December 10, 2021

Rev. Becky Shirley speaks to graduatesCOLUMBIA, S.C., December 10, 2021 – The tests are taken, the essays are edited, the grades are in, and the tassels have been turned. The finish line has been reached. Graduates gathered alongside their families and friends to celebrate the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. With 196 total graduates—120 graduate students and 76 undergraduate students— Columbia College has much to celebrate. Well over half of the graduate students (75) are receiving a Master of Education in Trauma-Informed Education, a program providing candidates with an understanding of how childhood trauma, mental health, and poverty impact students’ ability to learn. Keynote speaker Rev. Becky Shirley (Columbia College Class of 1984) addressed and advised graduates to embrace the fullness of life as they enter this next chapter, taking with them the values instilled in them over the last four years. The graduates entered Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center as students, and they exited as alumni. Regardless of their new titles, the hope is that these graduates recognize Columbia College will always be home.

Many students, parents, grandparents, and support systems will hold December 10 near and dear to their hearts for years to come, but none so much as Natasha Seymore, graduating with a master’s degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Hospital Administration. She grew up on Columbia College Drive, right next door to her grandmother and grandfather, former President of Columbia College, Dr. Ralph T. Mirse. For Natasha, this milestone symbolizes a promise kept. The life-long healthcare professional, wife, and mother utilized the Online MBA Program, which made fulfilling this promise a possibility for her at age 50, living in Clinton, SC, while working full-time in Greenwood, SC, and managing a family. Natasha has had every reason NOT to fulfill the promise she made to herself and to her grandfather, but today she received her diploma after maintaining nearly a 4.0 grade point average. After nearly 40 years, Columbia College called her home.

Natasha is not alone. She stands alongside 195 other graduates – undergraduate, graduate, online, evening, and day students alike, as they celebrate the immense relief and joy of a job well-done. President of Columbia College Tom Bogart remarks, “Today, Columbia College sent forth a new class of professionals, prepared to take hold of their careers and live lives of impact, and we could not be more proud. The legacy they have left with us is unmatched.” This time of year, many are called home for the holidays. However, as we send our graduates into the world, we hope they know that their home is Columbia College...not just during the holidays, but always.


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