(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Dec. 17, 2011) - - - Columbia State held its first-ever fall commencement ceremony this morning at the W.J. “Billy” Webster Athletic Center on the Columbia campus, conferring degrees to 260 December graduates. Students gathered from all five of the COSCC campuses to receive their degrees from Dr. Janet Smith and Provost Margaret Smith.
Betty Ann Ogilvie, who began her academic journey at Columbia State in 1971, was recognized during the commencement today for earning her degree and graduating 40 years later.
“We tend to think of students as coming to college straight from high school,” President Smith said. “But sometimes students bring their life experience to us as they return to campus again and again, proving that learning happens over a lifetime.”
Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell referred to the life of Columbia’s most famous resident, James K. Polk, who served in the Tennessee State House of Representatives as she does but who went on to become the nation’s eleventh president. Harwell said that President Polk limited himself to one term of office with four goals, one for each year.
“It is not the quantity or even how far you might go, but it is the journey of taking one step at a time,” Harwell said. “Each journey is uniquely your own, and the most important part is to cherish those who love you and those who you love. Set goals, be patient, work hard and cherish those who you love.”
The 260 graduates represented 17 counties in Tennessee, and approximately 50 percent of them are moving on to other academic programs. Franklin, Tenn. twin sisters, Adama and Ayanna Murriel, are among the general studies graduates who are now heading to places such as MTSU, APSU, TTU, TSU, Lipscomb and Trevecca.
Fifty percent of the graduates earned their first professional degrees and are already in externships or are working in their chosen fields. Nearly one-third of the graduates earned degrees in nursing, and nearly half of the graduates earned degrees in general academic majors. Other specialty degrees are in areas that include criminal justice, business information technology and teaching.
Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.
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