Columbia College awarded 155 undergraduate and graduate degrees at commencement exercises Aug. 5 at College Place United Methodist Church in Columbia.
The college honored 101 Women’s College, evening and online graduates in a morning ceremony and 54 students earning post-graduate degrees in the afternoon. Students earning post-graduate degrees included five international students.
Addressing undergraduates, the Rev. Tiffany D. Knowlin, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Columbia, encouraged graduates “to explore their role in listening to and considering those the world may deem insignificant.”
Knowlin was the first female, first African-American and first person under age 30 to serve as pastor at College Place UMC, where graduation ceremonies were held. She challenged new graduates to be “advocates for people who may not be able to speak for themselves. Will you go to live, work and transform the places where no one else will choose to go?”
A 2003 graduate of Columbia College, Knowlin holds a master of divinity degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and a master of urban policy studies from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. She was recently elected to Columbia College’s Board of Trustees.
Lisa Kennerly Livingston, a 1991 Columbia College alumna and president-elect of the Alumnae Council, delivered the alumnae challenge at both ceremonies.
Dr. Carol A. Moore, college interim president, reminded graduates that though their college time is coming to a close, the term “commencement” signals a beginning.
“Take the degree you have earned, the newly acquired knowledge and experiences, and be a part of transforming our world. As you have grown, help others to grow and reach new heights. You have a responsibility to use your education and your gifts for the betterment of our world.”
Selected among the best in the nation by the National Survey of Student Engagement, the Kellogg Foundation and the Women’s College Coalition, Columbia College ranked 28 in the Best College Reviews Small Colleges Top 50 for 2017-2018 and 47 out of 146 public and private universities from 12 southern states for 2017 by U.S. News and World Report.
Founded in 1854 by the United Methodist Church, Columbia College is one of the nation’s oldest women’s colleges. The evening, online and graduate programs are coeducational.