(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Dec. 10, 2016) - - - Columbia State Community College celebrated 120 degree and certificate candidates as they crossed the stage in front of family and friends during the commencement ceremony in the Webster Athletic Center Saturday, Dec. 10.
Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, opened the ceremony by welcoming degree candidates, faculty, staff, family, friends and guests.
“Today is a special day at Columbia State. It is a day of celebration of accomplishments,” Smith said. “It’s a day we recognize these graduates and the goals that they have accomplished.”
Smith introduced David Gregory, interim chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, as the guest speaker for the fall commencement ceremony.
“David is a veteran public administrator who has spent his career serving our state,” Smith said. “He is a kind, unique individual who is well respected among the community. We are fortunate that he agreed to be our Chancellor – we are fortunate that he agreed to share his time with us today.”
Gregory congratulated the graduates for their accomplishments and acknowledged the college’s faculty for their dedication to helping many people earn their degrees.
Gregory acknowledged Smith and all of her accomplishments as president. In addition, he spoke of the college’s rich history starting with its inception in 1966.
Gregory asked the graduates to silently reflect on a series of questions about headlines in the news over the past few years – he asked them to name the top five wealthiest people in the world and the last five Miss Americas and he asked students to name 10 individuals that have won the Nobel Prize.
“How did you do?” Gregory asked. “The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These people are the best in their fields, but their achievements are soon forgotten.”
Gregory proceeded to ask the graduates to silently reflect on a second series of questions about those – teachers, friends, mentors, supporters and heroes – who have had an impact on their lives.
“The lesson here is obvious,” Gregory said. “Life is not about personal achievement. Life is about the good you do, the time you give, the help you provide and the love you share. That, that is the essence of life.”
Gregory asked the graduates to view their lives as a continuum where events such as birth, marriage and the birth of a child are tic marks that indicate a significant event.
“Today is one of those significant days for you and your families,” Gregory said. “Today is a day of major achievement. Regardless of what is next on your continuum, understand that today is to be celebrated. You have great privilege, and with that privilege is great responsibility.”
Gregory explained that the graduates are now tasked to give, share, mentor and love others deeply and sincerely.
“Strive to live a life of gratitude,” Gregory said. “That is one of the best kept secrets of success – don’t ever forget to say thank you.”
Before the commencement ceremony, Smith held a reception for the President’s Leadership Society graduates.
“This program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore new concepts and experience different areas outside of their own major,” Smith said. “PLS also encourages and helps students build and maintain relationships, which are essential to success.”
Formed in spring 2011, PLS is a free leadership training program focused on developing a student’s unique leadership skills from their first semester through graduation. The program focuses on participation in college-sponsored programs that promote educational attainment, career choices, volunteerism and civic responsibility.
During the course of the program, students will attend a leadership retreat, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding and give back to the community through volunteerism.
Photo Caption: Lyric McGloffin and Tashana Davis received the President’s Leadership Society medallion for completing all requirements of the leadership training program prior to graduation. Throughout the course of the program, students attend a leadership retreat, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding and give back to the community through service. Pictured, left to right: Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, McGloffin (Mt. Pleasant) and Davis (Gallatin).
Photo Caption: David Gregory, interim chancellor of the TBR, delivers the fall 2016 commencement address to the graduating class.
Photo Caption: Mt. Pleasant (Maury County) resident Lyric McGloffin earned a general transfer Associate of Science degree. She is a graduate of the President’s Leadership Society, former president of the Student Government Association, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Business Club, Culture Club and Gay Straight Alliance and has been a peer leader in addition to being involved in other projects on campus. McGloffin plans to transfer to Trevecca Nazarene University where she will study business administration and public relations.
Photo Caption: Gallatin resident Tashana Davis earned a general transfer Associate of Science degree. Davis plans on attending Tennessee College of Applied Technology to major in nursing. She is a graduate of the President’s Leadership Society and Sigma Kappa Delta. She said that she chose Columbia State because the classes fit into her schedule as a mother and a member of the workforce.
Photo Caption: Dickson resident Mathew Smith earned a general transfer Associate of Science degree. Smith is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was a student worker for the college’s information technology department. Smith plans to transfer to Middle Tennessee State University to earn his bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Photo Caption: Columbia resident De’Andre Davis graduated with an Associate of Science in Teaching degree. Davis was involved in TRIO Student Support Services, which offers academic support, transfer assistance and personal development programming to students at Columbia State. Davis plans to continue his education and earn his bachelor’s degree at MTSU.
Photo Caption (DSC_1545): Columbia resident Chelsea Marshall earned an Associate of Science in Teaching degree. Marshall is a graduate of Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Kappa Delta and was a student ambassador for enrollment services. Marshall said that her favorite thing about Columbia State is that the professors truly care about student success. She will be transferring to MTSU to earn her bachelor’s in teaching, and hopes to teach in the Maury County area.
Photo Caption: Unionville resident Kenlea Gillum earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in business management. Gillum chose Columbia State because the college schedule was flexible so that she could pursue a degree while working and taking care of her son. Gillum said that the Columbia State community feels like family. She plans to work at Aetna in Franklin. Pictured, Gillum and son Tristan.
Photo Caption: Williamson County resident Diamond Zirker graduated with an Associate of Science degree in sociology. Zirker will continue her education at Lipscomb University. In the future, Zirker wants to earn her master’s in sociology and develop a youth enrichment program.
Photo Caption: Columbia resident Matthew Stooksbury earned an Associate of Science degree with a concentration in history. He plans to transfer to MTSU to complete his bachelor’s in history. His plans include traveling and possibly pursing his master’s degree.
Photo Caption: Columbia resident Shananikohl Feather Alsup earned her Associate of Arts degree in public relations. Alsup is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Encounter. Alsup plans to return to Columbia State in the spring to take more classes before deciding her next step.
Photo Caption: Davidson County resident William Sannella earned his Associate of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Sannella worked with Columbia State faculty to implement unmanned aerial systems into the engineering curriculum and was involved in developing an activity for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics “Girls Really Love Science” event. He is currently enrolled at Tennessee Technological University and is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. In the future, he hopes to start a robotics company and produce various applications for robots to complete tasks that are too dangerous for humans to complete.
Photo Caption: The Walsh family accepted a general transfer Associate of Science degree on behalf of John Michael Walsh, a Columbia State student who was killed in a car accident earlier this year. Walsh, an aspiring elementary school teacher, had plans to transfer to MTSU to earn his bachelor’s degree. Pictured, left to right: Matthew Walsh (brother), Olga Walsh (mother), Corey Rogers (friend), Ciara Rogers (friend), Meagan Walsh (sister), Piper Walsh (daughter) and Heather Walsh (wife).
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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