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January 7, 2019

 2018 Year In Review

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The year in review

As Columbus State ushers in 2019, we take a look back at a few of the key points for a 2018 Year in Review. Well-known speakers engaged us early on. A groundbreaking on a new building brought renewed attention to our award-winning Hospitality Program. Summertime included a visit by the Governor of Ohio and a record-setting Taste the Future while Autumn Semester began with the unveiling of the renovated Union Cafe on the Columbus Campus.



photo of Nikki Giovanni
Prominent African-American poet and activist Nikki Giovanni (pictured above) offered a stirring presentation at Columbus State’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration on January 29. She was introduced with the little-known fact that she began her teaching career as a creative writing instructor at Columbus State. Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, spoke about the contributions of African-Americans building the country and the ongoing need for broadened engagement in civil justice. She addressed the current political climate, and encouraged progressives to not be discouraged.


photo of Judith Dann
Courageous Conversations series kicked off with stories of inspirational women. On February 8, the College hosted the first two events in the series as faculty member Judith Dann (pictured above) shared her research into the life of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States in 1872. Later that evening, Senior Vice President Kim Hall sat down for a discussion on politics with Yvette McGee Brown, the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Later events during the semester included “Orange is the New Black” author Piper Kerman and Columbus City Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown who both spoke in March.


photo of basketball team
Over the spring break, our men’s basketball team captured third place in the Div. III National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament in New York State March 15 - 17. The entire team was recognized at the regular Board of Trustee's meeting which was held on the Delaware Campus. Earlier in the month the team won the district championship.


photo of Tarana Burke
The founder of the “Me Too” movement, Tarana Burke (pictured above) spoke at the College on April 23. Her speech concluded the Courageous Conversations series. Burke started the “Me Too” movement more than a decade ago to help women and girls who have survived sexual violence. This powerful phrase became a global phenomenon over the past year and raised awareness about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in our society.


photo of graduate holding sign
More than 1,200 students received degrees during the Spring Semester Commencement on May 11. Nick Akins, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Electric Power, provided the address at the Celeste Center. In 2013, the AEP Foundation provided Columbus State with a $5 million gift to develop the Credits Count program for Columbus City Schools. The program prepares middle and high school students for STEM careers. 


photo of groundbreaking event
The College announced that it has raised more than $5 million in private philanthropy toward a $10 million fundraising goal for Mitchell Hall, the new Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts building. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has alone provided $2.5 million.  Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) CEO and founder Cameron Mitchell and CMR President David Miller joined President David Harrison in celebration of the fundraising milestone at a groundbreaking event on June 26 at the Cleveland Avenue construction site.

In addition to $10 million in private philanthropy, the $33 million Mitchell Hall project will be funded by $10 million in state capital funding, and project financing secured by the College.


photo of Ohio governer's visit to campus
Ohio Governor John Kasich (pictured, front right, with student Patrick Simmons as President Harrision, left, looks on) paid a visit to Columbus State for a in Columbus Hall on Monday where he announced that the College is the first in the nation to permanently install navigation support for the visually impaired using the app known as BlindSquare. It provides verbal directions to anyone who is blind, or has limited vision, which then allows them to navigate the campus from building to building. Following the news conference, student Patrick Simmons, who uses the app, gave the governor a demonstration to show how it can direct him from Columbus Hall to the center of campus.



taste of future event photo
The 30th annual Taste the Future Culinary Showcase raised a record-setting $253,000. More than 1,500 people attended the August 14 event on the Columbus Campus.

Two weeks later, on August 27, the newly renovated and newly named Union Cafe opened for students, faculty and staff. It had been closed since March for a major face lift.  It features a modern look and feel, upgraded food options, meeting spaces and Wi-Fi. AVI Food Systems partnered with the College and provided a portion of the $2.2 million funding for these upgrades.



event photo with Wil Haygood

Award-winning author and journalist Wil Haygood (above, left) spoke in Nestor Hall Auditorium on September 21 about his new book “Tigerland 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing.” The Columbus native has been an occasional speaker at the College and was the featured Commencement speaker in December, 2015.

Also in September, President Harrison was among a number of business and civic leaders who were recognized by Columbus Business First as one of the Most Admired Executives in Central Ohio, and awarded a C-Suite Award. Dr. Harrison was honored in the category of CEO: Institutions.



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Nearly 300 area educators and business leaders converged at the Fawcett Center at Ohio State University for the 10th Central Ohio Compact summit on October 9. Columbus State organized the collaboration of K-12, higher education, and civic and industry leaders in 2011 to improve college access and attainment. With the Lumina Foundation’s goal as a benchmark, the Compact has adopted an ambitious goal of having 65 percent of Central Ohio adults earning a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2025.


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Columbus State and is now a partner with Franklin County announced a new partnership that places a caseworker and case unit from the Department of Job and Family Services on the Columbus Campus starting in 2019. Executive Vice President Rebecca Butler (above, center) spoke at the County Commissioners meeting when the agreement was approved on November 15. Read the Columbus Dispatch story here.

Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services (FCDJFS) will have staff in Student Central daily starting early in the Spring Semester to assist students coping with barriers that otherwise might affect their education. The agency will send one full- time and one part-time


event photo with Byron Pitts
Byron Pitts, (sitting, above, left) the Emmy award-winning journalist and co-anchor of ABC News “Nightline,” spoke in Nestor Hall Auditorium on December 7. Following his speech, he sat with President Harrison for a “fireside chat” and took questions from the audience in Nestor Hall Auditorium.

The combined commencement for summer and autumn semesters was held on December 14 at the Celeste Center.  A record 1,400 students combined from both terms petitioned to graduate.





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