implementing interdisciplinary projects and paracurricular programs in collaboration with colleagues and professionals in diverse fields.  

Lorch spends weekends at her Catskills New York farm with her husband, Michael van Biema, and their children, Fiamma and Tristan, raising a barnful of animals including llamas, alpacas, a donkey, peacocks, and chickens.

Chanda E. Bennett, Ph.D. (
Advising Dean, Center for Student Advising
Assistant Director, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2562

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.