Columbia State Receives $5,000 Donation From AT&T

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Scholarship Recipients Say "Thank You" to AT&T

Joshua Crist
“I am extremely grateful to have been selected to receive this scholarship from AT&T. The money they have invested in me has been put towards my school books, tuition, travel expenses and the tools I need to attend my clinical rotations as part of the Columbia State nursing program… I would like to say thank you to AT&T for their donation and investment in my future as a Columbia State graduate and aspiring nurse.”

Sherri Baker
“This scholarship has helped me finish my goal of my college degree when I was about to give up a second time to make sure my kids dreams come true. As many can imagine, money is tight with a family of six and no college degree for the ones providing the income in the household. I appreciate the AT&T scholarship more than words can say. Because of it, I will be graduating in May 2017 with my associate degree in information technology.”

Shreya Patel
“This scholarship has helped pay for my classes and books. I have been able to focus more on my education and not so much on how to pay my bills. Thank you, AT&T, for helping me pay for school so I can work hard and stay focused on my education. I really appreciate your help and trust in me.”

Terra Burm
“It is extremely important to me to graduate from college so my boys will become inspired to attend college and become successful. The generosity of the grant has lightened my financial burden, which has allowed me to focus more on the most important aspect of school: learning. On behalf of the student-winners of the AT&T Aspire grant, thank you for continuing to support and encourage higher education. Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.”

AJ Torres
“When I first got injured, the doctors gave my right hand a very low usage rating. At the age of 25, it was scary not knowing if I would be able to provide for my family. I chose to go to school instead of moping. I applied for every grant and scholarship I could, but nontraditional students don’t get many options to choose from. When I heard of this grant, I was filled with joy, knowing that I qualified. This scholarship has been a godsend for me and my family, and I hope many more families get help through this program. Thank you AT&T for caring.”

Regina Russell
“I am a mother of three beautiful daughters, and I want to be an example to them that they can graduate college at any age. I am a prime example of how important education is to the millennial generation. Today’s world, I believe, requires a degree in order to maintain a life of basic comforts and needs. Thanks to AT&T scholarship, I am closer to reaching my degree. It has allowed me to purchase school items I need, as well as the required books. Thank you, AT&T, for believing in me.”

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Nov. 30, 2016) - - - AT&T presented a $5,000 contribution to Columbia State Community College today to support non-traditional, underserved students preparing for jobs requiring technology-based skills in Tennessee community colleges. 

The donation will fund scholarships to help students begin a path toward completing their college degrees.

“Support from the business community is so important as we work to advance higher education and create a workforce that is ready to meet the needs of Middle Tennessee,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president.  “The programs this contribution will help fund gives our students the skills required to compete in today’s technology based economy."

This donation is part of AT&T’s $65,000 gift to the Tennessee Board of Regents.  Each of the state’s 13 community colleges have received $5,000.

"Our community colleges are instrumental in preparing a workforce that can keep pace with Tennessee’s booming economy," said Sen. Joey Hensley.  "AT&T's commitment to good corporate citizenship, in regards to education, will allow Tennessee's future workforce to reach its full potential reaping benefits for all Tennesseans."

This gift is to award scholarships to encourage students to participate in programs designed to help them succeed in the classroom and be better prepared to enter the workforce. 

“Higher education often creates a pathway to prosperity for those looking to quickly enter the job market and today’s announcement expands that opportunity for more students in Middle Tennessee,” said Rep-Elect Michael Curcio.  “AT&T’s investment in programs like this exemplifies its commitment to furthering education throughout Tennessee.”

In January 2010, the Tennessee legislature approved an aggressive set of steps to increase the completion rates of students within the institutions of higher education in the state.

 “We are delighted to support Tennessee students who are acquiring the skills they need to enter the workforce,” said Kathy Sager, Regional Director of External and Legislative Affairs, AT&T Tennessee.  “Accelerated certificate and degree programs are a great way to ensure our students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate.”

The TBR Office of Academic Affairs developed a curriculum for accelerated pathways for college completion. The goal is to increase completion rates at the TBR community colleges.

TBR created programs of study that encourage and allow students with work and family obligations to enroll on a full-time basis, devoting 20 to 30 hours a week, including online education. Students now have the option to complete required coursework for an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees within three semesters.

Students in these new programs would benefit from scholarships that would enable them to participate fully in the four to five hour blocks of time required to complete an accelerated certificate or degree program.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed Internet and voice services. AT&T is the world’s largest provider of pay TV. AT&T has have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. And helps businesses worldwide serve their customers better with mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

For more information, contact Joe Burgan, AT&T public affairs at: 502.298.5418 or by email at

AT&T Check Presentation

Photo Caption: (Pictured from left to right) Dr. Sean Fox, Columbia State Vice President of Student Affairs; Dr. Margaret Smith, Columbia State provost and executive vice president; Steve Allbrooks, Senior Advisor of Congressman Marsha Blackburn; Kathy Sager, Regional Director, AT&T Tennessee; Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president; Senator Joey Hensley and Representative-Elect Michael Curcio.

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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