Columbia State Community College is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, marking a half century of community colleges in Tennessee.
Photo Caption: Columbia State Community College under construction.
(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Oct. 25, 2015) - - - Columbia State Community College is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, marking a half century of community colleges in Tennessee.
In 1963, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education, J. Howard Warf, developed plans for regional community colleges and, two years later, on June 22, 1965, the State Board of Education unanimously approved Columbia as the site for the state’s first community college. On October 20, 1965, Warf and Governor Frank G. Clement broke ground for the construction of the campus, scheduled for occupancy in the fall of 1967.
Mayor James Dowdy and County Judge John Stanton proclaimed March 15, 1967 as “CSCC Dedication Day.” This event would mark the first visit of a sitting president to Maury County in 150 years. More than 8,000 supporters gathered in the cold that day and excitement filled the air as they welcomed President Lyndon B. Johnson and First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson.
Lady Bird Johnson unveiled the dedication plaque and declared that Columbia State represented the “new beat and rhythm of our land...” and that “when a Columbia Community College rises from a once empty field, the country expands not outward, but upward…I am honored to dedicate this college – to dedicate it forever to the service of the people and the progress of our nation.”
For 50 years, Columbia State has remained committed to providing access to higher education and opening doors to opportunities throughout the region. The college has grown to five campuses and serves nearly 7,000 students annually.
On December 4 and 5, Columbia State will host a 50th Anniversary exhibit to reflect on the formative years of the college as well as the pop culture, fashion, music and technology that impacted the 1960s. The exhibit will feature many artifacts of the time. The college will provide refreshments, including hot mulled cider.
In addition to the exhibit, the college will be releasing its 50th Anniversary commemorative book titled “Opening Doors to Opportunities: Columbia State Community College, the First Fifty Years.” The book was written by Columbia State faculty and staff, including Dr. Barry Gidcomb, Brittany Hall, Beverly Mitchell, Anne Scott, Holly Tkaczyk and Bob Trybalski. Copies of the book are $30 and will be available for purchase.
The exhibit will be held in the Pryor Art Gallery in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. The gallery will be open on Dec. 4 from 12-6 p.m. and Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the college’s 50th Anniversary visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/50Years.
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 www.columbiastate.edu.
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 tncommunitycolleges.org.
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