By Carl David, director, Columbia College Region M2 and Los Alamitos

Columbia College was established in 1851 to meet a specific need and has been filling in the blanks ever since. When the college was founded, women were not permitted to attend the University of Missouri, which was an all-male school at the time. The founders of Columbia College saw the need for young women who wanted to go to college and they established what was then known as Christian Female College. This in and of itself would be a terrific legacy, but in reality, it was just the beginning of a remarkable journey that continues to this day.

Today’s adult population may think that the availability of affordable college options has always been a part of the American fabric, but that is simply not the case. Columbia College’s founders were so brilliant in their foresight that they positioned the school to adapt to an ever-changing landscape, and adapt we did. In 1969, the word spread that men could attend and by 1970, 54 men had arrived on campus and the name of the school was officially changed to Columbia College.

Carl David, Los Alamitos
Carl David, director, Columbia College Region M2 and Los Alamitos

In 1973, long before other institutions extended their degree offerings off of their main campuses, Columbia College established what is today Columbia College Global to make our degree programs available across the nation. Columbia College was also among the first colleges to establish teaching locations on U.S. military bases as we have here at Los Alamitos; today, there are nearly 40 locations nationwide supporting both military and civilian communities.

Columbia College has been a leader in meeting students where they are from the very beginning, and here in California at Los Alamitos (JFTB), San Diego and Lemoore NAS, we take great pride in our diverse student body. With evening classes, online courses, and virtual education offerings, we meet our students where they are regardless of the challenges they face during their academic journey. From pandemic response to helping students see their potential and guiding them to success, Columbia College Los Alamitos and Nationwide locations has been meeting students where they are since our location opened 25 years ago in December.

As students you should be proud of your school’s legacy, because any school is only as good as the students who attend and participate. Each of you have made us better and have added to the depth and fabric of Columbia College’s long and storied history. Remember, no matter your challenge in achieving your academic goals, we are here to meet you where you are to provide the support and encouragement you need to be successful.

As a retired military officer, I want to personally thank you for the honor of serving you all who serve the nation. I am keenly aware of the fact that we always stand stronger when we are united in our education goals together. I wish you great success in your studies throughout the new year and beyond! We are so proud of you at Columbia College Los Alamitos!