Double Discovery Center


Educating Children of Promise since 1965


History and Mission

History of DDC

Founded in 1965 by Columbia and Barnard undergraduates to address the glaring disparities between the local Ivy League institution they attended and the underserved and underperforming schools in the community around them, the program set forth with a simple mission of Double Discovery - to improve local schools by exposing students to the rigor of Columbia, and engage Columbia students with the neighborhood.

Our Formula for Success

–Maximize after-school, weekend and summer learning and enrichment.

–Provide safe and supportive surroundings to increase skills and the motivation to learn.

–Surround students with accomplished people who model positive values and integrity.

Our Mission

The mission of the Double Discovery Center at Columbia University is to increase high school graduation, college enrollment and completion of low-income and first-generation college-bound youth from low performing schools in Northern Manhattan.

Now in its 52th year, the Double Discovery Center has flourished in making college access a reality for more than 15,000 alumni. By providing services such as one-to-one advising, workshops, homework help, tutoring, academic classes, internships, college trips, and special events ranging from career days to science labs, DDC’s students are showing great results. Annually 90 percent of DDC high school seniors graduate from high school on time and enter college the following fall semester – far surpassing city, state and national outcomes for low-income, first-generation college-bound and minority students.

DDC’s commitment to expand access to higher education for underserved youth, to bridge the social boundaries of class and race, and to solidify the role of Columbia University as a leader of college-community alliances, is stronger than ever.  Using the intellectual rigor of an elite university, DDC continues to foster a culture of achievement, instilling the skills, confidence and hope needed for first generation college-bound students to pursue their highest aspirations, complete their education, and become productive members of our larger shared communities.


Double Discovery Center is a department of Columbia College of Columbia University reporting to the Dean of Columbia College. The Center is a nonprofit educational organization.

In June 1984, a Board of Friends was established as a volunteer advisory body to the Dean of Columbia College and Center’s Executive Director. Its central focus is the development of new programs, the enrichment of existing services, and the long-term well-being of the Center and its programs including support funding.

The Double Discovery Students Organization (DDSO) is a recognized Columbia student activity that promotes and facilitates Columbia community interaction with DDC students. Annually elected student leaders guide the organization and the DDSO president is an ex-officio member of the DDC Board of Friends.