The Columbia College liberal arts school for women is reaching out to prospective students who are motivated and personally determined to succeed, but may not be academic all-stars.
This was emphasized at a recent Rotary Club of Georgetown Tuesday lunch meeting at the Land’s End Restaurant. Rotary President Paul Yarborough turned the microphone over to his wife, Claire Yarborough, who introduced the new Columbia College President Elizabeth A. Dinndorf.
“We are seeking women with momentum, grit and the determination to outshine others,” Dinndorf said. “There are ten yearly scholarships, which start at $14,000 and go up to full tuition. These students would receive the full transitional training by professionals who provide personalized advisement all four years. Each shall be encouraged to be involved in summer internship.”
“We need local people to help nominate a potential female student. The deadline for high school seniors was Jan. 15, but the names of potential high school juniors who want to come to Columbia College are being accepted now. This is a fabulous opportunity in a safe urban setting where the student to faculty ratio is 13 to 1. Please help us identify her or help with job shadowing opportunities. It is a wonderful thing to do for young women.”
“Large employers tell us they value Columbia students who have problem solving, leadership skills and can write and communicate,” she said. “Our students are not engineers, they’re imagineers. With core liberal arts skills, they are flexible, adaptable and life-long learners.”
“To gain these values, students need multiple experiences, including first-year job shadowing, which help create opportunities. We are fortunate in South Carolina to be in a state that is growing. There are hundreds of quality jobs that go unfilled.”
“Our new promise to students is if you have a big idea, you need an academic place where you can gain practical knowhow through real-world experiences,” she said. “If you have what it takes, we do, too, at Columbia College.”
“Giving back to the community begins the day students arrive on campus, the President said. “They do class service projects for their communities,” she said. “Some students feel this is the most transformational experience they’ve had.”
“It was a hallmark event last October when I went to Washington DC to pick up the 2012 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award at the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, one of five colleges to be so recognized in the United States,” she said. “Columbia College runs a successful and robust community initiative to promote healthy lifestyles and raise awareness of diabetes,” according to the Center, which is in partnership with the New York Life Foundation.
President Dinndorf said 100 women students are involved in school athletic teams, nicknamed the Fighting Koalas, and are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing primarily in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. She said lacrosse recently was added to sports programs, which also include basketball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. The school received a NAIA team-management Champions of Character award in 2012 for young women in athletic programs.
More than 30 majors are offered, including art, behavioral science, biological/physical science, business administration, including accounting, management and marketing, child and family studies, child life specialist, communication and computer/information sciences and contractional studies, which allows students to customize a professional track.
Also, dance, education, including early child, elementary and special education, English, history/political science, mathematics/computing, modern languages/literature, music, public affairs, religion and philosophy, social work, speech/language pathology and writing for print and digital media.
Established in 1854 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Columbia College is one of the oldest women’s colleges in the United States, and has approximately 1500 students, including 500 female and male students enrolled in evening and graduate programs. “In addition to classes held on our campus, our faculty travels to area community colleges and works with their students,” she said. “This is the only such program in South Carolina.
As a board member and graduate of Columbia College, Mrs. Yarborough was well acquainted with Dinndorf, who is an attorney and business executive with 17 years of leadership experience at a women’s college in her home state of Minnesota. She assumed office last July as the private college’s 18th president in Columbia.