May 09, 2015

Columbia State Celebrates Spring 2015 Commencement

Photo Caption: Columbia residents, Stephanie (right) and Amy Hubbard (left) are Columbia State's power sisters. Stephanie was president of Student Government Association and the vice-president of Sigma Kappa Delta, while Amy was president of SKD and vice president of the SGA. In addition, Amy was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Both sisters are graduates of the President's Leadership Society, and both are planning to attend Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, where Stephanie plans to earn a teaching degree in K-6, and Amy will earn a degree in human resources. The sisters agree that they chose Columbia State because it was close to home, affordable, and it had smaller class sizes. Stephanie said she would like to continue her education and pursue a master's degree. Amy said she is excited to begin her junior year debt-free. The sisters said they are thankful for the close-knit feel of the faculty, staff and students at Columbia State.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - May 9, 2015) - - -
Columbia State Community College celebrated 234 degree and certificate candidates as they crossed the stage in front of family and friends during commencement exercises in the Webster Athletic Center Saturday, May 9.

Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, opened the ceremony by welcoming graduates, faculty, staff, family, friend and guests.

"Today is a special day. 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."

Margaret D. Smith, executive vice president and provost for academic and student programs and services, then recognized the Distinguished Faculty Award winner, Shelley Manns, associate professor of English and assistant director of learning support.

President Smith followed with a presentation of the President's Medal winner, Livia Derryberry, records clerk for the health sciences division and 35-year veteran of Columbia State.

Columbia native, Dana Salters, gave the spring 2015 commencement address. Salters is an alumna of Columbia State's radiologic technology program.

Salters commended graduates on their exemplary commitment, fortitude and desire to empower their lives. She encouraged each graduate to find their purpose in life and build healthy relationships with other people. She also told them to stay true to their core values and beliefs.

"Remain true to your core being, and understand character and integrity are the traits that sustain us through time," Salters advised. These characteristics keep us real and in touch with ourselves and make our journey worthy."

Encouraging the graduates to keep the passion for learning alive, Salters told graduates to never stop growing in career or life. She encouraged them to leave a legacy and live life to the fullest by finding purpose and fill it with passion.

"Understand and nurture relationships. You will need other people. Stay true to who you are deep on the inside, and remain a lifelong learner," Salters said. "For if you do these things, you will reap the rewards of an extraordinary journey, and you will find the immeasurable joy of a life well lived."

Before conferring degrees, Smith recognized the 15 President's Leadership Society graduates for their participation in the program that focuses on helping students develop and apply their unique leadership skills.

"We established the President's Leadership Society in the spring of 2011, based on the belief that leadership is inherent to our lives and that we all have leadership roles," Smith said. "PLS is open to all students at Columbia State and requires only their commitment to involvement for learning, participation and helping others."

During the course of the program, students attend retreats, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding, and give back to the community through service. Today, there are more than 200 PLS members.

Closing the ceremony, the alumni induction of the new graduates was presented by Stephanie Hubbard, Student Government Association president, and Eric McCullough, instructor of emergency medical technology and active Columbia State alum.

Photo Caption:
During her time at Columbia State, psychology major and Spring Hill resident, Angelina Anselmo, was a peer leader, a member of the Student Government Association, the vice president of scholarship for the Beta Kappa Theta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a graduate of the President's Leadership Society, and a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance. The Spring Hill High School graduate won the 2013-2014 Academic Discipline Award for Psychology and was published in both the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Perceptions art journal. She was recently nominated for the Carolyn Allred/Lewis Moore Outstanding Student Award, won the Jo L. Hutton Prize, and received an Academic Excellence Award for maintaining a 3.9-4.0 GPA. She has won multiple scholarships, including the fall 2014 and spring 2015 Peer Leader Scholarship, and the summer 2015 Study Abroad Scholarship for which she'll travel to Italy this May. Anselmo said she chose Columbia State because she made great connections here as a dual-enrolled student and knew firsthand how welcoming the college was and how amazing many of the faculty are. Her favorite thing about Columbia State has been building relationships with professors, staff and fellow students. She is transferring to Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology. She would also like to earn a master's in clinical psychology and pursue a career in counseling. She hopes to one day earn her Ph.D. and return to higher education as a professor.

Photo Caption:
Victoria Franklin, Columbia resident and Spring Hill High School graduate, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and is a President's Leadership Society graduate. The business administration major was recently recognized for academic excellence for maintaining a 3.9-4.0 GPA, as well as Who's Who Among Students in American Universities. She also received an Academic Service Scholarship and the HOPE Lottery Scholarship. Franklin said she chose Columbia State because she felt it was a great opportunity as well as a family tradition. She explained that both her mother and brother are proud Columbia State alumni. Her favorite thing about Columbia State was the sense of community she felt on the campus. She said everyone was very supportive, and faculty, staff and other students were always encouraging everyone to succeed. She will transfer to Martin Methodist College where she'll major in management. After she completes her degree, she plans to get a job in human resources. She said she would absolutely recommend Columbia State to her friends and family because "you can make memories at Columbia State you will cherish forever."

Photo Caption:
Spring Hill resident, Carsha Bowen, was a Student Government Association senator and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and is a new President's Leadership Society graduate. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and was listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Bowen also recently participated in the science, technology, engineering and math Girls Really Love Science event. The Columbia Central High School graduate plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University where she'll pursue a degree in the music business. She is also considering going to law school to earn a law degree in entertainment law.

Photo Caption:
During her time at Columbia State, Adrian Dawson was involved with TRiO and served as the inner cultural life president. The Columbia resident also made the dean's list in the fall 2014 semester. She has received the Opportunity Scholarship. She chose Columbia State because it is where she originally started. She also wanted to show her kids that they always need to finish whatever they start regardless of how long it takes. Her favorite things about Columbia State are that the faculty and staff are friendly, give family smiles and show love to one another. She is transferring to Trevecca Nazarene University where she'll major in human resources and has already been offered a job working in information systems technology for Ridge Stone Gardens, LLC.

Photo Caption:
Pope John Paul II High School graduate, Paul Kirby was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and is a President's Leadership Society graduate. The Goodlettsville native was recruited by Coach Mike Corn to play baseball for Columbia State. His favorite thing about Columbia State is the staff and their willingness to teach and build relationships. He is undecided on where he'll transfer next, but he plans to attend medical school after he's done playing college baseball.

Photo Caption:
Cornersville resident, Triskal deHaven was actively involved while attending Columbia State. He was treasurer for the Student Government Association, vice-president of leadership for Phi Theta Kappa, a graduate of the President's Leadership Society and president of the Gay-Straight Alliance. He also received an Academic Excellence Award for maintaining a 3.9-4.0 GPA, was named to the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and was recently nominated for the Carolyn Allred/Lewis Moore Outstanding Student Award. He chose Columbia State because of the short distance from home as well as the low cost. He said his favorite aspect of Columbia State is the large selection of clubs and activities. From the Gay-Straight Alliance to the Anime Club, Columbia State appeals to all types. DeHaven said he plans to attend Vanderbilt in spring 2016 where he'll major in psychology.

Photo Caption:
T.J. Dunans was a member of the men's basketball team, which made two national tournament appearances during his time at Columbia State. He was twice named NJCAA Player of the Week. Dunans was also named 2014 Junior College Preseason Player of the Year by Sporting News Magazine. He was also named the 2015 TCCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player. Dunans, an Atlanta native, said his favorite thing about Columbia State is the fans. He was named to the all-tournament team at the 2014 NJCAA national tournament. Dunans has committed to play for Coach Bruce Pearl at Auburn University for the 2015-2016 school year.

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

# # #