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Columbia State Holds Fall 2017 Commencement

by Amber Dougherty | Dec 16, 2017

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. Dec. 16, 2017) - - - Columbia State Community College celebrated 227 degree and certificate candidates as they crossed the stage in front of family and friends during the commencement ceremony in the Webster Athletic Center Saturday, Dec. 16.

Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, opened the ceremony by welcoming degree candidates, faculty, staff, family, friends and guests.

“Today is a special day for several reasons. It is a day of celebration of accomplishments,” Smith said. “It is a day of recognition that these graduates set a goal and accomplished it.”

Smith introduced Natalie Martin, Columbia State alumna and territory manager for STALITE Structural Lightweight Aggregate, as the guest speaker for the fall commencement ceremony.

Smith told Martin’s story starting with her childhood in California where she spent much of her time with her uncles who ran a construction company and led up to how the mother of three decided to attend Columbia State as an adult learner and continued her education at Middle Tennessee State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in concrete management.

Martin acknowledged college faculty and staff, family and friends of the graduates, service men and women and other community leaders for impacting and molding this group of graduates.

Martin then recognized the graduates and expressed the importance of being persistent and not beating one’s self up for not staying organized and balanced 100 percent of the time.

“Be organized and keep all aspects of life balanced – I’m not going to tell you that,” Martin said. “Organization and balance are good ideas, but are not always realistic.”

In her address, she quoted Wonder Woman and advised the graduates to adhere to the four be’s: be creative, be adventurous, be original, and above all else, be young.

Martin continued to tell the graduates about why she is standing here today. Something most super heroes possess, and something she had all her life and just didn’t know it. It began to grown the first day she stepped onto the Columbia State campus – it is her strength.

“The reason I am standing here today is my strength,” Martin said. “Not my physical strength, it is in my head. It’s up to me to build the strength of this mind. One day I closed my eyes and cleaned out all that was negative.”

Martin explained that once she found her strengths she has been building upon them ever since, and she encouraged the graduates to do so as well.

Martin asked the students to repeat after her: “Be creative, be adventurous, be original, be young, find my strengths and be a leader – for my family, my community, at work and in myself.”

Closing the ceremony, the alumni induction of new graduates was presented by Yolanda Ogilvie, Columbia State alumna and testing services coordinator at the Williamson Campus, along with her daughter and fall 2017 graduate, Tre’yana Ogilivie.

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Before the commencement ceremony, Smith held a reception for the President’s Leadership Society graduates.

“This program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore new concepts and experience different areas outside of their own major,” Smith said. “PLS also encourages and helps students build and maintain relationships, which are essential to success.”

Formed in spring 2011, PLS is a free leadership training program focused on developing a student’s unique leadership skills from their first semester through graduation. The program focuses on participation in college-sponsored programs that promote educational attainment, career choices, volunteerism and civic responsibility.

During the course of the program, students will attend a leadership retreat, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding and give back to the community through volunteerism.

PLS Graduates, fall 2017
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Students received the President’s Leadership Society medallion for completing all requirements of the leadership training program prior to graduation. Throughout the program, students attend a leadership retreat, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding and give back to the community through service. (Front row, pictured, left to right) Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, Lauren Thomas (Hohenwald), Cara Mitchell (Clarksville), Crystal Nichols (Columbia), Katie Dodd (Clifton) and Cady Tice, Columbia State PLS and SGA coordinator.  (Back row, pictured, left to right) Tre’yana Ogilvie (Columbia), Brandon Sanchez (Spring Hill) and Nicholas Herrud (Spring Hill).

commencement speaker, Natalie Martin, 2017 fall
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Natalie Martin, territory manager for STALITE Structural Lightweight Aggregate Columbia State alumna and Fall 2017 Commencement Speaker.

David, Lauren and Robin Thomas
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Lewisburg resident Lauren Thomas earned a general transfer/university parallel Associate of Science degree. Thomas is a Phi Theta Kappa and President’s Leadership Society graduate and plans to transfer to Middle Tennessee State University to earn her bachelor’s degree in pre-law. Eventually, she wants to become a lawyer and attend law school. Her parents, David and Robin Thomas, are Columbia State alumni, class of 1991. David studied radiologic technology and Robin studied laboratory technology. (Pictured, left to right): David, Lauren and Robin Thomas.

