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Midwest Campus Clash draws large, excited crowd to Southwell Complex

Posted by on Apr 14, 2017 in Events, Featured Story | 0 comments

Midwest Campus Clash draws large, excited crowd to Southwell Complex

Lights flashed, music blared, and Columbia College eSports coach Duong Pham paced excitedly on the Southwell Complex court as his players made final preparations for their semifinal League of Legends match against Robert Morris at the Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo on Saturday, April 8.

“I’m so hyped for this,” Pham said.

He wasn’t alone.

Earlier in the day, when the host Cougars took down Ohio State to reach the semifinals, the atmosphere was transcendent. The hometown crowd cheered for every kill or assist registered by a Columbia College gamer, every “rampage,” every turret and inhibitor destroyed and, finally, when the Cougars took down Ohio State’s nexus to end the game.

Spectators take in the League of Legends tournament at Columbia College’s inaugural Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo on Saturday, April 8.
(Photo by Kaci Smart)

The players plied their trade behind computer monitors on a raised stage underneath an enormous video screen, with “Shoutcasters” broadcasting the action to the room. The spectators gathered on the court below, transfixed.

“There was a lot of energy, and I thought it was a pretty knowledgeable crowd. They knew what they were cheering for,” said Dr. Scott Dalrymple, president of Columbia College. “I know it must’ve been a really big moment for the team. It shows Columbia College is a serious place for serious gamers.”

The inaugural Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo drew more than 1,000 people to Southwell Complex for the one-day event. The League of Legends tournament, involving seven of the top eSports teams in the region battling for a trophy and a pool of $25,000 in scholarship prize money, was the main attraction, but it was far from the only thing to draw attendees’ attention.

Exhibits around Southwell Complex included a classic gaming lounge with Nintendo and Super Nintendo systems, a virtual reality station, a fastest lap competition on the Forza racing game and a gigantic screen on which people could play the classic video game Pong.

At the opposite end from the League of Legends action, the Collegiate Starleague held the North American finals for the Madden 17 football game on both PlayStation4 and Xbox, complete with bleachers, a fake turf playing surface and Shoutcasters of its own.

Dalrymple, who famously challenged Columbia College students to a Madden tournament when he became president in 2014, was an interested observer. If not exactly an eager participant.

“My lack of prowess is well-documented,” Dalrymple said. “I’ll play Pong against anybody who wants to, but that’s about it.”

Even though the Midwest Campus Clash was only in its first year of existence, everything had the look and feel of a more established event. Dalrymple heard from people throughout the day who said that Columbia College’s gaming bonanza went toe-to-toe with other events they’ve attended around the country.

“I’ve been really happy with the support that the Columbia College community and the Columbia community has given this event,” Columbia College eSports director Bryan Curtis said. “I think everybody was blown away. The facility has been completely transformed, so it’s not like it is when they’re used to coming in here for a basketball game or a volleyball game. Everybody has just absolutely loved it.”

Coach Duong Pham and the Columbia College eSports team prepare for their quarterfinal match against Ohio State.
(Photo by Kaci Smart)

On the main stage, Ian Alexander was officially on a rampage. Columbia College’s sophomore top-laner had piloted his character, Fizz — an amphibious-looking being with a trident who, the Shoutcasters said, was an unconventional choice for top lane — to three straight kills and was sporting nine kills and assists against zero deaths in the first game against Robert Morris.

Sophomore mid-laner Jonathan Song was inflicting damage and setting up kills for freshmen RJ Bohnak and Gabe Eckenroth, while junior Dean Wood lent support.

“Columbia College, you guys are so scrappy,” the Shoutcasters called. “What the heck?”

In the end, though, Robert Morris proved to be too much for the Cougars. The Eagles, who became the first college team in the nation to offer eSports scholarships in 2014, took two straight games to knock Columbia College out of the tournament, just as they did in the North Regional semifinals of the uLOL Campus Series Tournament three weeks earlier to end the Cougars’ inaugural season ranked in the top 16 of the more than 200 teams that competed in the tournament. Robert Morris went on to win the $15,000 grand prize at the Midwest Campus Clash, Maryville took second and $5,000, and Columbia College and Grand Valley State shared third and each took home $2,500.

