(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – May 5, 2012) - - - Under skies that offered storms but sparkled as new graduates emerged amid the cheers of family and friends, the Columbia State Community College class of 2012 received their degrees at the college’s W.J. “Billy” Webster Athletic Center on Saturday, May 5.“
The class is a diverse group of students with equally diverse next step plans,” noted Janet Smith, Ph.D., president of the college. “More than 54 percent of this year’s class plans to continue their education at the university level.
She noted that their paths will take them into seven states and 18 public and private universities in the fall. Twenty-two percent of the graduates will be at Middle Tennessee State University.
“The remaining portion of this year’s class will be heading to work within the coming days,” Smith said. “Most have specific positions identified that relate to the degree they are earning today. Whether they are in the health sciences, such as veterinary technology, respiratory care, nursing or radiology technology, or whether the business degree they have earned has opened doors in banking, the automotive industry, law enforcement or teaching, our students will be found in every facet of Middle Tennessee business and industry.”
“The faculty of Columbia State is extremely proud of our graduates. Commencement is absolutely the most exciting day of our year, and it is the reason we all come to work every day,” Smith said.
Graduates heard from Sondra Wilson during the ceremony. Wilson, a 2006 graduate of Columbia State, went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MTSU before returning to Columbia as a third grade teacher.
Wilson reminded the class that they have accomplished something that only 27.4 percent of Americans do. They have earned a college degree.
Wilson charged the class to commit to four things as they move from Columbia State.
“First,” she charged, “follow your passions. Whether you find your passion now or when you are 85 years old, don’t give up until you have found it.”
“Secondly, in whatever you do, don’t lose faith,” she intoned. “Sometimes life will knock you down, you’ll feel as if you were dealt a bad hand or you simply want to throw in the towel. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will rise above and come out better than before.”
Her third charge was, “Don’t forget where you came from. Remember, Columbia State is not just any college. It is Tennessee’s first and finest community college. Where you came from is part of where you are going, so speak proudly of your alma mater!”
Finally, Wilson reminded the graduates to never overlook the simple things. “People don’t owe you anything. Remember to offer praise and thanks with a simple thank you.”
Photo caption (DSC_0024_graduation): Columbia State conferred 416 degrees this semester. Graduates come from 60 Tennessee cities, as well as New York, Texas and Victoria, Australia.