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Alumnus becomes school principal after Coast Guard career

Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Alumni, Coast Guard Island, Military | 0 comments

Alumnus becomes school principal after Coast Guard career
Thomas Orput

Courtesy of

The new principal of Valley High School in Dublin, California, is a Columbia College alumnus. Principal Thomas Orput had a career in the U.S. Coast Guard and used the “Troops to Teachers” scholarship program to achieve his degrees – the first of which was an associate degree from Columbia College-Coast Guard Island. After working as a middle school teacher, Orput eventually began serving in leadership positions in alternative education schools.

Read the full interview with Orput on Dublin’s education blog: “Valley High School welcomes new principal Thomas Orput”.

CC is #4 on Best for Vets list

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Military | 2 comments

CC is #4 on Best for Vets list

Just this week, Columbia College was named to Military Times’ “Best for Vets: Colleges 2015” list. CC went from 7th on the list last year to 4th after filling out a comprehensive questionnaire (more than 100 questions) along with several hundred other colleges and universities.

These annual rankings were based on university culture, academic quality, student support, academic policies and financial aid. This marks the third year the college has been ranked in the online and nontraditional category.

The “Best for Vets” list was created by Military Times to provide service members with comprehensive information on schools and degree programs that would be most beneficial to them. In addition to the factors listed above, institutions also were evaluated on accreditation, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates, academic and staff support and participation the Yellow Ribbon program. Columbia College offers extensive resources for its military and veteran students.

Columbia College ranks #4 on the Best for Vets list

Columbia College ranks #4 on the Best for Vets list

Lt. Col. Amy Clark serves as high school teacher, college instructor

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Faculty/Staff, Fort Leonard Wood, Military | 0 comments

Lt. Col. Amy Clark serves as high school teacher, college instructor

Lt. Col. Amy ClarkLt. Col. Amy Clark, an adjunct mathematics professor at Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood, was profiled in the local newspaper for her service to the community. She is also a math teacher at Waynesville High School, and she’s a battalion commander. Clark was the first female field grade officer of the Engineer Branch, Missouri National Guard in history. She is now in charge of 368 soldiers and four companies in the U.S. Army Reserves commanding the 89th Special Troops Battalion in Kansas City.

“WHS teacher leads students, soldiers”Waynesville Daily Guide

Col. Charles E. McGee’s remarkable mission

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Alumni, Military | 0 comments

Col. Charles E. McGee’s remarkable mission

The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is a remarkable one. This intrepid group of African American fighter pilots not only helped break down racial barriers in the armed forces, but also played a significant role in the United States’ victory in World War II. One of the prominent figures in this group was Col. Charles E. McGee, a 1978 graduate of Columbia College-Kansas City.

Col McGee

As part of Columbia College’s new Alumni Scholar Lecture Series, McGee recently spoke to a packed house in Bixby Lecture Hall about his experiences in World War II. Having received numerous commendations throughout his lifetime, including the Congressional Gold Medal (the nation’s highest civilian award), McGee’s exploits as a fighter pilot have been well documented.

McGee used the forum to touch on subjects not so well publicized, such as racial discrimination he and the other Airmen faced. McGee inspired the crowd with his story of perseverance in the face of segregation, and how, even with the negativity that he and other Airmen routinely experienced, his patriotism never wavered.

“We need to be aware of history, but not repeat it,” McGee said.

He also shared his advice for today’s young adults, which centered on what he referred to as the “Four P’s” – perceive, prepare, perform and persevere. McGee advised the crowd to consider their attitudes toward their neighbors, friends, family, and ultimately, their country. He said if people approached life in this manner, it might lead to a better country for all.

To honor this true American hero, Columbia College established the Colonel Charles E. McGee Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded to a veteran student who embodies the spirit and courage of Col. McGee.

Men’s basketball team plays event for soldiers

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Day Campus, Fort Leonard Wood, Military, Students | 0 comments

Men’s basketball team plays event for soldiers
Columbia College basketball

Courtesy of the Waynesville Daily Guide

The Columbia College men’s basketball team played the Hardwood Classic, a game hosted by Fort Leonard Wood Morale Welfare and Recreation as a special event for the soldiers. It’s a popular event in the area. The teams were able to tour the fort, see physical training and the housing on base. It’s a great experience for the players, but also a nice break for soldiers as well. The Cougars defeated the Mineral Area Community College Cardinals 65-49.

