Columbia College-Fort Worth celebrates 35 years, NAS Jacksonville 20 years

NAS Jacksonville skyline
Nationwide campuses celebrate anniversaries in August.

Columbia College–Fort Worth celebrated its 35th anniversary on Aug. 9. The campus is located on a joint reserve base shared by the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Texas Air National Guard.

Columbia College–Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville celebrates 20 years on Aug. 12. The campus, located just south of the central business district of Jacksonville, is in the middle of one of the U.S. Navy's main aviation hubs.

"The Fort Worth campus is one of the oldest campuses in the Columbia College system," said Mike Randerson, vice president for Adult Higher Education. "They've been doing a superb job of educating military and other adult learners these past thirty-five years, and I look forward to another thirty-five years of excellence. The Jacksonville campus, too, has established itself as one of the premier colleges in the area since 1990."

Columbia College-Fort Worth campus director John Hardy
The Forth Worth campus was originally founded at NAS Dallas. The campus began holding classes at NAS Fort Worth in 1992 when the government began closing NAS Dallas. Columbia College relocated the campus to NAS Fort Worth in 1997. The campus, whose director is John Hardy, currently has about 500 students.

Dr. Brenda Cole, Fort Worth associate director, says most of the students are in the military or are military spouses or veterans, and that most are associated with the Navy or Marine Corps.

The roughly 400 students of NAS Jacksonville are also mostly retired or active-duty military, said campus director Lakeshia Lightner -- and that many civilian students have served some time and now work on or near the base. She also noted that the campus has not moved since it was established in 1990.

Columbia College-NAS Jacksonville campus director Lakeshia Lightner
The Fort Worth campus celebrated from 4 - 6 p.m. Aug. 9 in the NOSC Building on base. Director Hardy said a few words, and the crowd then adjourned for refreshments and prizes. Cole said she gave away door prizes every 15 minutes.

"We don’t have a local bookstore, so it's exciting for our students and their families to get college T- shirts, book bags and other spirit items," said Cole. "We are the only Columbia College in the state of Texas, and these items and this celebration will help us feel more established."

Dr. Gerald T. Brouder, college president, and Director Lightner will speak at the Jacksonville celebration, scheduled from 4 -6 p.m. Aug. 12. Gary Oedewaldt, associate dean for Adult Higher Education, will also attend. There will be refreshments and giveaways.