Art Garfunkel is a singer, poet, and actor who rose to fame as half of the 1960s folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. According to legend, Garfunkel met fellow musician Paul Simon while they were in the fourth grade and the duo later formed a band called Tom and Jerry, thinking it would be a good way to attract girls. In 1963, they switched to folk music and changed their name to Simon & Garfunkel, performing together until 1970. During this time, they recorded five albums, selling millions of records and racking up 13 top forty hits, with the most successful song being ‘The Sound of Silence.'
Overall, Garfunkel has been the recipient of eight Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1990 was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. While as an actor, he has been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for his supporting role in the comedy drama film ‘Carnal Knowledge.’ He continues to travel around the world giving concert performances, and since 1973, has produced twelve solo albums. In 2008, Garfunkel was ranked 86th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Unlike many of his fellow musicians, Garfunkel first received an Ivy League degree before obtaining any achievements in the music industry. Always top in his class, he enrolled at Columbia University in 1960 as an architecture student. He dropped out after one year but reenrolled, even joining the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. While he never seriously considered a professional musical career possible, he focused his energy on other campus-related activities. At Columbia, Garfunkel was a team member in tennis, skiing, fencing, and bowling. He also joined the all-male a cappella group on campus, the Columbia Kingsmen.
At one point, his roommate, Sanford Greenberg, developed glaucoma and went blind. Garfunkel assisted him in his homework by reading his textbooks to Greenberg, who went on to graduate with honors. Notably, Greenberg later gave Garfunkel $500 to go and record a demo of ‘The Sound of Silence.’ In 1965, Garfunkel received his Bachelor of Arts degree in art history, followed by a Master of Arts degree in mathematics education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1967.
Since then, the world-famous musician has been a proud member of the Columbia community. In 1999, he returned to his alma mater for a dedication ceremony for the Alfred Lerner Hall, a striking building with a vast glass wall. Also, in 2003, he and his former partner, Simon, donated one million dollars to the Children's Health Fund (CHF), half of which went to the pediatric preparedness program run by Columbia University's CHF Mailman School of Public Health. Meanwhile, Garfunkel's old roommate hadn't forgot the kindnesses bestowed on him during college. In 2016, Greenberg (who went on to get his PhD from Harvard and became a White House fellow) met up with Garfunkel on Columbia's campus, possibly to discuss how their friendship engendered one of the most famous songs in American rock history.