Read more about the event at these articles:

“Fort Leonard Wood hosts 2014 Hardwood Classic”Waynesville Daily Guide
“Cougars, Cardinals provide college hoops action at DFC” – Fort Leonard Wood’s Guidon

NS Everett/Marysville campus alumnus helps student veterans

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Alumni, Military, NS Everett - Marysville | 0 comments

NS Everett/Marysville campus alumnus helps student veterans

Military soldiersAfter serving 20 years in the Marine Corps, Larry Price received his master’s degree in business administration at Columbia College-NS Everett/Marysville with his G.I. Bill education benefits. Now, he’s working as an administrator at Edmonds Community College, which offers a program called “Boots to Books and Beyond,” designed to provide help on campus to student veterans who suffer from visible and invisible wounds.

Price says one of the hardest things for veterans is often deciding what to do their lives now that they’re out of the military. He meets with a group monthly to help veterans network and find jobs.

Read more about Price and the program on The Everett Herald’s website.

Fort Leonard Wood campus director featured in local newspaper

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Faculty/Staff, Fort Leonard Wood, Military | 0 comments

Fort Leonard Wood campus director featured in local newspaper

Mike SiegelA profile on Mike Siegel, director of Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood, was published in the community’s newspaper. Siegel, who retired from the U.S. Army in 2011, wanted to be able to work in an environment where he could continue to help soldiers. He says working at the Fort Leonard Wood campus does exactly that, saying Columbia College is “focused on providing the best education and opportunities for its students.”

Read the full profile on the Waynesville Daily Guide‘s website.

Columbia College provides educational support for ‘Operation Backbone’ veterans

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Academics, Fort Drum, Hancock Field, Military | 0 comments

Columbia College provides educational support for ‘Operation Backbone’ veterans

Operation Backbone, military, veterans,  service Columbia College of Missouri is proud to announce its support of Operation Backbone, a non-profit organization based in New York that provides crucial brain and spine surgical treatments for active-duty service members and veterans who need an accelerated substitute to their current care options.

As part of the program, Columbia College will offer students from Operation Backbone several services including:

  • Financial aid advising including a customized Financial Aid Shopping Sheet with details on grants, awards and scholarships available to services members and veterans.
  • An overview of the total cost of a degree program and furnish an educational plan which will detail the courses needed for degree completion and an anticipated graduation date at no charge.
  • Accommodations for student absence due to service obligations.

“Operation Backbone is a ‘start to finish’ program, and Columbia College will offer educational support and opportunities to truly ‘finish’ the process of rehabilitation for these wounded heroes,” said Operation Backbone founder Mike Sfomo. “We are extremely pleased to have Columbia College as a supporter of the program and look forward to working with this quality educational institution.”

This is a great partnership for both Operation Backbone and Columbia College. “Columbia College is extremely proud to support the efforts of Operation Backbone,” Ann Merrifield, director of business development for Columbia College said. “We are excited about the opportunity to offer support to  active duty soldiers and veterans in this program as an educational component to their rehabilitation.”

Operation Backbone collaborates with the Veteran’s Administration and active military branch commands around the world to assist and treat battlefield injuries sustained during active duty. Operation Backbone also partners with the Buffalo Sabers of the National Hockey League to provide post-strength training. To learn more about Operation Backbone, visit

College ranked fifth most popular among Navy servicemembers

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in Academics, Military, Students | 0 comments

College ranked fifth most popular among Navy servicemembers
Navy Times

Courtesy of the Navy Times

Columbia College is ranked fifth on the list of most popular schools among Navy servicemembers using tuition assistance. The Military Times Group took a service-by-service look at the top schools in the 2013 fiscal year. Among the Navy troops, Columbia College was outranked by only the American Public Education Inc., University System of Maryland, California Community College System and Excelsior College.

Take a look at the rest of the schools here: “Top TA schools by service” – Navy Times

Alumnus surprises parents in hometown before deploying

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in Alumni, Fort Leonard Wood, Military | 0 comments

Alumnus surprises parents in hometown before deploying
Alex Nelson

Courtesy of the Wilkes (North Carolina) Journal-Patriot

Alex Nelson, a Columbia College graduate who will soon be deployed to Kosovo, paid his parents a surprise visit. Nelson is currently stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and his parents thought he was still there. But he had actually flown to his hometown in North Carolina to surprise and pay tribute to his parents, who were being honored at their church for serving others.

See more photos and read more about Nelson’s visit here: “Soldier’s surprise visit”Wilkes (North Carolina) Journal-Patriot