September 22, 2023

Going the Distance

Commencement at Columbia Southern University may be a two-day event for students and their guests, but CSU has been planning the 2015 ceremony for more than a year. This year’s two commencement ceremonies will be held on Oct. 23 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Orange Beach Event Center in Orange Beach.

Approximately 406 graduates have already registered to take part in the commencement festivities that begin with Open House on Oct. 22 at CSU’s campus in Orange Beach. Approximately 1,797 guests have indicated they will attend, according to Nickie Cooper, chairman of the CSU Graduation Committee. Registration is required to participate in commencement and deadline to register is Sept. 14 or until the event space is filled.

“Walking across stage in front of friends and family is especially important for nontraditional college students,” Cooper said. “It is a tie to the traditional college experience. For a lot of people, it has taken 10 or even 40 years to get here.”

To assist students with registering for the commencement activities and completing their degree programs, Academic Advisors have sent postcards to students who are within 12 hours of graduating. The postcard contains a checklist for students to use that reminds them to petition to graduate, review their graduation and register for the CSU commencement ceremony.

“The postcards are a reminder to get enrolled and complete steps so the degree can be conferred,” said Lisa Nix, chairman of the Academic Advising’s Graduation Committee. “We hope that students will see just how close they are and can participate in commencement for the upcoming year.”

Students may call their Academic Advisor to discuss their comprehensive degree report, choose remaining courses and get assistance with the Petition to Graduate form, Nix said. Advisors can answer questions regarding policies to receive a diploma and/or to participate in the commencement ceremony.

“Academic Advisors and Student Support Specialists work with students throughout their degree program and build relationships primarily by phone and email,” said Bethany Marshall, director of the Academic Advising Center. “Seeing a student you have worked with walk across the stage at commencement is an incredible moment. The graduation postcard is a way to personally congratulate students nearing program completion,” she said.

During Open House, students and their guests are invited to tour the school, enjoy refreshments and meet their Academic Advisors, Student Support Specialists and others who helped them during their degree program. The fun continues later that evening at the graduation reception at the Gulf State Park Pavilion in Gulf Shores. This family-friendly event offers an opportunity for students to get to know fellow graduates, alumni and faculty while enjoying the scenery at the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

This year’s Commencement speaker is retired Army General Dan K. McNeil.

For more information on commencement activities, please click here.