“We played very well this time. We gave them a run for their money,” Pham said. “Each time we play them, we learn a little more. We’re not there yet, where we’re taking games off them or anything, but we’re getting there.”

Who’s up for a rematch next year? Columbia College will host.

“It’s always been my vision that gamers throughout the Midwest will ask each other, ‘Are you going to Columbia this year?’ Our name will become synonymous with innovation and excellence,” Dalrymple said. “Next year will be even better.”

Check out the photo gallery below for images from the Midwest Campus Clash!

Lindy West discusses unique challenges women face in society

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Events, Featured Story | 0 comments

Lindy West discusses unique challenges women face in society

Before Lindy West’s readers knew what she looked like, the negative comments her work received centered on the impersonal: the content of her pieces for the Seattle weekly publication The Stranger, her ideas, her style of writing.

Author and activist Lindy West signs copies of her book after her Women’s History Month lecture at Columbia College.
(Photo by Kaci Smart)

She remembers the first personal one, the first one that referenced her appearance. It hit the internet on June 9, 2009, at 11:54 p.m. They haven’t stopped for the past eight years.

“While the tenor of my commenters was often snide and disdainful, they stuck to hating the message, not the messenger,” West told a room of around 100 attendees in Columbia College’s Bixby Lecture Hall on March 20. “Those years were liberating in a way I can barely imagine now.”

West, a columnist for The Guardian newspaper whose 2016 memoir Shrill was a New York Times best-seller, served as the keynote speaker for Columbia College Women’s History Month programming, which all centered around the theme of “Building Women’s Futures: Women and Work in the 21st Century.”

For West, a feminist and body image activist who uses her writing as a megaphone for these issues, internet “trolls” — commenters who post abusive messages about other people online — are a way of life in her workplace.

Her experience is not unique among female writers.

“Not only are we expected to grow thicker skin and get used to it, but (we’re told) it’s a part of the job, that it’s normal,” West said. “It’s not normal.”

Earlier in the day, during a session with Columbia College associate professor of history Dr. Tonia Compton’s Women’s History class, West worried the stream of abuse reserved for women has a chilling effect on younger writers seeking a platform to express themselves.

She heard from students about confronting trolls, from arguing with them to taking down Tumblr microblogging pages so they wouldn’t be able to access personal information.

“When you feel invisible forces like this holding you back, believe yourself,” West said. “It is not part of your job, no matter how effectively the idea that it is has been coded into our society. You are not imagining it. Sexism is real. It has been documented over and over and over again. You are already experiencing it. You have experienced it your entire life, and you will experience it your entire life. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can start fighting for yourself and the people around you.”

Compton, who chairs the Columbia College Women’s History Month Committee, felt West’s voice was an important one to include because of the prominence she has earned with her work and the abuse she’s endured from being an outspoken woman along the way.

“If you’ve spent any time online in the last year or so, you’ve seen arguments about equal pay and harassment in the workplace,” Compton said. “We felt like this was a conversation that needed to happen on campus. What are the ways in which gender and work intersect? What are the challenges that we’re facing now and going forward? And how do we prepare our students and communities to make things better?”

During West’s talk in Bixby, which preceded a question-and-answer session and a reception at which West signed copies of her book, she outlined several recent examples of sexism highlighted in popular media, including an experiment undertaken by two co-workers — one male, one female — in which they switched names on their email signatures for a week to see what happened.

The man suddenly found his clients rude, condescending and unwilling to take his advice. The woman had a much easier time than she was used to experiencing.

“You have to be invested in not paying attention to believe that this isn’t real,” West said. “One of the most insidious features of sexism is the endless demand that its victims prove its existence.”

West has a national following with her writing, two more books in the works and is in the midst of developing a TV show based on Shrill.

She feels the privilege of being able to lend voice to the voiceless. She urges more people to take that step.

“The more we are afraid to tell our own stories, the more that void is filled by opportunists and people who want to tell a different story,” West said. “Support people who are speaking out about their experiences. Because they really need backup.”

