Columbia College Welcomed Two Prominent Community Members To Commencement, Mayor Benjamin and Richland County Sheriff, Leon Lott

(Columbia, S.C.) Columbia College awarded 126 undergraduate and graduate degrees at the commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at College Place United Methodist Church. The college honored 118 Women’s College, evening and online graduates and 8 students earning post-graduate degrees.

Columbia College held two commencement ceremonies for December graduates: The 10am ceremony was in celebration of the Women’s College and the Evening College. Mr. Toby Goodlett, Chairman of the Board of Trustees introduced the guest speaker, The Honorable Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia. Mayor Benjamin was elected in a record turnout election in April 2018, and has been working to further the mission to create in Columbia the most talented, educated, and entrepreneurial city in America.

Mayor Benjamin, implored the graduates, “If you take nothing else from what I say this morning, please let it be this: lying within each and every one of you is the power to change who you are. God has given each and every one of you a special power, an individual power, and if you use it properly you can do anything you want to do in this world.” He continued, “Dream big dreams. Focus and use your time wisely and never ever forget what is most important.”

The 3pm ceremony celebrated the Online and Master Program graduates. Mr. Toby Goodlett, again, introduced the guest speaker, Sheriff Leon Lott. Sheriff Lott has been with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department since 1975, and in 1996 he became Sheriff of Richland County. As Sheriff, he encouraged the Department in the direction of Community Oriented Policing.

Sheriff Lott praised the graduates, “Each one of you graduates set a goal to graduate today, and you did everything necessary to reach that goal.” He then reminded them, “Life is about setting goals and then doing everything possible to accomplish that.”

President Moore addressed the graduates in both ceremonies and her message was simple, pay it forward. Even though the graduates are ending their time at Columbia College, they are starting a new chapter in their lives. Their social responsibilities are more important than ever, and Columbia College faculty have done their best to give them the tools to change the world. President Moore encouraged all the graduates to accept the charge: Give back and remember those who helped you along the way.

“The meaning of life is to find your gifts. The purpose of life is to give them away,” President Moore quoted Pablo Picasso.


Selected among the best in the nation by the National Survey of Student Engagement, the Kellogg Foundation and the Women’s College Coalition, Columbia College ranked 28 in the Best College Reviews Small Colleges Top 50 for 2017-2018 and 47 out of 146 public and private universities from 12 southern states for 2017 by U.S. News and World Report.

Founded in 1854 by the United Methodist Church, Columbia College is one of the nation’s oldest women’s colleges. The evening, online and graduate programs are coeducational.

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