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Seaman-to-Admiral program helps Naval students become officers

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in CCIS Homepage Headlines, Coast Guard Island, Fort Drum, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Sill, Fort Stewart, Fort Worth, Guantanamo Bay, Hunter Army Airfield, Lake County, Lemoore, Military, NAS Jacksonville, NS Everett - Marysville, Patrick Air Force Base, Redstone Arsenal, Whidbey Island | 0 comments

Seaman-to-Admiral program helps Naval students become officers
From left: Dustin Beckwith and Corey Ring

From left: Dustin Beckwith and Corey Ring

Street performing just was not offering Dustin Beckwith the sort of fulfillment he desired. While he was a talented juggler who could also make a yo-yo perform complicated maneuvers, Beckwith yearned for more.

“Apparently, the market for that in Lubbock, Texas, wasn’t very good,” Beckwith said. “I was looking to do something more serious with my life. One day I went into the (Navy) recruiting station, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Beckwith has been in the U.S. Navy for the past six years. A couple years into his service, while stationed at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, California, Beckwith started his higher education career at the Columbia College location on base and ended up earning an associate degree. That’s one of 18 Columbia College locations that are on military installations.

When he was selected to the Navy’s Seaman-to-Admiral program earlier this year, he had a pretty good idea where he wanted to continue his schooling.

“I started my college career with Columbia College, and they’ve always provided the best support,” Beckwith said, singling out NAS Lemoore location director Betsy Quade for her help. “The Navy said I could pick any college that I wanted to go to, and Columbia was at the top of my list.”

Columbia College and its crosstown Naval ROTC affiliate the University of Missouri are the only schools in the state of Missouri that the Navy lists as hosts for its STA-21 (Seaman-to-Admiral) program, which serves as a gateway for enlisted servicemembers to become commissioned officers through the receipt of a college degree and completion of the program. All branches of the US military have similar scholarship programs.

The Navy offers its servicemembers a chance to remain on active duty at their current pay grade while adding in up to $10,000 a year to help cover tuition, books and fees.

“This is their full-time job, and their lone requirement is go to school,” said Tery Donelson, senior director of programs and partnerships for the Columbia College Division of Adult Higher Education. “It’s a pretty popular program. Usually these are older, more focused students, so they are attracted by our smaller class sizes and tenured professors actually teaching our programs.”

Donelson said Columbia College attracts students from all of the military branches through these types of programs, ones that have often already begun their education at one of the college’s locations and seek the smooth transition to the main campus and its ROTC courses, which are conducted just across town at the University of Missouri. Two of this year’s STA-21 students —the 26-year-old Beckwith and Corey Ring, 27 — took in the college’s ninth annual Military Recognition Day festivities May 26.

Ring, a native of St. Peters, Missouri, has been stationed in San Diego for the past nine years and started taking Columbia College online classes to supplement his coursework at Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, California. A history major, Ring said Columbia College made transferring academic credits from a variety of sources simple.

“I liked what I saw in the online campus, I liked this grant. I knew it was going to be an easy transition,” Ring said. “I thought, ‘Hey, if the Navy recognizes Columbia College as a good school, then it won’t hurt me.’”

Donelson took part in the Air Force’s scholarship program when he was an enlisted servicemember. He has first-hand experience with the process as a student, as well as seeing how the decades-long partnership between the military and Columbia College has benefitted students such as Beckwith and Ring in the past.

“Sailors, Marines, soldiers, airmen can come here for those military programs, do their college work at a small, private, liberal arts school and still go through the ROTC program,” Donelson said. “It’s beneficial. Columbia College and the University of Missouri ROTC programs are a very good partnership for both entities.”

Col. McGee on hand for Military Recognition Day festivities

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Day Campus, Evening Campus, Featured Story, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Military, NS Everett - Marysville, Orlando, Whidbey Island | 2 comments

Col. McGee on hand for Military Recognition Day festivities

Timothy Davis wasn’t going to let some quality time with Colonel Charles E. McGee pass him by, especially when the 96-year-old McGee had made the trip to Columbia all the way from Bethesda, Maryland.

Davis got to chat with McGee, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen and the National Aviation Hall of Fame, as well as the U.S. Air Force record holder at the time of his retirement in 1973 with 409 combat missions flown during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, for about 20 minutes in Missouri Hall before Columbia College’s ninth annual Military Recognition Day ceremony May 26.

