Columbia College, new president celebrate graduates

Saturday, May 10, 2014 | 9:47 p.m. CDT; updated 10:57 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 10, 2014
The first commencement ceremony for Columbia College hosted 310 graduating students and featured the traditional cutting of the ivy chain, symbolizing the graduates' separation from the college.

COLUMBIA — For the first time, Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple conferred degrees to more than 500 students at the college's commencement ceremonies.

As the students prepared to graduate, Kaelin Conrow stood in a line of bachelor's students in Southwell Complex before the later ceremony.

"I feel ready," she said. "I'm ready to be done."

Conrow is from Bowling Green and her bachelor's degree is in biology. She's especially proud to be the first grandchild in her family to graduate from college.

Across the room from Conrow, Ryan Smith was waiting to receive his degree in philosophy.

"It's one of those things that takes a while to process," he said about graduating.

He knows this from experience. He previously received a bachelor's degree in education from MU in 2001.

The first commencement ceremony was held at noon Saturday, and the second was held at 3:30 p.m. Students had a choice of which commencement they would walk in. Both commencements took place at the Southwell Complex on Columbia College's main campus. Dalrymple gave the commencement address at both of Saturday's commencements.

Students from many of Columbia College's campuses were represented at Saturday's commencements, said Jeff Branscom, news bureau coordinator for Columbia College.

During the 3:30 p.m. commencement, Dalrymple borrowed a joke from Ellen DeGeneres about the sea of caps and gowns in front of him before starting his speech in earnest.

"When you see someone in a robe at 3 in the afternoon, it's usually a sign they've given up," he said.

During his remarks, he gave students advice about planning for the future using an extended metaphor about time travel. He also spoke about the preparations he took to achieve his dream of becoming president of a college.

Dalrymple became the president of Columbia College this January. He was the former dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y.

"Live long and prosper. Be kind to one another. Call your mother more often than you need to, and remember you're always welcome here in Columbia," he told the graduates.

Before the commencements, the day's festivities began with the cutting of the Ivy Chain, a Columbia College tradition. Students gathered on Bass Commons at 9:30 a.m., and a chain of ivy was draped on the shoulders of the participants.

The ivy was then cut, which signifies the students going their separate ways, Stephanie Cagle, who coordinated the Ivy Chain ceremony, said.

"It symbolizes they'll always have a part of CC with them," she said.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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