Graduation is one of the most important milestone in the academic journey of students. The entire campus community looks forward to the commencement ceremony with family and friends of the graduating class. Because of the extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Columbia College cancelled its 51st Commencement Ceremony following the guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health. Each and every student graduating this year will have the opportunity to return to the campus and walk formally with the class of 2021 next Spring. Although this graduating class will not get to walk in the traditional graduation ceremony, the college’s Graduation Committee has created packages for each graduating student to include a congratulatory letter from the college president – Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, a graduation cap, tassel, cords and/or sashes for special program involvement, leadership, and/or high GPAs.
Since the state declared the stay at home orders, Columbia College transformed its entire operation to the remote learning mode. The class of 2020 showed exemplary resilience to overcome the unexpected challenges and completed their degrees and/or certificates. Their sheer determination and ability to adjust to a fast evolving environment is a testament to the fact that they are well prepared to accept any obstacle that might come their way in the years to come. “We at Columbia College are honored and humbled to be a part of your academic journey. I wish I had the opportunity to shake your hands and congratulate you personally on your significant accomplishment. I would love to see you back at the graduation ceremony next year”, said Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College, to the graduating class. This year, Columbia College’s Graphics Media Coordinator, Molly Hart created a special frame that the Class of 2020 can upload to their Facebook page; students can take a picture of themselves in their cap, tassel, and cords and post it on Facebook for family and friends to see.
Among the graduating class, 81 Associate of Arts Degrees will be conferred, 92 Associate of Arts Transfer Degrees, 165 Associate of Science Degrees, and 47 Associate of Science Transfer Degrees. 61 students will graduate with distinction (cumulative grade point averages of 3.75 or better) and 51 with honors (between 3.5 and 3.74 grade point averages).
Those who will receive more than one degree are David Aaron, Mariana Baron, Elizabeth Beath, Sheila Blackburn, Joline Blankenship, Lisa Canales, Glenn Cargain, Akasha Clearwater, Aaron David, Franziska Daumberger, Ashley Del Ponte, Michael De Vries, Justin Eisler, Halley Ellard, Gabriel Fernandez, Calista Fields-Richardson, Macey Fredrickson, Starla Gallagher, Neil Gamez, Steven Gazdik, Sonja Gion, Heather Graham, Julia Grimes, Laura Hafer, Daniel Hill, Tabatha Hooter, Kayla Klidies, Tabitha Kluth, Chloe Johnson, Lydia Johnson, Nikolas Lillie, Ahtziry Macias, Amber McGinnes, Heather Montgomery, Karen Moore, Colton Myers, Devin Odom, Savannah Overton, Kendra Pope, Bonnie Porter-Kotzebue, Michael Reis, Stephanie Riley, Matthew Roberts, Carley Ross, Ross Rushdoony, Lena Schulke, Zachary Sears, Andrew Shepherd, Amora Stevenot, Morgan St. Pierre, Carina Swann, Gabriella Taylor, Kaarina Thompson, Brian Teets, Curtis Torcia, Joseph Tullus, Rebecca Valdes, Jonah Vassar, Christopher Wells, Alayna Williams, Emma Williams, Jacob Wozynski, Wyatt Wunder, Joshua Zubek and Adrianna Zuniga
Bailey Van Zant**
Bay City, Michigan
Lake Don Pedro
Ashley Del Ponte**
Michael de Vries**
Eunice Sanchez Terrazas
Morgan St. Pierre**
Kylie Wagstaff Carr
Calista Fields Richardson**
No Hometown Listed
Columbia College’s Fire Academy would like to announce the graduation and Certificates of Completion to the successful students of the Fire Technology Program.
The certificates are awarded based on the student’s successful completion of the academic and manipulative training as mandated for a California Firefighter 1 Certification. The students must still complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter I Certification. “Some of the graduates will apply or continue with reserve, intern, and volunteer in positions at local fire departments since entering the academy” said Chief Shane Warner, Columbia College Fire Technology Program Coordinator/Instructor. “Some of the students have already applied through a standard application process for seasonal employment with CAL Fire, Forest Service, and local fire agencies” said Instructor Andy VanHoogmoed.