‘Night of Unity’ highlights diversity of Columbia College campus

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Events, Featured Story | 0 comments

‘Night of Unity’ highlights diversity of Columbia College campus

Bixby Lecture Hall was filled to capacity for Columbia College’s inaugural “A Night of Unity” talent showcase Feb. 22.

Columbia College student Sarah Richardson performs a spoken-word presentation at the “A Night of Unity” talent showcase.
(Photo by Camille Mahs)

Director of New Student Programs Kim Coke took the packed auditorium as an encouraging sign of the importance supporting diversity holds for a sizable segment of the Columbia College community.

“I’ve been at Columbia College 17 years. Tonight is the pinnacle of my career,” Coke said. “It is incredible to see the amount of support we have on our campus. It fills me with pride that I can say that I’m part of the Columbia College community.”

“A Night of Unity” served as a way to celebrate the uniqueness and accepting nature that permeates Columbia College. The Student Affairs office’s Diversity Action Team put out a call all over main campus for performers to highlight the kindness and care that exist within the college community.

In the end, 16 acts including more than 60 Columbia College students signed up to be heard, sharing their talent in everything from song and dance, to spoken word presentations, to performance art, to animation.

“How do we meet the students where they are and still be able to infuse an educational, intentional experience for students?” Coke said. “There’s a lot of creativity on campus. Arts are a great way to convey the message.”

Throughout the event, which was co-sponsored by the college’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, videos reinforced the themes of acceptance and love, culminating in a video produced by the Diversity Action Team and the video production team from the Marketing department in which Columbia College students and staff shared their appreciation of the diversity on campus.

The Jane Froman Singers started out the night with a rendition of “Let My Love Be Heard,” and a cappella versions of The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?” and The Turtles’ “Happy Together” followed later in the program.

Bixby also served as a place where students could give voice to some of the racial tensions that still haunt society. Ivana Easley read an original poem called “What Are You?” about her experience growing up as a mixed-race woman, and Sarah Richardson performed a piece, originally by Tolu Obiwole and Ashia Ajani, called “Black College,” about being an African-American student going to school at a mostly white institution.

“There are questions that I’m always asking as a result,” Richardson said during the performance. “Am I the space left over? Your diversity quota? A box checked ‘yes’ for ‘ethnic?’ Did you accept me, hire me, kiss me for my skin or for who I am? Am I enough? Am I what you expected? Am I qualified? Or just black?”

Coke shared her own story about trying to help African-American friends avoid the anger and hate speech flowing from protestors when racial discord broke out at her high school during the desegregation movement in St. Louis during the 1980s.

“All across campus, we’ve heard the conversations that are unfolding: in living rooms, residence halls, classrooms, and in small spaces that feel safe enough to house those kinds of conversations,” Coke said. “This is an opportunity to give voice to these more intimate moments as we question our humanity.”

At a reception following the event, attendees were encouraged to sign their name to a pledge that they would “demonstrate empathy when listening to others,” “look inward in order to examine our actions and reactions” and “see both the diversity and unity in humanity.”

The hope is that Columbia College students, in the words of a spoken-word performance that student Kate McHughs set to animation, are part of the “generation screaming and fighting for unity and peace, and we will win. Because love always wins.”

Check out a photo gallery of the event below, from student photographer Camille Mahs.

Author and activist Lindy West headlines Women’s History Month events

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Events, Featured Story | 0 comments

Author and activist Lindy West headlines Women’s History Month events

On March 20, students in Tonia Compton’s Women’s History class will get the chance to share some one-on-one time with a woman who’s in the process of making some history of her own.

Lindy West, a New York Times best-selling author, will speak at Bixby Lecture Hall on March 20 as part of Columbia College’s Women’s History Month celebration.

Lindy West, the New York Times best-selling author and women’s rights and body image activist, will serve as the main event for Columbia College’s Women’s History Month programming this year, a monthlong celebration that culminates in a talk by West at 7 p.m. on March 20 in Bixby Lecture Hall.

Earlier that day, West will be a special guest in Compton’s class.

