June 22, 2023

"COLUMBIA — Over three years, the president of the small, private Columbia College has watched his campus bounce back from an enrollment drop and accreditation troubles. In July, Tom Bogart will leave the college with a growing, newly co-ed student body, successful academic endeavors and an updated campus.

Columbia College has a student population of about 1,400 as of 2022 with only 400 of them living on the city-block sized campus in North Columbia. The school started in 1854 as an all-female Methodist college educating white women to become teachers. The college has gone through much growth, becoming co-ed as recently as 2020, but has stuck to its roots. 

Students and faculty knock on the president’s office window while walking between classes to wave hello to Bogart. He has made an attempt to learn everyone’s name each year. Bogart says he never quite achieved that, but he’s gotten close.

“I got into college leadership because I wanted to have a huge impact on the world,” he said. “They say, ‘Well, why do you work in small colleges?’ Because the way to have huge impact on the world is one person at a time.”

On July 17, Bogart will hand the reins over to John Dozier. Dozier, formerly an administrator at the University of South Carolina, is making his return to Columbia from his position as an institute community and equity officer at MIT. He’ll return to lead a Columbia College that has gone co-ed and pulled state recognition for new education programs since the time Dozier left USC in 2020."


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