Columbia Southern University Returns to OWA to Celebrate 2021 Graduates


ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Columbia Southern University (CSU) will return to its annual in-person commencement ceremonies at the Foley Event Center at OWA in Foley, Alabama, on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. The university expects more than 700 graduates and their friends and families to attend the graduation day which will feature three ceremonies at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. CST.

this alt“CSU is very excited to be able to welcome students and their families and friends back to celebrate their graduation with us in Baldwin County,” said CSU President Ken Styron. “We are all anxious to meet our grads and their families as we make preparations for this important milestone for so many.”

The keynote speaker for each ceremony is Bert Thornton, retired vice chairman emeritus of Waffle House. He started his career with Waffle House in 1971 on the grill and worked his way up to president and chief operating officer. Thornton’s speech and the ceremonies will be broadcasted on the CSU website and will be available public viewing on-demand.

Graduates are also encouraged to attend the Grad Bash on Saturday, Oct. 23, at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. Graduates can drop in and mingle from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. CST.

CSU is taking COVID-19 precautions such as requiring all CSU staff to be masked, reducing room capacity to 32% for each ceremony, social distancing, providing sanitizing stations throughout the building and offering disposable masks. CSU is also planning a virtual commencement ceremony in May for those who could not attend this month’s commencement ceremonies.

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About Columbia Southern University

As an innovator in online education, CSU was established in 1993 to provide an alternative to the traditional university experience for today’s adult learner. CSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs such as business administration, criminal justice, fire administration and occupational safety and health. Visit or call (877) 347-6050 to learn more.