Highlights of 2019
2019 was an exciting year at Columbus State University. We continued to build inspiring collaborations with the community. We reimagined education with a variety of new degree options. We expanded the worlds of students with new possibilities from internships to job opportunities. And along the way, we accrued well-deserved accolades. But most importantly – our students accomplished the extraordinary and cultivated creativity in surprising ways. 2019 was a year for CSU cougars to show the world just what it means to be creative to the core. Check out these highlights from the year.
From athletics to academics, CSU students shined in 2019.
New internships were forged, as ten students in CSU’s Georgia Film Academy assisted on the set of “The Long Night”, an action thriller starring Bruce Willis. Another CSU communications student, Matt Rorer, earned a scholarship to attend the GAB Radio Talent Institute over the summer. Computer science student Elijah Neundorfer went to Pittsburgh for the summer for a prestigious research opportunity at Carnegie Mellon University. Additionally two students spent the Spring 2019 semester in Atlanta as legislative interns for the Georgia General Assembly. Art major Kate Scrivner was commissioned by the city of Columbus to paint a gift for the Governor. These are just a few examples of CSU students who gained real world job experience throughout the year.
Students at CSU also spent the year helping their community. Two students created a chemistry tool for the visually impaired and presented it at a statewide business plan competition. Two geography students assisted with a community project to map out blighted properties in Columbus and presented before city council. Students in the earth and space sciences department helped with an effort to monitor a stream restoration project in the community. Servant Leadership seniors fundraised to refurbish outdoor areas at Twin Cedars Youth and Family services. Communications students used their skills to help local nonprofits.
Many awards were also obtained by CSU students this year. CSU’s student campus newspaper, The Saber, was selected as a finalist for a Magazine Pacemaker Award for the second year in a row. CSU’s club football team was ranked among the top in the country. CSU’s Army ROTC ranked No. 1 within the Sixth Brigade, which includes 39 schools across the southeast. The university’s new eSports team was named runner up in the Peach Belt Conference Championship and the cybersecurity team placed 2nd out of 31 teams at a regional competition.
Several students obtained national scholarships, including Shayla Foston, who received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship; Huirui Washington, who received Morphisec Women in Cybersecurity scholarship; Kanaya Mahone, who received a four-year annual scholarship from the United Negro College Fund; and ZiJie “Jerry” Lin, who was selected as a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholar. Computer science student Matthew Bowen ranked among the top three students worldwide at IBM’s Master the Mainframe Competition. Violin student Samuel Vargas was among only eleven musicians nationwide to be named a winner of the 2019 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition.
Of course, we can’t forget the one goal that unites all college students: graduation day. This year, more than 1,670 graduates earned degrees from CSU. In fact, spring 2019 was the largest ever graduating class in CSU history. Among the recent CSU alumni are incredible individuals, from a former refugee who hopes to bring clean water back to his home country to two high school students who earned their associates degree before the 19th birthday. Congratulations, Class of 2019! We look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years ahead.
As students found success in their disciplines, CSU worked to ensure it offers the degrees most needed in today’s job market. In that pursuit, several new degrees were approved for CSU in 2019.
With approval from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, CSU became one of the first universities in the state to offer – not one, but two – NEXUS degrees. With an emphasis on hands-on experiential learning, the 60-credit-hour degree prepares students for careers in high demand fields. In 2020 CSU will offer NEXUS degrees in the areas of cybersecurity and film production. Additionally, two new bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity were approved in 2019: a bachelor of business administration in cybersecurity management and a bachelor of science in cybersecurity.
Another first of its kind program – robotics engineering – is also coming to CSU. In May, CSU was approved to offer new bachelor of science and master of science degrees in robotics engineering.
Other new degrees approved this year were a minor in entrepreneurship and small business and a master’s degree in public health with a maternal and child health concentration.
In addition to new degrees, CSU also established meaningful collaborations with the Columbus community and beyond in 2019.
One example of this was the close of a historic $120 million fundraising campaign. With donations from more than 8,000 alumni and community donors, the campaign surpassed its $100 million goal as only the second campaign in CSU’s 60 year history. It was truly a historic moment for CSU, enabling the creation of 42 new endowed scholarships for students. We are forever thankful to our supporters and partners who made this milestone possible.
Another monumental partnership celebrated in 2019 was the new job guarantee program launched in collaboration with Muscogee County School District. Possibly the only program of its kind in the nation, the guarantee promises MCSD teaching contracts to all graduates of CSU’s education program who meet the necessary requirements.
While external partnerships are a point of pride for CSU, an internal collaboration among staff earned CSU national attention this year. CSU’s behavioral intervention team was used as inspiration for federal legislation as Congressman Drew Ferguson introduced the Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act (BIG Act), holding CSU as a model to be emulated by institutions across the country.
With all that CSU faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners accomplished this year, it is no surprise that the university ranked highly this year by multiple entities. In fact, the U.S. News & World Report moved CSU up 25 spots in its list of best regional universities in the South, ranking CSU as Number 75. Other noteworthy 2019 rankings include the following:
• No. 8 best online college in George by valuecolleges.com
• Seven CSU degree programs were ranked in the top 50 nationwide by Intelligent.com
• ALL IN Challenge Gold Seal for high campus voting rate
• Top 50 Colleges for Veterans Nationwide by Military Times
• AASCU Excellence and Innovation Award for International Education