In 2017, we—a group of Masonic brothers, all with strong connections to Columbia University in the City of New York—were desirous of forming an academic lodge along the model provided by such lodges as Apollo University Lodge No. 357 in Oxford, England, Isaac Newton University Lodge No. 859 in Cambridge, England, The Harvard Lodge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Boston University Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts. Our petition was favorably received by the Grand Lodge of New York, and on August 18th, 2018, M:.W:. Grand Master William M. Sardone granted us a dispensation allowing us to work as Columbia Lodge U.D. We were chartered as Columbia Lodge No. 1190 by the Grand Lodge of New York on May 7th, 2019.
We are everywhere. We are men you see everyday. We are presidents and kings, doctors and lawyers, students and professors, soldiers, financiers, bartenders, gardeners and mechanics — we come from all walks of life, all nations.
We are men who seek something more. We believe in God and the immortality of the soul. We are active in our houses of worship, in our communities, in charitable endeavors, and we always seek to improve. We are elite, but not elitist ... and we hold dear our fellowship with like-minded men.
Although the precise origins of Freemasonry are lost to time, the Craft emerged into public view in 1717 with the formation of the premier Grand Lodge in England, arriving in its colonies not long after. It is one of the world's oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and differences.
Brotherly Love: We value respect, freedom, kindness, tolerance, and our differences — religious, ethnic, cultural, social, generational, and educational — and strive for harmony in our individual lives, in our lodges, and in our local and global communities.
Relief: We take responsibility for the well-being of our brothers, our families, and the community as a whole. We provide relief through philanthropy, community involvement, and delivery of excellent care.
Truth: We stay true to our personal code of conduct and ethics — honor, integrity, personal responsibility, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge.
The Masonic journey is not a race. The voyage — not the destination — is the purpose. In light of this, Columbia Lodge focuses on ensuring that our brothers develop a deeper understanding of the Craft as they steadily progress, by presentations on topics of compelling interest at each meeting, with speakers drawn from the vast international pool of talent made available through both academic and fraternal sources. Indeed, bringing these two global networks together is a key objective and a benefit of our particular lodge.
This difference in our approach from other Masonic lodges is signaled by our choice of attire. In addition to proper Masonic regalia, we clothe ourselves in appropriate academic regalia.
In an increasingly hectic world characterized by the constant availability and flow of massive amounts of information which over-tax our attention, we can feel overwhelmed and unable to hear harmony through the constant noise of data. What's more, despite increased virtual interconnections though social media, loneliness afflicts many.
Freemasonry offers its adepts a bastion of calm. The Craft provides us with the symbolic tools to discern the meaningful from the superfluous as well as with a method, based on the recognition of our fraternal bonds, for interacting agreeably amongst ourselves and for being better men outside the lodge room. The fellowship that characterizes our fraternity is a powerful antidote to loneliness.
Brotherhood; our shared belief in a Supreme Being, the immortality of the Soul, and in the transcendence of the individual; the time-immemorial rituals and symbols which serve as the foundation of our common language and forge our shared identity; together these empower us to see order in chaos, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to lead an examined and meaningful life. Columbia Lodge was established to distill all the best that Freemasonry has to offer.
"Tradition and continuity are two of the values which characterise the relationship between Freemasonry and universities." —Universities Scheme, United Grand Lodge of England
"[T]he history of university lodges is as old and historically rich as that of the Craft itself. In fact, the joining of a Masonic lodge to an academic institution is a natural fit, since both seek to educate and instruct their members. Universities instruct on the intellectual level and give their attendees the tools necessary to succeed in their professional life and better serve their community. Masonry instructs its members on the personal level, by leading its initiates towards introspection and self-attainment." —James Hodgkins and Paul Nadeau, The University Lodge: A History and Case Study
Originally founded as King's College in 1754 by Royal Charter from King George II of England, our Alma Mater was renamed Columbia College following the American Revolution, and later became known as Columbia University in the City of New York, the geographic distinction becoming part of the full name in order to differentiate it from other, more recently founded schools using "Columbia" as part of their names.
One of the nine colonial colleges and eight Ivy League schools, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher education in the United States, the oldest in the State of New York, and consistently ranks among the top universities both in the U.S. and the world, comprising 16 undergraduate and graduate schools, and four undergraduate and graduate affiliate schools.
Columbia counts five Founding Fathers of the United States, three U.S. Presidents, ten Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and 96 Nobel Laureates amongst its alumni and affiliates.