On October 10th, 2008 more than 700 graduates and guests from around the globe traveled to Pensacola, Florida to march across the stage of the second largest air and space museum in the world. The annual Columbia Southern University (CSU) commencement ceremony was held Friday at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.
Graduates represented countries as far as Kenya, Egypt, and Canada and cities as close as Pensacola, Navarre and Orange Beach. The largest number of graduates, 34, came from Vietnam.
"Our graduates - entrepreneurs, firefighters, law enforcement, Military Servicemembers and business professionals - have traveled from across the globe to participate in this milestone event", said Robert Mayes, CSU President. "Twenty seven U.S. states and four countries are represented."
The ceremony was held in the 10,000 square foot museum atrium with a quartet of McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk jets suspended above in their famous diamond formation. This 300,000 square foot museum of steel and glass attracts approximately one million visitors a year and features more than 150 aircraft.
Vice Admiral Gerald L. Hoewing served as keynote speaker for the event. A graduate of Iowa State University, his professional background includes positions with the Bureau of Naval Personnel and Office of Secretary of Defense. During his sterling military career, Vice Admiral Hoewing has done everything from flying the A-7E Corsair II light attack aircraft on multiple deployments to the Western Pacific on USS Constellation (CV-64) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) to his final active duty assignment as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations/Chief of Naval Personnel.
CSU, one of the nation's first completely online universities, was developed to provide working adults with an alternative to the traditional university experience. With a record enrollment of over 15,000 students, this local university based in Orange Beach, Alabama is among the most rapidly growing universities in the U.S. By the end of 2008, a new 67,000 square foot facility will be constructed to accommodate the additional staff needed to continue providing prospective and current students with the quality service this university maintains as its hallmark.
In 2007, CSU was recognized as one of the top 30 schools for military education by Military Advanced Education. Over 100 institutions applied for the award and CSU ranked in the top 30. Schools selected are considered the best of the best in military education based on the number of military students enrolled, number of military contracts, and amount of accessible financial aid and scholarships for members of the military.
Online associate, bachelor, master, doctoral and certificate programs are available in a variety of fields including fire science, criminal justice, business administration, information technology, human resource management, occupational safety and health and more.