State of Columbia College 2011

President’s biennial speech highlights accomplishments, challenges – as the college unveils a new brand.

Dr. Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College
The proclamation in the lobby of a buzzing Launer Auditorium said it all:

“WHEREAS, Columbia College is nationally respected and offers high-quality faculty, a close-knit, student-centered environment and a network of more than 70,000 alumni; and

WHEREAS, Columbia College has evolved to serve more than 30,000 students nationally and across the globe each year

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDavid, Mayor of the City of Columbia, Missouri do hereby proclaim Thursday, September 15, 2011 as


Dr. Gerald Brouder, the 16th president of Columbia College now in his 16th year, said it even better in his biennial state of the college address: “I am happy to report that both the current and future state of the college is very bright.”

Brouder delineated that bright present and future to an auditorium packed to its balcony with faculty and staff, students and alumni, trustees, benefactors and such distinguished visitors as Big Lots CEO, Chairman and President Steve Fishman, a 1974 graduate, and Big Lots executives.

Brouder pointed out that the college had made huge strides since his last speech in 2009:
  • The college surpassed 30,000 students educated annually at the start of the academic year – a number now up six percent, he noted -- due largely to robust Online and Nationwide Campus growth.
  • Despite the protracted economic downturn, the college is doing quite well financially, with absolutely no debt and, in the fiscal year just concluded, assets of approximately $173 million and a budget of $90 million.
  • The college’s endowment is approximately $80 million, up from $45 million in 2009 and way up from the $2 million when Brouder assumed the presidency.
  • $3.6 million has been raised thus far for a new science building whose groundbreaking is slated for next spring, Brouder said.
  • The creation of a Division of Graduate Studies to cement a true graduate culture. The division currently offers four master’s degrees with more in the pipeline.
  • The acquisition and renovation of Federal Hall, a classic building in downtown Columbia, to house the ever-growing Online Campus, Nursing program and other college services; the purchase of an expansive new building for the Rolla, Mo., campus; other infrastructure improvements such as the beautification and safety improvements of Rangeline; and continued partnership with the city of Columbia. “‘We are not an island in the community,” Brouder said. “We educate and we serve.”

Brouder noted that the college has had to invest millions in new hardware and software, which is “arduous and expensive … [but] not keeping up is foolhardy.”

He also cautioned the audience that the college must not “fall victim to the seduction of routine” and “not overrun our headlights,” warning of challenges ahead:
  • A nationwide decline in the number of high school students, meaning fewer traditional college-age students are coming through the demographic pipeline.
  • Increasing competition in online higher education for working-age students–“The purveyors of proprietary education are proliferating rapidly,” he said.
  • Potential deep cuts in military spending to offset the federal budget deficit, which could mean less people in uniform and a reduction in military tuition assistance. Educating military service members is a vital facet of the college’s mission; last year, Columbia College was the 12th largest provider of voluntary higher education to the military.
Brouder also touched on innovative delivery, tuition and retention systems in the works. On the athletic side, Brouder mentioned:
  • The introduction of five new sports -- women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s cross-country – stimulated by an NAIA requirement that its member colleges have a minimum of six sports. The college already had five sports.
  • The nomination of Columbia College Athletics Director and Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Burchard to the NAIA Hall of Fame. He’s already a member of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Brouder concluded that he had no special skills in prognostication but that he was confident the college’s future was “bright, engaging, innovative and ready to define the future head-on.

“We will be bound only by the limits of our imagination and the prudence of our judgments,” he said.

The speech concluded with a video showcasing a bold new Columbia College brand: two elegant, intersecting C’s symbolizing inclusiveness and connectivity.

Watch the brand video.

The brand is more than just a logo, it’s a promise to the world. Students and alumni have agreed on two pivotal attributes of Columbia College: that it is real and serious about education.

The morning concluded on Bass Commons with Kim Craig, college Student Government Association president, presiding over the raising of a Columbia College flag bearing the new logo and a cheer of “We are – CC!”


1SG Rodriguez said...

I do not see what they are going for with this new logo. When I was looking for a place to finish my education my Army Education Liaison presented me with eleven different schools that would allow me to finish online. I believe that I chose Columbia because the old logo inspired a real feeling of belonging to a "brick and mortar" institution of higher learning that had a long history and a strong reputation. I did not want to finish my degree with one of these "for profit universities" that are nothing but a warehouse of servers. This new brand puts Columbia in the same league as the rest of the "paper mills." I understand the need to stay current and relevant but do it through curriculum, facilities, and technology. It works for a lot of other schools who haven't changed their logos in over a century. In my opinion this new logo does not inspire a feeling of belonging to an actual institution, it makes me feel like I'm attending a website and in that respect there are other regionally accredited "websites" I can attend that offer five week semesters. The video for the new brand is right, a logo is not just a picture or letters it's an identity that inspires emotion.

Anonymous said...

