May 29, 2013

Graduates Ready To Take On The World

Matthew F. Williams
Photo Caption: In honor of Matthew F. Williams, Columbia State President Janet F. Smith, Ph.D., awarded a posthumous degree to his mother, Karen A. Williams, amidst roaring applause. Williams passed away on March 3, 2013 but had completed all of the requirements for the Associate of Science degree prior to his death.

Columbia State Community College Graduation
Photo Caption: Columbia State graduate Dylan Platt (front center) led the graduating class across the stage as President Janet F. Smith, Ph.D., and Provost Margaret Smith, Ph.D., conferred degrees upon them, wishing them continued success in their new endeavors.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - May 14, 2013) - - - Nearly 200 of the 399 degree and certificate candidates celebrated Saturday when Columbia State Community College held its 48th annual commencement ceremony in the Webster Athletic Center.

"Today is a special day. It is a day of celebration of accomplishments," said Janet F. Smith, Ph.D., Columbia State president. "It is a day of recognition that these graduates set a goal and have accomplished it."

Many graduates are headed directly into the workforce, and more than half of this year's graduates will continue their education when they transfer to public and private colleges and universities in the fall. The majority of transfer students will continue their studies at Middle Tennessee State University, while other graduates have decided to attend universities such as Tennessee Technological University, Austin Peay State University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Brigham Young University, and the University of California at Berkeley.

No matter the direction Columbia State graduates will go, they are taking with them the knowledge and skills that will help them be successful in both their continuing education or as they enter the workforce, many having already secured jobs in the Middle Tennessee area.

Karen F. Davis, M.D., a Columbia obstetrician and gynecologist, delivered this year's commencement address, sharing with students her earliest memory of Columbia State. As a young girl, Davis remembers sitting in the front row with her mom and brothers at the Columbia campus dedication on March 15, 1967. Eight years later, Davis began her studies at Columbia State.

"My momma had dreams for us children that day," Davis recalled. "Many of you have family and friends here today that have shared this dream with you. Do not underestimate the sacrifices of time, finances and their own dreams that have been made on your behalf."

"Take the time to be genuine in your expression of gratitude," Davis said. "Allow them to share in your accomplishment."

Davis told graduates that whether this is the first of many steps in their college education or the completion of their formal education, their degree presents them with new opportunities and the ability to achieve their goals. She also encouraged them to use their skills and discipline to help those around them.

"Today, come with gratitude," Davis said. "Choose to make the most of your opportunities. Commit to make the difference. Change just one life."

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