Columbia State Honors Founding Faculty with Room Dedications


Columbia State Community College recently posthumously honored five founding faculty members with room dedications in the Clement building on the Columbia Campus. Family and friends of Joe McCormick, Dr. Marvin (Mart) Austin, Dr. Lewis Moore, Fred Behrens and Dr. William Andrews attended a ceremony in the Ledbetter Auditorium.

The family of Columbia State founding faculty member Joe McCormick.

“This was started before COVID-19, so it was interrupted,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation. “We were determined to follow through because the honors are well deserved. We are just delighted to be able to come together with family and friends of these faculty members.”

The friends and colleagues of Columbia State founding faculty member Dr. Marvin (Mart) Austin.

During the ceremony, Dr. Barry Gidcomb, Columbia State professor of history, shared stories of his colleagues.

“I had the opportunity not only to be a student here with these men, but then I got the honor of being able to come back a few years later and be colleagues with these gentlemen,” Gidcomb said. “They were so important to me, to their colleagues here at Columbia State and to thousands and thousands of students.”

The family of Columbia State founding faculty member Dr. Lewis Moore.

The faculty members were honored for their service to Columbia State and their tenure in the Clement building with a bronze plaque that will be a permanent installment to each of their former classrooms. Each of the selected rooms that were chosen were special in respect to each faculty member.

The family of Columbia State founding faculty member Fred Behrens.

“Columbia State became known as the place where students can get the education they need to transfer out and be highly successful,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “It was the founding faculty who set that standard. They set forth a challenge to every faculty member who followed for them to continue the excellence that the college is known for.”

“Sometimes I look back at when I arrived here at Columbia State, and I got to know these gentlemen,” Gidcomb said. “And there’s rarely a day goes by that I don’t think to myself, how did I get so lucky to have these guys in my life?”

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