I heard the college spent over 100 grand on changing the font and that seizure inducing video. That money could have been spent to fix the parking issues at the main campus.
Good call...

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of watching the State of the College address live on computer! CC is indeed in great financial shape and continues to be the progressive, real and serious institution that values students and provides excellence education to all campuses, in person and virtually! The new brand of the double C's commemorates the history of Christian College and the future of Columbia College! It is a change. The CC Alumni Association is exploring keeping a touch of Rogers Gate as a symbol of the history and tradition with its new logo! I am so proud to be a part of both the history and the future of Columbia College. WE ARE CC! Dale Coe Simons '65

Anonymous said...

I am an alum that is NOT inspired by this logo. There is a petition circling for alum who are also disappointed in what this logo displays.

Anonymous said...

From an earlier post: "...inspired a real feeling of belonging to a "brick and mortar" institution of higher learning that had a long history and a strong reputation."

I guess you were too focused on the "CC" design and didn't realize that "Established 1851" is part of the logo as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dale for towing the party line. We would never want Columbia College to admit that they made a mistake with their new corporate logo. Rogers Gate absolutely expresses the 'brick and mortar' history of the college. You'll notice that "Established in 1851" doesn't show up every time the new handcuffs/logo appear. The podium photo for this story, for example, doesn't have it. I just wonder if the web administrator will have the guts to approve my message, or if he/she will delete it like most of the other comments people submit that are critical of the school.

Anonymous said...

That was a waist of money and time that could have been spent else were. The school has many other, more important, issues that it needs to take care up.

I'm very disappointed with this decision!

Anonymous said...

I honestly think it looks far more professional than it did before, though I do think the "Established in 1851" is haphazardly thrown in there. That said, I think many of the complaints have to do with an inability to adapt to change. I get it, I really do. For many alumni, the previous logo symbolized their education/time spent at CC and this brand new logo is much different. As a student that completed an Associate's Degree last year with CC and will complete my Bachelor's next summer, I think it will be odd to have one degree with the old and another with the new. However, that's life. I don't see the big deal because at its core, CC is still the same school with the same values and the same educational prowess. Give it some time to sink in - you'll get used to it. Everything changes over time and this is just another way of CC staying current. Be proud of CC!! I am a loyal student and next year I will continue as a loyal alumni!

Anonymous said...

When I was looking at colleges and where I would choose to complete my Bachelor’s Degree, the main considerations for me were accreditation, flexibility of schedule, and affordability. I looked at several “paper mill” for-profit schools. Then I looked at Columbia College.

The first thing that I noticed when I walked into the office to talk with my adviser at one of the satellite campuses was a basketball sitting on the counter. I noticed this before I ever saw a logo. It was a conversation starter that set Columbia apart from the all the rest because this made it a "real, brick and mortar school." Those other "online, for-profit, paper-mill, bottom-line is pay Wall Street" businesses don't have any athletic programs.

I started asking questions and realized that this was the place for me. This place was different from the rest. It was the school history that I heard from the people I talked with. It wasn’t the logo on the wall or the one on the shirt that “sold” me. It was the pride in their voice and on their face(s) that made me understand what Columbia College was all about.

While people almost always resist change, the tradition and history of CC (Christian College/Columbia College) will never change.

WE are CC…not our logo.

Kris said...

I am not a fan of the new logo either. I feel as if I am looking at the brand for a pharmacy or one of the vocational schools. Please show the sense that all of business textbooks do when they encourage taking responsibility for a mistake, apologizing for it, and correcting it. In the future, you might want to ask the students, who possess a great deal of insight and wisdom, what they think. I was proud of Columbia College before, now I am slightly ashamed with the new logo. It cheapens the school.

Anonymous said...

I am not fond of the new logo either, although I do like the new color scheme on the website. The two Cs makes us look more like a tech company or like we sell paper.
I really wish they'd go back to the old logo.

1SG Rodriguez said...

Those are all great points anonymous. I may have had similar feelings had I "walked into the office to talk with my advisor" however some of us out here in cyber land would have to use vacation days and buy a plane ticket to be able to walk into a Columbia College Office. Unfortunately for me my chosen profession and location keeps me from being able to do that, so all I had initially was a website and the first thing that I noticed was the logo which to me represented a real brick and mortar school. For me its not about being resistant to change (the Army changes my entire family's life every three years) so I'm accustom to change. This is about the old logo that looks collegiate and the new logo that looks corporate. Look, a logo is a logo some say its not that important but the college sure spent a lot of time, effort and money to change it and it was probably to attract more online students as Columbia's online program has grown exponentially over the last few years. All I'm saying is "in my opinion" the old logo inspired better feelings in me then the new one does. Am I going to change schools over it? No. I realize that online learning allows me the opportunity to finish my degree but I also realize that it allows the college to offer degrees to students without the massive amounts of overhead that go into facilities and maintenance. That's why thousands of colleges and universities all over the world are doing it, because it has an incredibly higher return on investment.