“To give them the opportunity to be exposed to a national speaker of that caliber is such an incredible opportunity,” said Compton, an associate professor of History at Columbia College. “That’s the sort of opportunity very few people get, to be able to interact with her and have a chance to talk with her. When we do Women’s History Month, the Schiffman Lecture and other events like that, we’re really proud to be able to bring in these national speakers and give our students these opportunities.”

This year, the Women’s History Month theme at Columbia College is “Building Women’s Futures: Women and Work in the 21st Century.” That conforms nicely to the theme set forth by the National Women’s History Project: “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.”

Compton says that is a happy accident. The college’s planning committee came up with this year’s theme before the national organization announced the nationwide one.

“The workplace now is not so clearly defined,” Compton said. “There used to be a clear set of women’s work that women did outside the home. We’ve worked really hard at eradicating those stereotypes, but they’re still with us.

“(The national theme) just kind of reinforced that there is a national conversation happening about this issue: women in the workplace, what that means and the various issues tied to that.”

West has written and spoken extensively on the subject of subverting gender norms in her work as a columnist for The Guardian newspaper, a contributor on the radio show This American Life and in her best-selling 2016 memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. In December, the entertainment publication Variety reported that actress Elizabeth Banks’ production company has optioned the rights to Shrill for a half-hour show.

West will be available to sign copies of Shrill for students, faculty, staff and members of the Columbia community in attendance at a reception after her talk in Bixby on March 20.

“She’s being incredibly generous with her time. It demonstrates how important women’s issues are to her,” Compton said. “Shrill is just such a phenomenal book. To get a chance to hear more about that from her and ask her more questions about that, especially in light of the current political climate, I think that’ll be really interesting, to see her take on how we’ve seen a rise in women’s activism and where that’s going.”

Columbia College’s Women’s History Month events start off with a brown bag lunch discussion of gender, vocation and occupation at 11:15 a.m. on March 2 in the Lee Room of Dulany Hall. A screening of the film North Country — starring Charlize Theron and depicting the first successful major sexual harassment case in the United States — will follow at 6 p.m. on March 9 in the Lee Room.

A “Meet Your Future” panel will take place from 3-5 p.m. on March 15 in Dorsey Gym, in which community members who work in non-traditional professions for their gender will lead a discussion of work and gender stereotypes. The panel will include: former Boone County Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller; Columbia Police Department Deputy Chief Jill Schlude; Sarah Kovaleski, director of engineering design at Ameren Missouri; Columbia College alum Anne Churchill, owner and event and wedding planner at AnnaBelle Events and owner of Jubilee Planning Studio; and others.

“We always want our students to come out of these experiences thinking about how this impacts their life. Whether that’s the decision to pursue something they wanted to, or for a girl to say, ‘You know? You’re right. I can be a’ fill in the blank,” Compton says. “Maybe they already made that decision and need to hear from somebody else that, yeah, it’s OK for women to do that kind of work, or it’s OK for men to do that kind of work. Society doesn’t have to tell you that that’s not normal for a boy or a girl. Just to see that and get that reinforcement, or to be inspired to try something new or different that they maybe didn’t think was possible.”

Nobel Prize winner to give Schiffman Ethics lecture March 8

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Events, Featured Story, Instagram | 1 comment

Nobel Prize winner to give Schiffman Ethics lecture March 8

Columbia College students who are eager to make a difference in the world but struggling with how to start can look to this year’s Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture speaker for guidance.

Jody Williams shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize with an organization she helped found — the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) — after the ICBL helped join 122 nations together to sign a treaty banning the use, production, sale and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines.

She served as the founding coordinator and campaign ambassador for the ICBL, as well as its chief strategist and spokesperson, as the initiative grew to include more than 1,300 non-governmental organizations in more than 85 countries.

Williams followed her passions from her hometown of Putney, Vermont — population: less than 3,000 — to the Nobel Prize. She was only the third American woman and 10th woman of any nationality to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

“People say, ‘Well, what can I do?’ She’s an example of a small-town, Vermont girl who went out and did something,” said Dr. Anthony Alioto, Columbia College professor of History and the Schiffman Chair in Ethics, Religious Studies & Philosophy. “It takes a lot of persistence. You have to put up with a lot of stuff. But the goal is peace. How we live with each other is one of the great ethical questions of all societies.”