The two talked about how McGee got into the military in the first place, McGee’s decision to pursue his education at Columbia College-Kansas City and how McGee earned his degree in 1978 at the age of 58.

“He’s just a really nice, genuine guy,” Davis said. “He just talked about education being really important and to keep pursuing it and moving forward with it.”

Davis, a former petty officer in the Coast Guard is one of two recipients of this year’s $1,000 Col. Charles E. McGee Scholarship and was the only one on hand to be recognized for the achievement during Military Recognition Day. He has earned three degrees from Columbia College-Jefferson City and is now in the pre-Nursing program at the Evening Campus.

“It’s just invigorating to be able to give back and share in what’s taking place,” McGee said. “The young folks are our country’s future. We can’t overlook that.”McGee

In all, Columbia College gave out $6,500 in scholarships to military and veteran students. Davis and Orlando location student Nelson Espinosa received the award named for McGee, Evening Campus student Travis Reynders and Jayme Viscarra from Columbia College-Whidbey Island both earned the $1,000 Col. Mike Randerson Scholarship, and Jessica Bock (Online), Adrien Broussard (Evening), Kymberly Guerrero (Jefferson City), Semindu Solomon (Day) and Tyees Wesley (Orlando) all earned the $500 Ousley Family Veterans Service Center Scholarship. Broussard, Davis, Guerrero and Reynders were present for the May 26 ceremony in Launer Auditorium.

“Please recognize that our future promises exist because someone accepts the responsibility to serve today,” Dr. Brad Lookingbill, Columbia College history professor and a former member of the Army National Guard, said before the scholarship presentations. “And Columbia is here for you.”

During the 2015-16 academic year, Columbia College served 4,688 military servicemembers, 3,027 veterans and 1,564 family members, nearly 40 percent of the college’s total students for the first four sessions of the year.

Reynders, a four-year Marine Corps veteran, started his college career at the University of Missouri before joining the military. He chose Columbia College when it came time to pick up his schooling again and graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies from the Evening Campus in May, with plans to pursue Master of Business Administration from Columbia College.

“I just realized how veteran-friendly and how easy it was just to communicate with (the college),” Reynders said. “One of the big things veterans struggle with is finding a good college and a good veterans center they can really deal with and have interaction with. I think that’s kind of one of the biggest benefits I saw in coming back to Columbia College.”

The Military Recognition Day ceremony concluded with a color guard made up of four Columbia College students who raised the American and college flags on Bass Commons. The flags had been flown earlier this year at the Whidbey Island and Naval Station Everett/Marysville locations.

Columbia College also served a vital function in the city of Columbia’s Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Parade on May 30, with R. Marvin Owens Soccer Field serving as the parade route’s end point. The field also served as the landing zone for two parachute jump teams — the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the Canadian Armed Forces SkyHawks — that performed aerial maneuvers over downtown Columbia before touching down safely.

“Our values can slip away very easily if we’re not vigilant and don’t want everybody to be on board,” McGee said. “It’s not difficult to give back. You just have to be willing to do it.”

Fort Worth student becomes a hero on base

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Fort Worth, Military, Nationwide | 3 comments

Fort Worth student becomes a hero on base
Christina Cook

Columbia College-Fort Worth and VCC worker Christina Cook with Scooter the Cougar.

Columbia College-Fort Worth student Christina Cook recently went beyond the call of duty in her position at the Visitor Control Center. When three men requested access to the joint reserve base with fake credentials, Cook sprang into action.

“I knew at first glance they were fake IDs but had to wait for confirmation,” Christina recalled.

She quietly confirmed her suspicions with coworkers, and the team notified the authorities. Cook stalled the three men while waiting for the police to arrive. The commander of the base, Capt. Mike Steffen, asked everyone on the base to acknowledge Cook’s heroism.

Cook has been a Columbia College student since August 2014 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has also been a friend to the Fort Worth campus since beginning her tenure with VCC. Cook goes out of her way to make sure college students have an excellent experience when visiting the center, and the staff at the center and on campus feel lucky to have her. Join us in thanking Christina Cook for helping keep NAS Fort Worth JRB safe!

Lookingbill’s latest book focuses on Custer, Little Bighorn campaign

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Academics, CCIS Homepage Headlines, Day Campus, Faculty/Staff, Military | 0 comments

Lookingbill’s latest book focuses on Custer, Little Bighorn campaign
Lookinbill_ (01)

Dr. Brad Lookingbill

When you walk into Columbia College history professor Dr. Brad Lookingbill’s office, you may think
you’ve walked into a small library, as it is filled with books on just about every subject related to American history and the military. The books reflect his devotion to what John Adams once said: “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.”