These students have completed an intense 16 weeks of training. The rigorous training is designed to help serious candidates meet the requirements for demanding careers as professional firefighters, including more than 576 hours of academic and manipulative training, according to Chief Shane Warner.
In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, specialized training was delivered involving Incident Command System, Hazardous Materials Training, Seasonal Wildland Firefighting classes, Confined Space, Basic Power Saw Safety, and live fire suppression training which was conducted at the Twain Harte Fire Department’s Training Center. A special thank you goes out to Columbia College Fire Department, Columbia Fire District, Sonora City Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL Fire TCU, and Sierra Conservation Center.
“These graduates have shown extraordinary resolve to overcome the unforeseen obstacles that came their way and remained focused on completion. Their superior effort needs to be commended. The entire Columbia College community is proud of the graduates!” said Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College.
The traditional Columbia College Fire Academy graduation ceremony cannot be observed under the current circumstances. Once the pandemic is over, an alternate for graduation will be decided upon and the graduates will be informed accordingly.
For further information contact Fire Academy Chief Shane Warner at (209) 588-5308 or Captain Andy VanHoogmoed at (209) 588-5153.
Columbia College is proud to announce that we have just received new Scott Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for the Fire Technology Program. This personal protective gear will be used by Columbia College Fire Academy students in live fire training that is required by the State Fire Marshall’s Office to receive their Firefighter 1 certificate. This specialized gear is used in firefighting when firefighters enter into IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) conditions so they have compressed air to breathe that is provided by the SCBA.
The Columbia College Fire Academy purchased 30 new SCBA packs along with 30 spare bottles to enhance the fire program at Columbia College. According to our vendor, AllStar Fire Equipment, these brand new SCBA packs are the first to be purchased by a community college in California. They are X3 Pro SCBA packs, approved by National Fire Protection Association 1981/1982, 2018 edition, manufactured by Scott Safety. Columbia College purchased the packs at a discounted rate provided by Scott Safety to state agencies in accordance with a state contract. Fire academy students and instructors will use the new SCBA packs for manipulative training, skills testing, and live fire training.
The Columbia College Fire Academy goes through extensive training in a modular format that is broken up to include academic and manipulative training in three areas: Structure, Hazmat, and Wildland. Each module must be successfully completed with passing scores in order to complete the first part of the California Firefighter 1 Certification. After completing the Fire Academy, students are required to complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter 1 Certification.
For further information contact Fire Academy Chief Shane Warner at 588-5308 or Captain Andy Van Hoogmoed at 588-5153.
Columbia College has named 231 students to the fall 2019 semester President’s List.
This honor is reserved for students completing twelve or more units of coursework in a single semester at Columbia College and earning a cumulative grade point average between 3.5 and 4.0, with no grade lower than “C.”
The fall 2019 President’s List honorees are listed below by hometown. We are pleased to formally recognize their exceptional academic achievement.
|Anthony||Munroe||Big Oak Flat|
|Shannon||De La Maire||Sonora|
The Symphony of the Sierra’s 2019 Winter Concert will be held at Columbia College in the Dogwood Forum, at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. The orchestra is delighted to present works from the Late Renaissance through the Contemporary, beginning with Monteverdi’s beautiful Si hi’o vorrei morire. The repertoire will include Sousa’s The Gliding Girl, Stravinsky’s Danse Infernal and Berceuse & Finale from the Firebird Suite, Anderson’s Bugler’s Holiday, and seasonal favorites, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and more.
Doors open at 2:30 p.m. The concert is family friendly and admittance is free of charge.
Columbia College’s Fire Academy will hold its graduation ceremony and presentation of Certificates of Completion to the successful students of the Fire Technology Program. The event, which is open to the general public, will be held Thursday, December 12, 2019, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Oak Pavilion.