Williams’ talk, “The Ethics of Foreign Policy,” takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, in Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium. She is the 15th speaker since the college’s Althea W. and John A. Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture Series started in 2003.

Paired with the annual Schiffman Lecture in Religious Studies in the fall, the Ethics in Society lecture strives to engage students, faculty and the Columbia community in discussions about ethical issues surrounding contemporary events.

“(Williams) is an outspoken peace activist,” Alioto said. “She believes that working for peace — because there are so many forces arrayed against a person like this — requires a lot of dogged persistence. And not for the faint of heart.

“Landmines: once the war is over, everybody goes home. Who cares about the landmines? The problem is landmines don’t know the war is over. So they keep giving, you might say. A lot of that is the destruction of civilians, children especially. It’s disastrous. It brings a lot of suffering.”

Williams made the effort to ban landmines, along with raising awareness of the devastation caused by them, into her life’s work. She has spoken on the issue at such international bodies as the United Nations, the European Parliament and the Organization of African Unity. She has written on the topic for journals produced by the U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among other publications, co-authored a study detailing the socio-economic consequences of landmine contamination and is the author of two books — Banning Landmines: Disarmament, Citizen Diplomacy, and Human Security and her memoir, My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize.

She started her career as a humanitarian working in Central America. This is where she first cultivated an interest in the fight against landmines, as part of her duties involved providing artificial limbs to children who had lost arms and legs to landmines in El Salvador in the 1980s.

Williams and the ICBL put talk into action.

“It’s not just complaining, it’s actually going out and doing something,” Alioto said. “You could barely get 122 nations to agree on food. (The treaty) is a real accomplishment.”

You can support programs such as the Schiffman Lecture series by making a gift to the Columbia College Fund at

Charter Day Celebration honors achievements of past presidents

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Events | 0 comments

Charter Day Celebration honors achievements of past presidents

The more Dr. Scott Dalrymple looked into Luella St. Clair Moss, the more he realized how formidable she was.

Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple speaks at the 2017 Charter Day Celebration, accompanied by a portrait of former president Luella St. Clair Moss.
(Photo by Kaci Smart)

Dalrymple, the current Columbia College president, used this year’s Charter Day Celebration as an opportunity to brush up on Moss, who served three terms as the college’s president between 1893 and 1920, back when it was known as Christian College.

“The more I learned, I don’t think I would want to tussle with Luella St. Clair,” Dalrymple said during a speech in Dorsey Gym on Thursday, Jan. 19, to commemorate Columbia College earning its charter on Jan. 18, 1851.

When St. Clair took over after the death of her husband and presidential predecessor, Frank, she was only 28 years old. So not only was she one of the first female college presidents in the U.S., she was one of the youngest presidents regardless of gender.

By 1899, she had survived a bout of double pneumonia, and she and Emma Moore were owners and co-presidents of Christian College. When St. Clair wanted to leave to become president at her alma mater, Hamilton (Kentucky) College, in 1903, the board of trustees reacted unfavorably, hinting it may sue and halting production on what is now known as Launer Auditorium.

St. Clair calmly reminded them of a certain fact.

“She owned the college. I guess that would work, if you owned the place,” Dalrymple said. “There’s a quote from a (University of Missouri) person that called her, ‘a steam engine in petticoats.’ She had that gear. She was a smart lady and often got her way, because she was arguing from a standpoint of strength.”

Dalrymple served as the main speaker for this year’s Charter Day Celebration, educating the gathered crowd with a continuation of the talks he gave on the college’s early presidents from his first two annual Charter Day addresses. This one covered the years 1893-1920, when St. Clair — who added “Moss” to her last name upon her marriage to Dr. Woodson Moss in 1912 — and Moore helped guide Christian College through two bank panics, an outbreak of typhoid fever and the “Great Panty Raid of 1908.”

Through it all, the two served as strong female leaders for an institution founded upon the principle of providing a quality education for women, a fairly revolutionary idea in the mid-19th century.

