In the 1897 ceremonies to inaugurate the Morningside Heights campus, President Seth Low, upon hoisting the flag in front of the new library, declared, “In the name of the men of Columbia College who in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War fought under this flag, in the country’s quarrel, and in the name of the men of Columbia University, who fought, as you fought in the War for the preservation of the Union ... I pledge you for this University that we shall ‘love, cherish, and defend it.’”
Among the Columbians participating in the Mexican-American War was Philip Kearny, a member of the Columbia College Class of 1833. He accompanied General Winfield Scott as an aide-de-camp on the march from the port of Veracruz to the Mexican capital. Kearney lost his left arm at the Battle of Churubusco but remained in the military, rising to the rank of general in the Civil War, where he was killed at the Battle of Chantilly in 1862.