Jada Huckaby
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Spring Hill (Maury) resident Jada Huckaby earned a general transfer/ university parallel Associate of Science degree. Huckaby said that she chose Columbia State because the classes were flexible and the location allowed her to continue her duties as a single mother and hairstylist. She plans to continue her education at Lipscomb University in the spring where she will be working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Nicholas Herrud
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Spring Hill (Maury) resident Nicholas Herrud earned a general transfer/ university parallel Associate of Science degree. Herrud is a President’s Leadership Society and Tennessee Promise graduate. He plans to continue his education at Austin Peay State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in history.

Brandon Sanchez
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Spring Hill (Maury) resident Brandon Sanchez earned a general transfer/ university parallel Associate of Science degree. He is a President’s Leadership Society and Tennessee Promise graduate. Sanchez said his favorite thing about Columbia State was the way that the professors treat students like family. Sanchez plans to continue his education at Columbia State in the radiologic technology program.

Mosam Patel
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Columbia resident Mosam Patel earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing. She is a Phi Theta Kappa and Tennessee Promise graduate. In addition, she was a member of the Student Nurses and National Student Nurses Associations, and won the Who’s Who Among Students Award spring 2017. Patel plans on continuing her education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She wants to further her education to get her master’s degree so she can become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Cara Mitchell and her mother
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Clarksville resident Cara Mitchell earned a general transfer/university parallel Associate of Science degree. She is a President’s Leadership Society, Phi Theta Kappa and Tennessee Promise graduate. Mitchell plans to continue her education at Austin Peay State University where she will earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She said her favorite thing about Columbia State is how easy it is to get involved on campus. (Pictured, left to right): Cara Mitchell and her mother Eyvonne Sims.

Katie Dodd
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Clifton resident Katie Dodd earned a general transfer/university parallel Associate of Science degree. She is a President’s Leadership Society graduate and was a member of the Columbia State Student Government Association. She plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee, Martin to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Dodd said that her favorite thing about Columbia State was the atmosphere because it made the adjustment from high school to college easier.

Brandie Crawford
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Shelbyville resident Brandie Crawford earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing. She is a Phi Theta Kappa graduate and was a member of the Student Nurses and National Student Nurses Associations. Crawford plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to earn her bachelor’s degree. Crawford feels like she has had a close relationship with her professors and would recommend Columbia State to everyone.

Ogilvie Family
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Two generations of the Ogilvie family have walked across the stage at a Columbia State commencement ceremony. Yolanda and her husband Trent attended Columbia State – Yolanda studied office administration and Trent studied mass communication. After continuing her education at Trevecca Nazarene University, Yolanda returned to Columbia State as a testing services coordinator. Trent is currently the CEO at the Columbia Housing and Redevelopment Corp. Today, their daughter Tre’yana Ogilvie (Columbia) walked across the stage and earned a general transfer/university parallel Associate of Science degree. Tre’yana is a President’s Leadership Society, Sigma Kappa Delta and Phi Theta Kappa graduate and plans on transferring to Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in English. Tre’yana said that her favorite thing about Columbia State is the variety of activities to choose from each week. The next Ogilvie that will be attending Columbia State is Yolanda and Trent’s youngest daughter, Makayla.  Pictured, left to right: Makayla, Yolanda, Tre’yana and Trent Ogilvie.

Joe and Chaos
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Lawrenceburg resident Joseph Del Frate earned a general transfer/university parallel Associate of Science degree. He plans to transfer to Midwestern State University to earn his bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Del Frate said that he chose Columbia State because the college is veteran friendly. He and his service dog, Chaos, recommend Columbia State to veterans looking for a good college. 

Ashley May
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Pulaski resident Ashley May earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing. May, a mother of four, chose Columbia State because the flexibility of the nursing program allowed her to continue working while achieving her goals.

Leighton Miller
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Nashville resident Leighton Miller earned a Technical Certificate in hospitality and tourism management. Following graduation, Miller will be going to Disney World for an internship. Miller said that her favorite thing about Columbia State is all of the opportunities that are available, and that she would recommend Columbia State to others seeking to continue their education.

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