Apr 19, 2019 | Academics , Student Success

Columbia State Announces Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremonies and Speakers

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – April 19, 2019) - - - For the third consecutive year,Columbia State Community College will celebrate its spring 2019 commencement with two ceremonies on May 4 in the Webster Athletic Center. The first ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and will feature student speaker, Stephen Curley, and the second will begin at 2 p.m. and will feature student speaker, Will Meacham.  

“This is an exciting time for our students and for our college,” saidDr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “This is a time where we celebrate our students’ accomplishments – we applaud the person they have become, are excited about their future, and are proud that they are now a Columbia State alum.”

Curley is graduating from Columbia State with an Associate of Applied Science degree in computer programming. Curley has interned with the Acadia Healthcare IT department since summer 2018. The internship has included field support, software development, web development, application development and database management. Alongside managing school and work, Curley has been involved in his community and Columbia State. 

On Sundays, Curley assists his church by playing bass for the morning service and by serving as an usher. He is also a part of a nonprofit organization called “One Generation Away” that works to eliminate hunger in the U.S. At Columbia State, Curley served as president of the Revive Club where he has had the opportunity to impact students by assisting them on assignments and helping them through life challenges. 

Curley shows diligence in the workplace and in his community through intentional networking with fellow students and coworkers every day. He has been able to tutor a fellow classmate with programming and networking assignments, and witnessed him break through a tough learning curve.

“The student wasn’t confident that he could accomplish his goal of receiving an associate degree,” Curley said. “Now, he has been pushing through rigorous classes.”

The Franklin native will transfer to Middle Tennessee State University fall 2020 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science, with a minor in business administration.

“Stephen leads by example,” said Deepa Janakiraman, Columbia State assistant professor and program director for computer information technology.“He is engaged and eager to learn about all facets of information technology. I am often surprised by the wealth of knowledge this young leader has and his ability to critically think through any type of question to come up with an answer. Stephen shows great promise as a future software developer and I am certain he will continue down this path and be very successful.”

Meacham is a sophomore, mechanical engineering major and is earning his Associate of Science degree. While at Columbia State, Meacham has been involved with many student organizations. He served as vice president of scholarship for Columbia State’s Beta Kappa Theta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and participated in the regional and international conventions. Meacham has also been a student tutor in the Teaching and Learning Center, where he has assisted students in subjects such as calculus, physics, engineering, history and chemistry.

In addition, Meacham has given his time to many community service projects including Science Olympiad, STEM GiRLS, multiple Phi Theta Kappa food drives and assisted the Student Veterans Organization with their Veterans History Project. While doing so, he has also encouraged many students to become more active and participate in numerous activities during their time at Columbia State.

Meacham was recently selected for the 2019 PTK All-Tennessee Academic Team to recognize his academic achievement, leadership and service in his community. Apart from his studies, he has earned a certification as a blacksmith from the Rutherford County Blacksmith Association. 

The Chapel Hill native will transfer to Tennessee Technological University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He ultimately plans to earn a master’s degree and work as a professional engineer before teaching in higher education.

“Will is an all-around great student,” said Mandy Carter-Lowe, Columbia State associate professor of biology and PTK advisor. “Through his involvement with PTK, I’ve had the privilege of watching him grow into a leader. He embodies the four hallmarks of PTK which are scholarship, fellowship, leadership and service. One of his strongest attributes is making those around him feel welcomed and valued. I’ve seen this in his work with PTK as well as his work as one of the college’s tutors. He is not only respected by his fellow PTK chapter members at Columbia State, but he has made connections with students in other chapters from across the state and the nation.”

The commencement ceremonies will be streamed live for remote viewing. The 10 a.m. ceremony can be found at https://livestream.com/accounts/26286614/events/8634241.The 2 p.m. ceremony can be found at https://livestream.com/accounts/26286614/events/8634246.

For the safety of students, faculty, staff and guests, security personnel will conduct a speedy inspection of all bags, purses and containers. The following items will not be allowed inside or outside during the commencement ceremonies: weapons, alcohol, laser pointers, lawn chairs, drones, glass containers or any other item deemed unacceptable by Columbia State security or staff. 

For a full list of prohibited items, parking, special seating information or further details regarding commencement, please visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/Graduation

Guests should plan to arrive early as seating is limited. Overflow seating will be available in the Ledbetter Auditorium in the Frank G. Clement building. The Webster Athletic Center and the Frank G. Clement Building are on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike.

Photo Caption: Will Meacham

Photo Caption: 
Stephen Curley