Scooter poses for a photo on Columbia College’s 2023 Giving Day on Thursday, March 23, in Dorsey Gym. Photo by Columbia College Photographer & Graphic Designer Abigail Wade

The Columbia College community rallied around a common cause Thursday, March 23, to raise nearly $188,000 in support of the college’s fifth annual Giving Day.

More than 260 donors combined to contribute the second-highest total in the history of the initiative.

The 24-hour endeavor encourages alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the college to make a participatory gift that is put toward the college’s most immediate needs within the coming year.

“These acts of generosity from dedicated supporters enable Columbia College to further its mission of providing quality education to both traditional and nontraditional students, helping them achieve their true potential,” says President Dr. David Russell. “Together, we devote ourselves to improving students’ lives, and I am grateful to each person who helped deliver this year’s smashing results.”

The $187,915 raised from 261 donors helps the college strengthen academic and student programming, attract top-tier faculty, provide scholarships, bolster athletics and benefit learners nationwide.

Cougar student-athletes and coaches conducted personal outreach to connect with potential donors, epitomizing the teamwork behind the campaign’s success.

Alumni donors ranged from the Christian College Class of 1947 to graduates in the Class of 2022, spanning 75 years of Cougar family members.

The success of the event was due in part to a group of generous alumni who came together to present challenge gifts in an effort to inspire the college community to donate. This group included:

  • The Robert and Maryellen Batt ’47 Trust
  • The Joan B. Luttge ’50 Trust
  • Barbara Bilger – Class of 1962
  • Donald Ruthenberg – 15th president of Columbia College and 1995 honorary alumnus
  • George Hulett – Trustee emeritus and 2019 honorary alumnus

Many donors contributed $1,000 or more to the Columbia College Fund to join the Cornerstone Club. This group is committed to providing leadership-level support to the college on an annual basis.

Advocates for this year’s Giving Day also played an important part in the lead-up to the event. Through their generosity and willingness to participate in the months prior to the event, they helped build excitement through social media and with other alumni, friends and family.

Giving Day 2023 occurred on the same day as the kickoff celebration of Columbia College Global’s 50th anniversary. Faculty, staff and the college community joined with leaders from the 43 nationwide locations in Dorsey Gym to honor the network’s past, celebrate the present and envision its future.

“Our goal entering this Giving Day was to raise $150,000 in recognition of our 50th year of educating adult learners and military-affiliated students,” says Suzanne Rothwell, vice president for Advancement. “Not only did our supporters surpass that milestone, but we also eclipsed $172,000 to honor 172 years since our founding. Once again, our committed alumni and friends stepped up to knock the ball out of the park.”

Are you still looking to make an impact? Don’t worry, it’s not too late! Visit to make your gift now.

If you have questions or would like to become more involved, please contact the Office of Development at or call (573) 875-7563.