The certificates will be awarded based on the student’s successful completion of the academic and manipulative training as mandated for a California Firefighter 1 Certification. The students must still complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter I Certification. “Some of the graduates will apply or continue with reserve, intern, and volunteer in positions at local fire departments since entering the academy” said Chief Shane Warner, Columbia College Fire Technology Program Coordinator/Instructor. “Some of the students have already applied through a standard application process for seasonal employment with CAL Fire, Forest Service, and local fire agencies” said Instructor Andy VanHoogmoed.
In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, specialized training was delivered involving Low Angle Rope Rescue Training, Incident Command System, Hazardous Materials Training, Seasonal Wildland Firefighting classes, Confined Space, Basic Power Saw Safety, and live fire suppression training which was conducted at the Twain Harte Fire Department’s Training Center. A special thank you goes out to Columbia College Fire Department, Columbia Fire District, Sonora City Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL Fire TCU, and Sierra Conservation Center,
Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College, will deliver a welcome message, and Billy Alcorn, Chief of Merced Fire Department, will be the keynote speaker. They will be joined by Cal Fire’s Captain Cole Periera, from the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, who will deliver the closing comments.
Family and friends will view a student-produced, audiovisual presentation of their intensive 16 weeks of training. The rigorous training is designed to help serious candidates meet the requirements for demanding careers as professional firefighters, including more than 576 hours of academic and manipulative training, according to Chief Shane Warner.
For further information contact Fire Academy Chief Shane Warner at 209-588-5308 or Captain Andy VanHoogmoed at 209-588-5153.
The Columbia College Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting expansion of its Columbia College Promise for local high school seniors enrolling at Columbia College. Starting in Fall 2020, the Promise program will make it possible for every qualified local public high school graduate to attend Columbia College fulltime, tuition free, for two full years of consecutive semesters if they enroll immediately after graduation. The program service area will also expand to include high school graduates throughout the college service area which includes Oakdale and Waterford, and to Mariposa and Calaveras, both adjacent rural high school districts.
“Thanks to additional funding now available through the state’s California Promise program, the Foundation is very pleased to expand the program to cover a second year of college and a larger geographical area,” said Foundation President Colette Such. “We’re incredibly grateful to our private donors who helped us launch and sustain the Columbia College Promise, and to the college for continuing to invest this new state funding in this exceptionally successful program. “
In 2018, the program’s first year, 185 local high school graduates took advantage of the free tuition offer. Demonstrating the program’s success, in 2019, full time enrollment of local high school graduates expanded to 214 students. In Tuolumne County, the response has been especially successful with more than 45% of Sonora High’s Class and 50% of Summerville and Tioga High School’s Class enrolling as fulltime students and taking advantage of the free tuition offer.
Though still in its infancy, the Columbia College Promise program is already exceeding expectations.
“We have been overwhelmed with the response to this program and are encouraged with its growing success. It is clear that we are meeting an important need in our community,” Such said.
Columbia College President Santanu Bandyopadhyay added his support. “We are grateful for the financial support of private donors that launched this program and are pleased that the College can support program expansion. We are confident that the Promise program will contribute greatly to the College’s goal of building an educated work force. When the community and the college work together, great things happen. “
The goal of the Promise program is to remove the tuition barrier that often stops promising young high school graduates from pursuing their education while connecting them to support services to help ensure success. The intent is to increase the number of local high school graduates who attend Columbia College, thereby boosting the population of workforce-ready young adults who complete a degree, certificate or training program, or successfully transfer to a 4-year college.
Additional information on the program expansion will be posted on the Columbia College website and Facebook pages, and will be available to families in October, through their school counselors.
While state funding has allowed the Promise expansion, local donor support is still an essential element to keep the program going. As with all programs of this nature, continuation is dependent on the availability of state funding, support from the college, and donations from generous contributors.
Contributions for the Promise Scholarship program and other Foundation projects are always welcome.
Columbia College Foundation, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit organization that promotes quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. The mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College students.