(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – July 12, 2022) – – – The Columbia State Foundation recently hosted a luncheon in the Pryor Art Gallery where alumni and organizations received awards for their service to the college and community.
“Today we were able to recognize Foundation board members for their service as well as others that have impacted the college in their own unique way – the common thread being all of them have moved the college forward,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation.
To begin, the luncheon honored three Foundation trustee members that were rolling off the board: Dana Salters, Steve Hill and Robby Moore. They were awarded a photo nameplate with the number ‘5776’ to acknowledge the number of Columbia State students that graduated during the time these members served.
Following this, the Maury County Commission received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy was established in March of 2001 as a way of recognizing outstanding fundraising programs that donate their resources and efforts to Tennessee Board of Regents colleges. Honorees are selected through a Donor Recognition Committee comprised of representatives from Tennessee community and technical colleges, donors, Trustees, Regents and employees.
“It was my pleasure to nominate the Maury County Commission for the 2022 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “Maury County Government, Commissioners, you are critically important to the success of our students – those of yesterday, students enrolled today and those that will come in the future.”
Don Morrow, Maury County commission chairman, accepted the award on behalf of the Commission.
“It’s been such an honor today to be here on behalf of the Maury County Commission,” said Morrow. “Today, we’re humble as a Commission to be here because we know the investment we make; we wish we could do more.”
Sarabeth Turman and Michael E. Cox each received the President’s Award of Honor for Distinguished Alumni.
“One of our alums is still relatively new in her journey and one has been building his life and career a bit longer,” Smith said. “Both of them, through their own decisions and chosen paths, have demonstrated what can be accomplished with a Columbia State degree. The President’s Award of Honor for Distinguished Alumni is presented to them today as a celebration of the honor they bring to the College through their professional or community endeavors.”
Turman graduated from Columbia State in Spring 2011 with a general transfer associate degree. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in teaching from Freed-Hardeman University and her master’s degree in counseling from the University of West Alabama. She currently is a counselor at Collinwood Middle School.
“To the Columbia State Foundation, as an alumni, for being honored for this award, I’m grateful and humbled by your recognition,” Turman said. “Education is a lifelong journey and I’m grateful for the foundation that Columbia State provided for me. It not only made the foundation of my education, but it also taught me that hard work, dedication and a good support system will help you overcome any obstacles that come your way.”
Cox graduated from Columbia State in 1989 with an Associate of Science degree. He went on to attend Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor of business administration degree and a master of criminal justice degree. In 2009, he obtained Certified Fraud Examiner certification and has been a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners since that time. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Medicaid Fraud Control Division.
“About 35 years ago this fall is when I started here,” Cox said. “Instead of being recognized today, I want to say thank you to Columbia State. Without that opportunity when I graduated from high school in ’87, I would not be here probably… I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me 35 years ago because I think it has led me to the journey I have today.”
The Columbia State Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports and partners with the college to positively impact student success and the communities in which it serves. For more information, visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/Foundation.