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April 26 alumni reunion, fundraising campaign mark Honors College’s 25th anniversary - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

April 26 alumni reunion, fundraising campaign mark Honors College’s 25th anniversary

March 27, 2024

Dean Cindy Ticknor standing with a graduating student at a graduation ceremony

A quarter-century of Columbus State University alumni will return to their alma mater on Friday, April 26 to celebrate the Honors College’s 25th anniversary. The reunion coincides with the university’s Tower Day—an annual event showcasing undergraduate students’ academic and creative endeavors.

Reunion activities will stretch into the weekend as Honors College alumni are encouraged to attend the Department of Theatre & Dance’s annual Spring Swing fundraising event on Saturday, and the Honors College’s reunion brunch on Sunday. The Honors College will also collect video memories from its alumni at some of these activities.

Alumni are encouraged to RSVP online for these reunion events.

“Our Honors College alumni represent every university major and campus leadership opportunities in student organizations, student media, athletics and Greek life,” explained Dr. Cindy Ticknor, the Honors College’s dean. “Tower Day is the perfect kick-off for our alumni reunion, since the Tower Day idea originated with an Honors College student.”

Ticknor noted that two of the Honors College alumni—Jacquelynne Jordan Regan and Joshua Fields—will be Tower Day keynote speakers. Regan, a trademark of counsel attorney with Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, graduated summa cum laude in 2002 with a bachelor’s in communication. Fields, who earned a bachelor’s in biology in 2023, is a biochemist and educator specializing in infectious diseases and immunology.


Tower Day allows students from all academic majors to present, discuss and network around their academic, research and artistic productions. Student poster sessions, keynote speakers and professional development are part of the day’s scheduled activities.

“Tower Day serves as the perfect opportunity to put my work on display while gaining the research experience I need to be successful in my career,” explained Fayetteville, Georgia, native Sonya Mahon, who is majoring in history and minoring in environmental science. “As a young academic with high aspirations, finally feeling prepared to compete and converse with peers about the studies we have been engaged in and how we choose to share them is a very fulfilling moment in my studies here.”

Current Honors College students won’t be the only ones showcasing their academic and research interests. The reunion environment will give alumni a forum to talk about their current professional activities and how their Honors College experiences served as a springboard for their career success.


Established as the Honors Program in 1998 and designated as a university college in 2014, more than 500 Columbus State graduates are now Honors College alumni. As a result, the university is now seeing its second generation of Honors College students, like Olivia Osborne.

Her father, Don Osborne, graduated from Columbus State in 2013 with a degree in Earth and space science. He’s applying his academic specialization in geology as a supervisory physical scientist at nearby Fort Moore. His work for the U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command ensures the military installation complies with environmental requirements and regulations.

“The Honors College allowed me to find an academic identity at Columbus State,” Don Osborne said of his experience as a “non-traditional” adult learner. “It created study groups that, in many cases, resulted in lifetime friendships—especially with those who shared my major. My instructors helped build the mentorship aspect of the educational experience, which later led to local networking that helped me secure employment in my major.

“My hope for my daughter [Olivia] is that she enjoys the expanded campus community experience the Honors College makes available,” he continued. “Also, that she might get opportunities to delve deeper into her academic interests beyond what is simply in the course catalogue of her major.”

While new to the Honors College, Olivia Osborne is already forming those academic connections.

“I'm hoping the Honors College will connect me to more advanced projects that involve my chosen major and career. I know the Honors College has many opportunities and experiences to take advantage of, and I fully intend on doing that,” the sophomore said. “I'm confident that the incredible advisors will help me find projects outside of my typical classes.”

Delving deeper into advanced concepts is a common theme among Honors College students and graduates alike. That includes Kaylee Day, a 2023 accounting graduate, who credits the discipline she honed as an Honors College student with her post-graduate success. Through her Honors College involvement, she also networked with executives at Columbus-based Fortune 500 company Aflac, where she is now a financial planning and analysis analyst.

“The discipline [required of the honors thesis] is something that has directly helped me be successful in my current position at Aflac. The honors thesis got me into the routine of holding myself accountable and setting a work plan that was efficient and effective,” Day said.


Earlier this year, the Honors College initiated its $25 for 25 Years Alumni Challenge fundraising campaign with the hopes of raising $25,000 for a new Honors College Alumni Scholarship.

Headshot of Cindy Ticknor“Only a third of our highest-achieving students receive financial support from the Honors College,” Ticknor (pictured) explained. “They work very hard on their academics, but many still have financial need and cannot afford to go to conferences or travel abroad. As our alumni who have later applied to and attended Ivy League graduate schools will tell you, activities such as national internships or studying at the University of Oxford are critical to our students’ continued success.”

For more information about the April 26 Honors College Anniversary Reunion, visit the event page on Facebook, or contact Ticknor at 706.507.8776 or Alumni are encouraged to RSVP online for the various reunion events.


The Honors College offers high-achieving Columbus State students with an innovative curriculum built around providing a community-within-a-community. Enrolling in the Honors College is open to students of all majors but does require students to meet admission requirements, and complete an application and interview. Admission is currently limited to about 5% of the university’s undergraduate student body.

Through the Honors College, students learn by doing through immersive experiences and building a community with classmates from different majors and backgrounds. Like its students, its faculty come from every academic major. Classes are frequently limited to 15 or fewer students, meaning students benefit from an intimate learning environment while benefiting from intensive mentoring by Honors College faculty and networking with university and industry leaders.

“Taking the classes with smaller class sizes that were specifically available to honor students was incredibly beneficial, because it allowed me to associate with peers who shared different interests and allowed me to gain knowledge about their areas of study,” Day said. “Surrounding yourself with individuals who share the same passion and drive for their education as you help you create a community of success.”

Immersive Honors College experiences allow students to learn by doing. Leadership opportunities in the Honors Causa student organization, seminars, internships, research projects and attending conferences are just some of the ways Honors College students can customize their Columbus State experience. Those experiences also include community-building activities like service-learning projects and social activities.

Honors College students enjoy exclusive benefits from their participation, including renewable scholarships, stipends and scholarships specific to study abroad experiences, and grants to fund their research and participation in conferences. Students receive specialized advising and priority registration for classes. Honors-exclusive housing on the university’s RiverPark Campus provides the college’s students with a true living-learning environment and the opportunity to strengthen their community outside the classroom.

Students completing the Honors College curriculum receive a unique shoulder cord with the Honors College seal to wear at graduation, and the Honors College designation on their degree and transcript. Requirements include defending a senior thesis, studying abroad or completing a significant service project, and maintaining a 3.4 or higher grade point average throughout their studies.

Media contact:
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729,