Quentin Wilson, commissioner of Missouri higher education, addressed an audience of thousands at Columbia College’s commencement Saturday at Southwell Complex.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Wilson told students, “and you are prepared for that change.”
This year, Columbia College conferred undergraduate and master’s degrees to more than 400 students from its main and extended campuses.
This graduating class is the largest in the history of Columbia College.
Friends and families sounded air horns and noise makers as their loved ones walked across the stage.
One student was so overjoyed, he did a cartwheel on stage after receiving his diploma.
Wilson focused on changes in education budgets, technology and the work force during his brief commencement speech.
He also said he was proud to share the day with the graduates and he was confident that education would provide them with multiple opportunities.
Wilson has served as commissioner since 2002, and prior to his appointment, he served as cabinet director for Gov. Bob Holden and director for the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Currently, Wilson leads the Missouri Department of Higher Education in carrying out the coordinating board’s goals and administrative responsibilities for the state system of higher education.
Founded in 1851, Columbia College is a private coeducational institution that offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees.
The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and holds specialized accreditation in its education, nursing and social work programs.
Columbia’s mission is to “assist individuals in gaining a broad understanding of the liberal arts and sciences through exemplary teaching.”