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More than 500 students participate in commencement
Friday, May 08, 2009

Dr. Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College, addressed graduates at two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 9 in Southwell Gymnasium on the Columbia College campus.

The first ceremony, held at noon, honored Day Campus students from the main campus in Columbia, Mo., and Evening Campus, Online Campus and Nationwide Campus students receiving associate or master's degrees. The 3:30 p.m. ceremony honored baccalaureate degree candidates from the college's adult higher education venues (Evening Campus, Online Campus and Nationwide Campuses). Graduates of the nursing program participated in the Nurses Pinning Ceremony at 2 p.m. in Launer Auditorium.

The Ivy Chain ceremony, one of the oldest commencement ceremonies in the United States, preceded commencement at 9:30 a.m. on Bass Commons. The ceremony features a continuous chain of ivy-draped seniors walking through historic Rogers Gate to form a circle on Bass Commons. Specially designated graduates, ivy cutters, then cut the ivy from each person, signifying that although now separate from Columbia College and classmates, graduates will always remain a part of Columbia College. Each participant also receives three long-stem red roses with notes to give to people who have made a significant impact on the Ivy Chain participant's college career. This further radiates the ceremony and the tradition.

This year's ivy chain cutters included six students from the main campus: Erika Harrington, Megan Loyd-Cram, Erin McCaffrey, Kacey Miller, Lindsey Moore and Megan Struemph; and two Nationwide Campus students: Mark Hammel of Lake County, Ill., and Veronica Thompson of Fort Drum, N.Y.

Of the 541 students that participated in the commencement ceremonies, 132 (24.4 percent) graduated with honors, including 34 magna cum laude and 32 summa cum laude graduates.

“This very high percentage speaks volumes about the quality of both Columbia College students and faculty," said Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for academic affairs. "I am especially proud of our honors graduates because there is no grade inflation at Columbia College. Our honors graduates have excelled and they have done so in rigorous courses with high academic expectations.”