Dec 02, 2014

Columbia State Announces Commencement Speaker

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Dec. 1, 2014) - - -
Columbia State Community College is pleased to announce that Columbia native, Judge Randolph Baxter will deliver the address during the fall 2014 commencement ceremony Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. in the Webster Athletic Center.

"I look forward to Judge Baxter's address and celebrating our fall 2014 graduates," said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. "His career is distinguished, and his accolades are impressive. Given Judge Baxter's life's work, experience and accomplishments, I believe our graduates will find his address to be inspirational as they move from the halls of Columbia State to joining the world of work or their university of choice for continuation of their education."

A 1963 honors graduate of Columbia's Carver-Smith High School, Baxter also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Tuskegee University and a juris doctor from the University of Akron.

Baxter served as a bankruptcy judge for the United States bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Ohio from 1985 until his retirement in 2011. In 1999, he became one of five charter judges to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, where he served a two-year appointment.

Baxter has also practiced law and served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He served as an assistant United States Attorney in Ohio, a deputy director for the Department of Public Service in Akron; a courts planner for the County Criminal Justice Commission in Ohio, and a salary administration analyst at B.F. Goodrich.

After serving as national secretary of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Baxter was appointed to a four-year term on the Federal Judicial Center's Bankruptcy Education Advisory Committee in 1995, where he helped develop training programs for the nation's bankruptcy judges. Baxter was also invited twice to address officials of the World Bank on the U.S. Bankruptcy law matters.

On two separate occasions, Baxter served as a judicial delegate from the United States at the biennial International Judicial Colloquium which is co-sponsored by the United Nations and INSOL International, the International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Professionals.

Baxter holds memberships in the American, National, and Federal Bar Associations, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Advisory Board of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute. He currently serves as the national president of the University of Akron's alumni board and formerly served on the trustees boards of Tuskegee University, Lake Erie College and the Cleveland State University Foundation.

Having been published in national law reports and journals, Baxter has authored numerous judicial opinions and articles. Additionally, he has served as a frequent lecturer on continuing legal education programs sponsored by several bar associations, law schools, federal agencies and commercial trade associations. Baxter continues to serve on various civic and educational boards.

A former officer in the U.S. Army, Baxter was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, and other unit citations, while serving as a tank platoon leader in the Republic of Vietnam and Cambodia with the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. His overseas posts included Germany and the Panama Canal. He later achieved the rank of captain and commanded a tank company before resigning his commission and returning to civilian life in 1971.

Baxter and his wife, Yvonne, reside in Richfield, Ohio and are the proud parents of four children and grandparents to six grandchildren. In his spare time, he plays the trumpet with the Cleveland Clinic Concert Band.

The Webster Athletic Center is on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to ensure seating availability.

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, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at

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