His collection just increased by one, since he recently edited and published the book A Companion to Custer and the Little Bighorn Campaign. The book explores one of the most publicized and discussed battles in American history, the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It breaks down actions on the battlefield and combines information from a variety of historians, scholars and other battlefield experts.

“Historians like to take events from the past and put them in some kind of context. The Battle of the Little Bighorn is one of the most famous events in American history, but what hasn’t happened in most accounts is the connection of this particular battle to a bigger picture,” Lookingbill says of the book. “There was a need to review the historiography and literature on the subject and also to connect some of the enduring themes with American history in general.”

This is the fifth book that Lookingbill has completed. Wiley-Blackwell, his publisher, also has Lookingbill_Bookcommissioned him to update their 2004 textbook titled Missouri: The Heart of the Nation for a fourth edition. Lookingbill believes that engaging in scholarship allows him to relate and to better connect with his students, because he is doing the same work that he is asking them to do.

“It’s probably not surprising that students look at professors as role models.  So when I’m engaged in scholarship, when I’m engaged in the practice of writing and thinking critically, I model the behaviors I want my students to demonstrate,” Lookingbill said. “As long as I can stay connected with students, I can continue imparting something to them about history that they can use.”

Click here to purchase or learn more about this book!

Remembering those who have served

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Featured Story, Military | 0 comments

Remembering those who have served

Graduate admissions counselor Lisa Conner-Collier reads the names of those who have died in the last year fighting the war on terror during the National Roll Call on Nov. 11, 2015.

Deeply rooted in the fabric that makes up Columbia College is an appreciation and respect for the U.S.
military. Whether it’s Military Appreciation Day, which is celebrated in the spring, or Veterans Week, which was recently observed by Columbia College campuses across the nation – 18 of which are located on military bases–the college’s admiration for those who serve or have served our country could not be more apparent.

“One of the great things for me is that I get to work every day with our military members and veterans as they try to attain their educational goal,” said Keith Glindemann, director of the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center. “I think it’s important that we take some time out to remember their service and to honor them for what they’ve done.”

The 2015 edition of Veterans Week certainly accomplished that, as it included several of the week’s time-honored activities, such as the morning flag raising ceremony, observing the National Moment of Silence, the decoration of Bass Commons with American flags and yellow ribbons, the illumination of the Columbia College military service tree and more. A new addition to the programming this year was the Greenlight a Veteran national campaign.

Green lights flag

St, Clair Hall

“We try to expand our Veterans Week activities each year,” Glindemann said. “This year, something we were excited to participate in was the Greenlight a Veteran project, which is a national movement to shine a green light and to encourage people to remember our veterans who are now assimilated back into the civilian community.”

In observance of the project, the college had green lights glowing in the lamp posts in front of St. Clair Hall and also in the bell tower on top of Federal Hall in downtown Columbia, which houses the Online Education program. One of the other very powerful events that
happens every year on Veterans Day is the National Roll Call.

Fed Hall Green Lights_2

Federal Hall

“The remembrance ceremony is part of the National Roll Call where colleges and universities across the nation have been reading the names of the fallen in the war on terror,” Glindemann said. “Starting in 2011 Columbia College participated in the first reading and read the names of the fallen to that point. Each year since, we have continued the tradition and read the names who had fallen since the last reading.”

Several students, faculty and staff take shifts reading the names of those who died. The college also posts a large banner with the names of every person who has been included in the roll call.

“As a military retiree, I can tell you that this ceremony is important in the fact that it helps remind us all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”


Ousley Family Veterans Services Center receives $285,000 grant

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in CCIS Homepage Headlines, Coast Guard Island, Day Campus, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Sill, Fort Stewart, Fort Worth, Guantanamo Bay, Hancock Field, Hunter Army Airfield, Lake County, Military, NAS Jacksonville, Whidbey Island | 0 comments

Ousley Family Veterans Services Center receives $285,000 grant

10359254_10152395636298490_3891083342792845198_nNewly appointed Director of Veterans Services Keith Glindemann recently announced that the Columbia College Ousley Family Veterans Services Center has received the Centers of Excellence for Veterans Student Success grant valued at more than $285,000. Columbia College is one of only 15 institutions in the country to receive the grant, which was given by the U.S. Department of Education.

