Student Returns to Columbus State University for Second Graduation

Rex, Savannah MilnerCOLUMBUS, Ga. It took 35 years, but Rex Milner recently found himself back where he started his career at age 20 — standing among graduates receiving diplomas at a Columbus State University  commencement.

Milner, a 1979 graduate of what was then Columbus College’s two-year nursing program, had kept busy since he got his associate degree, working at Columbus’ St. Francis Hospital the entire time and serving as the hospital’s director of patient care for the past 12 years.

Because of a new job requirement, one that impacted more than a dozen St. Francis managers, Milner found himself returning to Columbus State three years ago to further his education. Facing the very real possibility of losing his position and with the hospital paying 80 percent of his education costs, the decision to return came easy.

“That was a no brainer,” said Milner, who enrolled in CSU’s new online RN-to-BSN program. “It allowed me to keep my job in management and stay up to date on research and evidence-based practice —  a concept a manager must understand. I learned a lot about research and up-to-date standards of care to make sure your hospital is doing it.”

Graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the December commencement, Milner’s glad he returned, even visiting campus occasionally.

“The hospital gained. I gained. It was a good thing,” he said. “And I got to wave at my daughter (now a CSU freshman) on campus. ‘Hey Savannah! Hey, Daddy!’ That was a little odd, but overall it was a great experience.”

Columbus State’s online RN-to-BSN program is designed for working nurses who want to earn their bachelor’s degrees in just one year. This program, which allows students to enter year round, has small, interactive classes offered in 10-week sessions. Currently there are 51 students in this program. For more information, visit

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Photo caption: Rex Milner poses here with his daughter, Savannah, a CSU freshman, at the December commencement where he was awarded his second CSU degree. Milner, who earned a 1979 associate's degree in nursing from what was then Columbus College, recently took advantage of CSU's online RN-to-BSN program, geared toward working nurses, to earn his Bachelor of Nursing.