2018 was another banner year at Columbia College; here are some of the photos that showcase everything that captured our eye throughout the year.
Our cover photo: Ivy Chain. It's one of our longest and most revered traditions. It's such a fast-paced event to shoot; I have to make sure that I stay in front of the students, yet not get in their way. Everyone's all dressed up, and the texture of the ivy makes for such a colorful shot. They're always excited because graduation's coming later that day.
Kaci Smart '09 has served as Columbia College's primary photographer since 2009. She's had a unique vantage point for most of the college's signature events. As we look back on 2018, Kaci sat down with writer Kevin Fletcher to reflect on some of the best shots from the best moments of the year.
Lacrosse photo shoot. While we always take portraits of the players and have various special shoots for our athletics teams, this was the inaugural season for lacrosse, so we did some different things with this shoot.
“He is one of the most fascinating people that I have met,”
Columbia College President Dr. Scott Dalrymple told a crowd of around 250 people in Launer Auditorium while introducing Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran for the Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture on the evening of March 6. “I told him that I wish he had been my professor. For an educator to say that to another educator, I meant it as a very high compliment.”
Women's History Month art installation. Valerie Wedel ’02 created this installation to honor women in the arts. There's netting running across the railings of the Atkins-Holman balcony, and what looked like earring hooks are supporting the wires and the paper hanging down. It was just fun to get a different look of a building that hundreds of people pass through every day.
Into the Woods This was a lot of fun to shoot just because of all the different colors. The wardrobes and the lights inside Launer Auditorium just provided the chance to get some really nice contrasting photos.
Midwest Campus Clash Notley Hawkins '87 shot the Midwest Campus Clash for us back in April. I really wanted to hire him for this event because of his work with light painting, so I knew he'd get us a cool exposure shot like this of the boy playing a game.
April had been a cold month, and it felt like Spring had started late in Columbia. I came outside onto Bass Commons after the conclusion of the nurses' pinning ceremony, and after I had taken some group and family photos, I had to take some shots around campus to capture that feeling you get the first time each season when you realize, "it's finally Spring". It was such a nice night. That was one of my favorite campus photos that I took this year.
Lights at Commencement I took the photo knowing that we probably wouldn't use it, but I liked how the stage lights reflected off the prompter and made such a burst of light. After you've done so many commencements, you look for things that are different from the same things you shoot every year. A different angle created that moment.
A different look at Ivy Chain The woman on the left, out of the frame, is Cindy Potter '05, whom we've profiled several times. Her daughter, CJ, is the one shooting here, and it was just too cute of a shot to pass up. I talked to Cindy afterwards, and she said that none of the hundreds of shots CJ took turned out, but you can't fault a girl for imitating her mom.
I really like this shot of Margaret Mutti Andrews ’38 because it's her Christian College class' 80th reunion, and she was about to celebrate her 100th birthday. I'm just glad I was able to get Scott and Tina celebrating with her.
The alumnae took tours of the college during the reunion. This shot is from Hughes Hall.
The women participate in a commemorative Ivy Chain ceremony. They're always so excited about it. I think the older ladies enjoy it as much if not more than the younger generation of students.
New Hall groundbreaking. Not a lot needs to be said about this one. It was a big moment, and it's always an honor to be able to capture these moments in our college's history.
I really liked this angle of Kevin Palmer presenting the flag to the color guard during the Military Appreciation Day ceremony.
Not a lot of events take place on Bass Commons, and most photos on it are shot from the North side, so with this shot from the South side, you can see everyone participating in the flag-raising ceremony.
The volleyball team photo is almost always the first one we shoot to begin each new academic year, so taking this shot kind of symbolizes the end of summer and the start of fall for a lot of us. They finished second at the national tournament this year to continue an amazing run of success that's lasted well over 20 years.
In August, Ragtag Cinema held a special screening of BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee's film adaptation of Columbia College alumnus Ron Stallworth's memoir. It was a hard place to take photos because movie theaters are dark, and Ragtag is such a small venue. I enjoyed this photo, with trustee Jolene Schulz '61 and her husband, Bill, in the foreground.
This shot of Ron, during a question-and-answer session with the audience, was shot from the ground to show everything that was going on.
Jim Innes' tulip bulbs This was from our fall campus beautification story, which in part was to honor Jim's 22 years with the college as he nears retirement shortly. Jim didn't think the photo shoot should be about him, but rather about the people that work with him, which was sweet. A lot of people look forward to the tulips blooming on campus, so it was neat to see the bulbs up close.
The annual President's Society dinner was the first major event held in Dulany Hall after being closed all summer for renovations, and it featured some new lighting, which really made for some beautiful shots. I loved the color of the room. It was a wonderful day; earlier that afternoon, the college announced a record-breaking gift to name the Robert W. Plaster School of Business.
Homecoming carts So much of Homecoming was inside because of rain this year, which was a huge bummer. By the time the parade came around, it had turned into a really nice day, which made for some nice shots.
Janet Trent's dog portraits This was a shoot for the Winter issue of Affinity magazine featuring staff who take art classes. I always have to be really careful when I'm in the painting studio, since they use oil paint. Anything you touch could potentially be wet! I liked having the studio as the background, and I loved Janet's paintings.
Military Appreciation Tree This is another shot that Notley Hawkins took as part of our Veterans Day events on campus. I like this photo he took. It's hardly ever snowy that time of year, and I really like how the lights reflect off the snow on the tree.
Holiday lighting This was the first year that we had decorations on the quad. These were used for the President's holiday card, and there's a shallow depth of field here, so you can focus on the decorations while the tree lights blur away in the background.
Andrew Helmreich's posthumous degree Earlier in the commencement ceremony, the family of Andrew Helmreich was presented his degree posthumously. When the recessional began, I noticed Andrew's sister, Lauren, flip the diploma frame outward so that it would show toward the graduates. It was such a sad, yet proud, moment.
This lady was reading during commencement, and it just seemed funny to me. I had thought that it was perhaps something inspirational that she was reading, but I have a feeling that wasn't the case.
I really wish I had taken a shot of this little girl a few seconds before, when she was walking down toward me. You can see the bouquet in her arms in this frame, but she had this beaming smile, quietly calling out for her mom who had just walked across the stage. She couldn't have been prouder of her mother in that moment, and her face almost had this look of determined desperation. The girl ended up finding her mother a few second rows back and presented the flowers. Such a cute moment.