“As a country and a college we have a responsibility to support those who answered the call to defend this great nation,” Glindemann said. “This grant will help us to continue a proud Columbia College tradition of supporting the education of our service members.”

This grant will primarily be utilized to create a virtualized Veterans Service Center to increase communication and provide resources to all of Columbia College’s military and veteran students and their family members throughout the country. Glindemann and his staff will also implement a veteran peer mentoring network within the college to connect veterans with veteran mentors. The mentors will assist transitioning servicemembers in acclimating to the higher education environment and encourage their academic success. The grant will also support ongoing faculty and staff training that focuses on understanding the challenges that their military and veteran students face and how to identify a student in crisis and ensure they have access to proper resources.


If you would like to make a gift to support a veteran student, please visit today. With your gift, Columbia College can continue its tradition of being military friendly and impact more students.

Glindemann named Director of Veterans Services; honored by NAVPA

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in CCIS Homepage Headlines, Military | 0 comments

Glindemann named Director of Veterans Services; honored by NAVPA

Keith Glindemann

Columbia College Vice President for Adult Higher Education Dr. Jeff Musgrove recently announced the promotion of Keith Glindemann to the position of director of veteran services for the college.

In the new role, Glindemann is responsible for the daily operation of the college’s Ousley Family Veterans Services Center, overseeing certifications of benefits and acting as liaison with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He also oversees planning, coordination and hosting of all military and veterans events on campus and serves as the college’s expert regarding the implementation of new military and veteran related regulations and compliance issues.

“Keith has been a key part of our Adult Higher Education division for the last five years and is a great resource for our active military and veteran students,” Musgrove said. “He represents the college extremely well and we believe the Ousley Veterans Service Center will thrive under his leadership.”

Following an outstanding 24-year career in the U.S. Army where he received the Bronze Star for actions in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Glindemann joined Columbia College as associate director of veterans services in 2010. In 2014, he was elected as the vice president of the National Association of Veterans Program Administrators (NAVPA) and was then re-elected to the position earlier this month for a second term.

NAVPA is an organization of institutions and individuals who are involved or interested in the operations of veterans’ affairs programs and/or the delivery of services to veterans as school certifying officials across the country.

During his time as Associate Director of Veterans Services, Glindemann was requested to appear before the U.S. Congress on behalf of NAVPA and the college to provide in person as well as written testimony on veteran’s educational benefits.

He was also charged with maintaining a relationship with the U.S. House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office and numerous other Veterans services provider organizations.

Glindemann earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Franklin University and a master’s of business administration from Columbia College. He is a member of the Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society and was also awarded the Legion of Merit medal for career military service.

Fort Worth campus celebrates 40th anniversary

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Fort Worth, Military, Nationwide | 0 comments

Fort Worth campus celebrates 40th anniversary

FINAL_FortWorth40th_PosterColumbia College-Fort Worth will celebrate its 40th year of serving the Fort Worth and Dallas areas Aug. 23. The campus was established in 1975 at Naval Air station Dallas and relocated to NAS Fort Worth in 1997.

“We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with the Navy and the Fort Worth community,” says John Hardy, campus director at Columbia College-Fort Worth. “Our students and alumni have certainly benefited from the immediate access to quality higher education opportunities here at the air station. We appreciate the support we have received from base leadership and look forward to continuing that partnership.”

More than 500 students take a mix of in-seat and online classes each year at the campus. The Fort Worth campus has produced more than 2,328 alumni during its 40 year existence. It was one of Columbia College’s first Adult Higher Education campuses, which began offering classes to adults and military students in 1974 at campuses in Missouri. Today, Columbia College touts 36 AHE campuses, 18 of which are on military bases.

Friends and alumni of the Fort Worth campus can celebrate its  40th anniversary by making a gift to its scholarship fund at!

Celebrating Military Recognition Day

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Events, Military | 0 comments

Celebrating Military Recognition Day
Col. Charles McGee, left, presents his scholarship to Mike Lederle, director of Veterans Services, who accepted the award on behalf of Orlando campus student and U.S. Army veteran Aron Gonzalez at Military Recognition Day May 21 on main campus.

Col. Charles McGee, left, presents his scholarship to Mike Lederle, director of Veterans Services, who accepted the award on behalf of Orlando campus student and U.S. Army veteran Aron Gonzalez at Military Recognition Day May 21 on main campus.

Every May, Columbia College proudly celebrates its veterans and active duty servicemembers on Military Recognition Day.

