NEW YORK—Columbia Athletics announces the launch of a new branding campaign #OnlyHere which focuses on the assortment of advantages to the student-athlete with emphasis on its extraordinary location in world-class New York City, unparalleled academic and career opportunities, an elite-level athletic performance program and “built to win” foundation in facilities and personnel. This announcement is the first of a five-part series over the next month that will illustrate and emphasize the #OnlyHere campaign.

The #OnlyHere branding campaign centers around two principles of Columbia Athletics: its vision statement of a “unique student-athlete experience combined with the most supportive Athletics Department in the Ivy League” and the department’s overall mission: “to maximize the opportunities for our student-athletes to reach their highest levels of achievement, here at Columbia and for the rest of their lives.”

“#OnlyHere encapsulates everything we provide a student-athlete at Columbia,” Campbell Family Director of Intercollegiate Athletics & Physical Education Peter Pilling said. “What Columbia offers in the world of college athletics is unique. #OnlyHere at Columbia can a student-athlete experience an Ivy League education, compete on the largest stage and under the brightest lights for conference and national championships, engage in the most diverse and international-centric university in America and take advantage of the cultural and career opportunities that the greatest city in the world has to offer.”

As part of this initiative, Columbia Athletics has launched a newly designed website, new signage in its athletics facilities, refreshed athletics wordmark and the introduction of its new social media hashtag #OnlyHere.

#OnlyHere refers to four brand pillars essential to Columbia Athletics’ success:

Extraordinary location in New York City

With 31 varsity sports, Columbia Athletics is the largest NCAA Division I athletics program in New York City and the only NCAA Division I sports program in Manhattan. A beautiful and peaceful campus in the heart of New York City, Columbia offers the most diverse student body in the Ivy League. Located in the City’s Upper West Side, Columbia is at the center of global career opportunities and the best culture in the world.

Unparalleled academic and career opportunities

One of the world’s leading universities, Columbia Athletics offers elite level student-athletes the ability to compete for and win Ivy League titles and NCAA Championships. Its unique Core Curriculum inspires independent thinkers, connects past and present students and mentors and prepares undergraduates for any career. New York City is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state in the United States.

Elite level athletic, academic and career performance program

Columbia Athletics offers student-athletes an elite-level Center for Success & Well-Being. With an experienced and talented full-time staff of strength & conditioning coaches, access to world-class Columbia University doctors and medical facilities and an in-house team dedicated to championship level performance with focus on sports nutrition, mental training and leadership, Columbia student-athletes are prepared to succeed on the field, in the classroom and in life. Each student-athlete also has a Four-Year Action Plan for career development and access to top-notch alumni networking.

Built to win foundation in facilities

Columbia Athletics has positioned itself with elite-level coaches and top-notch facilities in the Campbell Sports Complex and the brand-new Bubble at Baker. Two multi-sport facilities in the Dodge Fitness Center and the Baker Athletics Complex offer student-athletes the opportunity to train year-round. Student-athletes also experience a dedicated administration to help them succeed during four years in school and 40 years after.

“We are committed to raising the profile of the Columbia Athletics brand by communicating a consistent and inspiring brand story,” Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Relations Anthony J. Azama said. “#OnlyHere do our student-athletes have the best of all worlds—academics, athletics, culture, career opportunities and much more.”

Columbia Athletics enlisted the services of Beardwood & Co, a New York City agency that specializes in branding. It put together a group of key stakeholders who gathered to conduct an audit on Columbia Athletics by identifying what made the program unique, what factors were most important in recruiting student-athletes, along with pinpointing key values that are essential for student-athlete success at the university. Using the results of the audit, Beardwood, along with members of the athletics department, came up with a branding plan.

“In our research, there was 100 percent agreement that Columbia Athletics is a unique experience for student-athletes,” Beardwood Founding Partner Julia Beardwood said. “#OnlyHere can they compete at the highest level, while receiving an Ivy League education and access to all of the career opportunities available in New York City. That’s what we want recruits to know.”


“The possibilities are real. The school has wonderful assets. You travel all over the place and everyone’s heard of Columbia. Everyone knows what New York City is all about. Everyone has bought in here. The administration is all in, from the President, the Athletics Director, the Board of Trustees. They’ve given us more resources and with that, you have the chance to be successful.”

-Patricia & Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Columbia Football Al Bagnoli, winner of nine Ivy League football titles

“There’s an aura here. There’s so much vibrancy. I’m blessed to coach at a place like Columbia in New York City.”

-Columbia Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Engles and Staten Island native

“The Ivy League is for people that believe in balance, greatness in more than one way. For me, this is it, I’m coaching in a place that I love and a place that I want to be. I’m very happy about that.”

-Columbia Women’s Basketball Coach Megan Griffith ’07CC, former Lions women's basketball player

“The experience our student athletes get during their time at Columbia in the best city in the world cannot be replicated any place else. The opportunities on and off campus helps them graduate champions in the classroom, on the playing field and in life.”

-Columbia Fencing Coach Michael Aufrichtig