Moss oversaw the construction of St. Clair Hall, named in honor of her husband and daughter Annilee, who died at age 11 in 1900, and the start of Launder Auditorium during her second stint as president. Over her final term, from 1909-1920, Dorsey and Missouri halls both went up, along with Rogers Gate.

Those five structures are still the “face of our campus,” in Dalrymple’s words.

“All I’ve got is the Quad, which just doesn’t compare,” Dalrymple said, with a laugh. “It’s really, really impressive. Not just her, but what she was able to work with so many people to make happen. It largely was her force of will that made those things happen.”

Dalrymple spoke at a lectern next to the portrait of Moss that hangs in St. Clair Hall. It was cleaned and restored for the ceremony, which ended with the Jane Froman Singers performing a tuneful rendition of the 1854 Stephen Collins Foster classic “Hard Times.”

“She accomplished all of those things in a country where women did not have the right to vote,” Dalrymple said. “To me, that takes the accomplishment of Luella St. Clair to the level of ‘legendary.’ She was an amazing figure, and we’re just lucky to have had her in our past.”

Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo to feature top collegiate eSports teams in U.S.

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Events, Featured Story | 1 comment

Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo to feature top collegiate eSports teams in U.S.

Touted as one of the largest new eSports and gaming events in the United States, the inaugural Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo (@MWCampusClash on Twitter) is coming to Columbia College on April 8. The event will bring some of the top collegiate eSports teams in the Midwest together in Columbia, Missouri, to compete for a $25,000 prize pool. In addition to the live tournament viewing space, the Expo area will include a range of gaming experiences for all ages, plus food trucks and an exhibitor space to sample the latest gaming gear.

The Expo area will also play host to the finals of the Collegiate Star League’s (CSL) Madden NFL Championship Series, part of a partnership between the CSL and EA Sports. Students from across North America will have the opportunity to represent their school and have a shot at $10,000 in prize money.

“We want to provide the ultimate gaming showcase in the Midwest and beyond for everyone who attends this event,” Columbia College president Scott Dalrymple said. “The Midwest Campus Clash is designed to not only focus on eSports, but also provide a look at some of the cutting-edge gaming technology that is coming in the future.”

After a month-long League of Legends elimination tournament, eight of the Midwest’s best collegiate eSports teams will emerge to battle for a $15,000 top prize. The second-place team will receive $5,000 and third and fourth-place teams will each receive $2,500. Games will start at 10 a.m. and will be called by professional Shoutcasters live in the arena.

Visit for complete details on the event and for sponsorship opportunities, or contact Columbia College Director of eSports Bryan Curtis at

About the game League of Legends?

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game where teams battle to destroy the opposing team’s “nexus.” Click here to learn more!

Columbia College employees come together for United Way

Posted by on Dec 22, 2016 in Events, Faculty/Staff | 0 comments

Columbia College employees come together for United Way

It’s the stories that really drive the meaning of the campaign home.

Columbia College faculty and staff members know that, when they donate to the Heart of Missouri United Way, they are helping out the community in which they live. When they hear how one of their own has been touched by one of the 33 United Way-affiliated community organizations, the impact becomes even more tangible.

At the Walking Taco Extravaganza in Dorsey Gym on Nov. 2 — the centerpiece of Columbia College’s annual United Way fundraising drive — associate director of Alumni Relations Carolyn Preul related how she and her husband adopted their two children through Lutheran Family and Children’s Services, an agency to which the United Way provides funding.

Things got emotional.

“As I looked around the room, I realized there were not a lot of dry eyes at the event,” said Jennifer Truesdale, the Heart of Missouri United Way’s strategic marketing and communications director and former Columbia College Public Relations coordinator. “It touched a lot of people. That’s the perfect example of a lot of people who are receiving United Way services.”

Through a month’s worth of signing up for payroll deduction, buying Jeans Day tickets and putting in for raffle prizes, Columbia College employees raised $13,283 for the United Way.

Assistant director of campus support for Adult Higher Education Suzanne Hickman, who took over as the college’s United Way Committee chair for Truesdale earlier this year, learned about the effect the organization has on the community by working at the United Way for five weeks as a “loaned executive” last year.

She was encouraged by the generosity her fellow Columbia College employees showed.

