September 30, 2023

A Month for Gratitude

Dear Students and Alumni,

At CSU, we celebrate May as Military Appreciation Month by honoring the men and women who have and are currently serving our great nation. I am so proud to serve so many employees and students who are both active duty service members and veterans. I am always amazed to hear stories of our students and graduates who earn their degree in the midst of obstacles.

One such alumnus is Jason Nazarenko, an Army pilot on his eleventh deployment, who managed to find the time to earn his MBA.  Despite all of the sacrifices Jason and his family have made, he still takes time to reflect on everything he has to be grateful for.  You can read more about Jason and his story here.

We also have many employees here at CSU who have served in the military.  Ernie Rosado recently joined CSU as a military outreach representative after working for the last nine years as the principal of Gulf Shores High School here in Alabama. Ernie’s path to education began after serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.  Unsure of his options as a transitioning veteran, Ernie came across a “Troops to Teacher” program and found his calling in the civilian world.  I cannot properly express how fortunate we are to have veterans like Ernie as part of the CSU family.

If you are one of these brave men or women, my sincere gratitude goes out to you for your service.

Another group of individuals being honored this month is mothers. Sunday, May 14 was Mother’s Day. For all the mothers who attend CSU while juggling other responsibilities, I know I speak for all of CSU when I say how proud we are of your accomplishments. Personally, I would not be where I am today without the love and support from my mother, Mimi Mayes.

We have had a very busy past few weeks and I am excited to share with you what has been going on.  On April 24 in San Antonio, I had the honor of presenting two awards to CSU alumni.  Firstly, Shanna Travis was awarded the DEAC Outstanding Graduate for 2017 after graduating with her MBA in Public Administration.  Shanna currently serves as the advisor to the deputy director, chief technology officer within the U.S. Department of Treasury.  She is tasked with providing authoritative advice and analytical support on complex, key mission-critical initiatives.  She is also a veteran of the U.S. Army.

The recipient of the DEAC Famous Alumni award was given to Troy Coleman, better known as Cowboy Troy, who graduated this year with his MBA in Marketing. Cowboy Troy is quite popular in the country music scene and is credited with introducing rap into country mainstream on Big & Rich’s debut album, “Horse of a Different Color.” You can also see him Saturday mornings on ESPN College Game Day.  Check out his website to learn more about Troy and read this article to learn more about both award recipients! 

In addition to all of this, we attended the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference the last week of April in Indianapolis.  This is the largest fire conference with nearly 40,000 attendees!  We were thrilled to have the opportunity to see many of our students and alumni at the booth.  We are deeply committed to continuing to be a leader in fire science education.

Thank you once again for choosing CSU and being apart of the CSU Family.

God bless,

Robert Mayes



One Comment

  1. Jason Nazarenko

    Thank you CSU and President Robert Mayes for publishing my article. I am honored to call myself a CSU Alumni. I enjoyed every bit of the time I spent earning my MBA as well as the continued interactions with the associations, faculty and my fellow alumnus. I am proud to tell everyone I see of the great programs and services that CSU offers!

    Columbia Southern University is truly a military friendly school!