Columbus State University Celebrates 111th Commencement

Graduation at Civic Center

Friends, family and loved ones gathered at the Columbus Civic Center Monday night to celebrate the hard work and achievements of Columbus State University’s fall 2015 graduating class.

More than 550 degrees were awarded during the university’s 111th commencement ceremony, which featured an address from Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

“The fact that you are here today is a testament to the fact that you are able,” Tomlinson said during her commencement speech. “Your CSU education makes you so. And, with that ability comes the responsibility to devote yourself to your passion or your skill, and to devote yourself to making a difference in the world.”

Mayor Tomlinson at Graduation

Among the graduates listening to Mayor Tomlinson was Jeannie Patrick, a first generation, non-traditional student and geology major who went back to school to make a difference in her children's lives.

Patrick made a point to introduce her children, Jayne and Paul, to college life early and often. Jayne worked alongside Jeannie at CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science, and, with her professors’ permission, she even attended lectures with her mother.

“I wanted my children to have all of the opportunities that I never had,“ Patrick said. “I did all of this because of them.”

Between parenting, studying and working, Patrick found time to travel to more than 30 states as a student in CSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences. She traveled as far as California, where she interned in San Francisco’s volcano fields.

All of Patrick’s travels led her back to CSU. “I originally chose CSU because it is here, and I am here,” she said. “But, because of the relationships I have built with my professors, I am staying here for graduate school. The faculty is the best thing about CSU.”

During Monday’s ceremony, Patrick said she felt an odd mix of emotions.

“One minute, I felt like crying; the next, I felt like laughing,” Patrick said. “I was relieved, sad and anxious about attending graduate school. I was happy knowing I’ll be back at CSU. I felt uncertain about the future, but I also felt calm, because I knew my life and my daughter’s life would be better for all that I have accomplished.”

“We celebrate the fact that many of you worked to put yourselves through college, and that a third of you are the first in your families to graduate from college,” Tomlinson said. “We are most inspired, though, by the potential you represent and the promise of a stronger future that you provide.”

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Official photos from CSU commencement will be posted online and on social media as soon as they arrive. Follow CSU on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for updates, or visit graduation.columbusstate.edu. Don’t forget to share your own photos with CSU using #CSUgrad.