“They’re giving when they might need it themselves, but they see the benefit of having an organization if times call for it,” Hickman said. “The college is part of the community. So when you have an organization that’s working to support the community and make the community better, it can do nothing but help the college to be involved in such a cause.”

Faculty and staff had an opportunity to give back to their school as well, through a “We Are CC” employee giving campaign that ran in tandem with the United Way one.

The push, one of a series of initiatives throughout the year to donate to Columbia College, netted $5,942 from 17 employees, including one-time gifts, new payroll deductions and upgrades to existing ones.

“The gifts from employees help us improve our scholarship offerings for deserving students nationwide,” said Beth McWilliams, associate director of annual giving. “Support from employees also allow us to address unique initiatives within and across the college, as well as help us fund experiential learning for students through internship programs and opportunities to study abroad.”

In its third year, the “Walking Taco” event allowed participants to enjoy a unique take on the Tex-Mex food staple while earning perks for their donations, such as “wear jeans to work” stickers and being entered into raffles for prizes ranging from swag bags to priority parking spots. The campaign also included a stop at the school’s Federal Hall location in downtown Columbia.

Truesdale, who worked at Columbia College for more than three years, was happy to see the school’s United Way committee is in good hands with Hickman.

“I really look forward to knowing that this relationship is going to continue. I’m so grateful to Suzanne Hickman and everybody on the committee who picked up the event where it left off and just kept forging ahead with it,” Truesdale said. “She was the perfect person to take over.”

The United Way campaign, along with campus organizations with similar goals such as the Relay for Life team, show the spirit of philanthropy that permeates throughout Columbia College.

“It literally takes pennies at a time, a couple dollars here or there where you feel inclined. It keeps this spirit year-round,” Preul said. “It’s really nice that we’re all in a group where we all have that same mentality, that giving is important.”

Ideas and Innovation Summit inspires Rolla area students

Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Events, Rolla | 0 comments

Ideas and Innovation Summit inspires Rolla area students

fullsizerenderWith a focus on education, innovation and economic development in rural America, Columbia College-Rolla partnered with former Columbia College professor Dr. Sean Siebert to host the third annual Ideas and Innovation Summit on December 6. The Summit, which has established itself to be the largest youth innovation summit in the state of Missouri, was a great success and will continue to be an annual event for the region.

The event has received nationwide recognition and accolades throughout the state of Missouri. Columbia College-Rolla location director Mike Lederle and his staff welcomed more than 300 high school students, teachers, administrators, speakers and local business owners to the event.

“This was an opportunity for students from around the area to share their vision of what entrepreneurship and innovation means to them,” Lederle said. “We truly appreciate the work Dr. Siebert and all of the area high school administrators do and for allowing us to host this fantastic event on campus.”

Several student entrepreneurs were featured throughout the day, including Brandyn Chambers ’16. His company “Flydra Creative” digital animation studio, has won numerous awards in area pitch competitions, including the Audience Choice Award at the recent “Bringing up Business” pitch competition held on the main campus of Columbia College.img_2160

“The Summit plays an instrumental role in the future of workforce and community development,” Siebert said. “It is a full day of speakers and networking intended to encourage graduating high school seniors to follow their dreams as they enter college and the workforce. If an attendee was inspired or called to action, the opportunity to change their life moving forward was literally 10 feet away. They literally walked over to a booth and grabbed an application to a college, or met an HR recruiter for a job, or volunteered for a non-profit right there on the spot. The Summit was meaningful, it was impactful and, for some, it was truly life-changing.”

The event merged a motivational seminar and a college/career fair together. Through this, the Summit instilled valuable “life lessons” through keynote speakers and created opportunity through the post-secondary institutions and employers that exhibited at the event. The concept is truly a win-win-win for school districts, employers and post-secondary institutions. Among the attendees were high school students from St. James, Sullivan, Steelville, Salem, Cuba and Bourbon.

CC through the photographer’s lens – 2016

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Alumni, Day Campus, Events, Featured Story | 0 comments

CC through the photographer’s lens – 2016

In the summer of 2015, CC Connected asked Columbia College photographer and 2009 alumna Kaci

Photographer Kaci Smart '09

Photographer Kaci Smart ’09

Smart to tell us a little bit about some of her favorite pictures that have come out of the more than 1,000 events and photo shoots she has cataloged during her time working at the college.