The May 21 event was observed at Columbia College campuses across the nation and with a patriotic ceremony at the main campus on Bass Commons, featuring remarks by Tuskegee Airman and Columbia College alumnus Col. Charles E. McGee, Hon. ’14; Lt. Col. Eric Cunningham (U.S. Army, retired), dean for Adult Higher Education; Greg Ousley ’78 (U.S. Navy, retired); and Col. Mike Randerson, former vice president for Adult Higher Education.

The flag detail raises the Colors on Bass Commons during the Military Recognition Day ceremony.

The flag detail raises the Colors on Bass Commons as part of the ceremony.

“For the current academic year, the college has served 5,127 military servicemembers, 3,077 veterans and 1,620 military family members,” said Lt. Col. Tery Donelson (U.S. Air Force, retired), director of Market Analysis and Special Projects for Adult Higher Education, who emceed the event.

These numbers represent more than 35 percent of students served by Columbia College to date during the current academic year.


Administrative Assistant Jennifer Johnson prepares for Military Recognition Day at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego campus.

Administrative Assistant Jennifer Johnson prepares for Military Recognition Day at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego campus.



Congratulations to the following seven students, who were presented with scholarships at the event:

Col. Charles E. McGee Scholarship recipients:

Candace Woodson, Online Program, U.S. Air Force veteran

Aron Gonzalez, Orlando campus, U.S. Army veteran

Col. Mike Randerson Scholarship recipient:

Maria Howard, Fort Leonard Wood campus, dependent of a U.S. Army veteran

Ousley Family Veteran Scholarship recipients:

A servicemember enjoys cake at the Hunter Army Airfield campus's Military Recognition Day celebration.

A servicemember enjoys cake at the Hunter Army Airfield campus’s Military Recognition Day celebration.

Theron Gertz, Guantanamo Bay campus, U.S. Navy veteran

Peter Jones, Evening Campus, U.S. Marine Corps veteran

Leanna Landreth, Online Program, U.S. Army veteran

Keith Lewis, San Diego campus, U.S. Navy veteran

To make a contribution to one of these scholarship funds that help support our servicemember men and women, please visit #WeAreCC

Seniors, Randerson inducted into SALUTE military honor society

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Military | 0 comments

Seniors, Randerson inducted into SALUTE military honor society

From L-R: Col. Mike Randerson, Jennifer Boyt (Army), Richard Ferrari (Air Force), Jeffery Pitts (Navy), Chrissandra Porter (Navy) and Belinda Thompson (Army). Photo by Kaci Smart

The Columbia College Veterans Service Center recently inducted 324 new members into the SALUTE Honors Society for 2015. The inductees, from more than 35 Columbia College campuses join the group’s growing membership of more than 500 members.

“This tremendous growth shows the dedication of our military and veteran population when it comes to academics,” said Keith Glindemann, staff advisor and chapter president of the Columbia College SALUTE chapter. “Of the 324 new members, many will be or have been recognized at ceremonies like this one at Columbia College campuses across the nation.”

Faculty advisor and veteran Mike Perkins inducted five new members from the main campus into the society at the ceremony, including: Jennifer Boyt  (Army), Richard Ferrari (Air Force), Jeffery Pitts (Navy), Chrissandra Porter (Navy) and Belinda Thompson (Army).

Perkins reminded new inductees about the the six tenets of SALUTE: service, academics, leadership, unity, tribute and excellence.

The chapter also inducted its an honorary member into its ranks, inducting former Columbia College vice president for Adult Higher Education Col. Mike Randerson. Randerson is also the namesake of a scholarship exclusively for military servicemembers and veterans.

During Randerson’s 18-year career at the college, the number of students enrolled at nationwide campuses grew from 4,000 to 18,000, and the number of campuses grew from 17 to 35, half of which are located on military bases. He spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force as director of Student Affairs and professor of national security studies at Air University’s Air War College.

“As a Vietnam Veteran, there was no homecoming, no recognition for military service as a veteran when I returned,” says Randerson. “Since its inception, I have loved the notion of a SALUTE honor society, which requires service to country and then academic performance. I have worked throughout my military career and during my career at the college to promote both of those things, and I am delighted and honored to be a member.”

SALUTE was formed in 2009 by the Colorado State Veterans Office thanks to a grant by the Walmart Foundation and American Council of Education.  There are more than 50 chapters of the society throughout the United States. The organization was created to recognize outstanding students and SALUTE the hard work and dedication of student veterans.