Then Kaci just kept taking more amazing pictures over the past 16 months, so we felt like it was time to catch up with her again. As 2016 draws to a close, here are some of Kaci’s favorite photographs from the year that was.

An Earth Day Visitor

April 21, 2016



KS: “The College hosted a few different events on campus for Earth Day this year, and the University of Missouri Raptor Rehabilitation Project brought along a great horned owl. It was a unique experience to be able to take photos of an owl on campus and I like how Dorsey Hall serves as such a strong background in this photo. The owl handler is a former Columbia College student and the student taking the cell phone photo ended up working as a student photographer for me this semester.”

Finals Week

May 4, 20165-4-16_eap_studentsfinalsweekahsc_pr_ks_img_9651

KS: “On a campus full of students cramming for finals, I found a solitary one nestled in a quiet corner of Atkins-Holman Student Commons. I love how the lines of the building and windows lead your eye into the photo and frame the student, and the lines are contrasted by the chairs strewn about the area. There is also a great deal of contrasting light and color which makes the photo stand out to me.”

Col. Charles McGee at Military Recognition Day

May 26, 2016


KS: “I always like these sorts of pictures within a picture. That’s Col. Charles McGee ’78 in the light blue blazer, an alumnus who is a National Aviation Hall of Famer and flew 409 fighter missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was in town for our annual Military Recognition Day, and our Development director Keith McIver snapped a picture of McGee and an admirer. There are a lot of blue tones in this photo that really stand out to me.”

Constructing the Quad

June 8, 2016



KS: “You see the Quad now as a finished product, but it was fascinating to be able to chronicle its construction. In walking through the chaos that was the Quad in its early days, you can see an underground tunnel from Columbia College days gone by.”

The Game Hut

June 23, 2016


KS: “It was right around noon and the sun was in a really great spot for me to be able to capture a huge sunburst over the roof of the Game Hut, the home of our new eSports team. I like lens flare effects in photos but often have to avoid them since I am usually taking photos of people and I don’t want light spots over people’s faces. Campus building photos tend to be a good opportunity to be creative with lens flares to create additional interest in photos.”

Valerie Wedel

Affinity magazine, Summer 2016


KS: “This is alumna Valerie Wedel, tending to one of her art installations. We shot this in Missouri Theatre, which is always a really neat place to shoot. There are so many contrasting textures and lighting in this piece. Plus, the angle of the background going off-scene makes for an interesting photo.”

Storm the Gate

Aug. 28, 2016


KS: “These two photos may look posed, but they’re not. The men’s and women’s basketball teams congregated on the curb on either side of the stairs leading up to the St. Clair Hall entrance during our annual ‘Storm the Gate’ event to kick off the school year on Bass Commons.”

Quad Panoramics

August-September 2016



KS: “I love panoramic shots in general, but especially when I’m shooting the Quad. There is so much to the Quad that, to really do the whole span of it justice, you kind of have to do a panoramic to get even close to all of it in one shot. The top picture is an evening shot, which made for darker, more saturated colors. We’ve used this photo in all sorts of media, but the bottom one hasn’t been as widely circulated. I like it because it covers a lot of the Quad while also getting Atkins-Holman and Williams and Dorsey halls in the background. It gives a little different perspective than the top picture because it’s shooting in the other direction from the other side of Alumni Fountain.”

Alumni Fountain Unveiling

Aug. 29, 2016


KS: “I took this just as Alumni Fountain was turning on for the first time, on the first day of the fall semester. Notice President Scott Dalrymple off to the right, seeming to summon the water up with his left arm. A lot of people showed up for the event, and it was awesome to see everyone’s excitement in the moment.”

Connor Doyle

Sept. 29, 2016


KS: “It’s always fun to shoot inside the Game Hut because of its interesting ceiling lighting fixture that can change color. This is eSports player Connor Doyle posing in the team’s arena. I especially like how the angle of the logo slants on the wall behind him, leading the eye toward the subject of the picture.”