Jim D. Morris helps Columbia College

Dr. Greg Stratman, director of Columbia College-Rolla, President Gerald T. Brouder, and  Jim D. Morris, Springfield philanthropist  at the ribbon-cutting in Rolla.
Columbia College students have a new home in Rolla thanks to Jim D. Morris. Students, faculty, staff, members of the Columbia College Board of Trustees, and representatives from the Rolla Chamber of Commerce were all on hand for the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony which took place Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10:30 a.m. The school is hosting an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and encourages the community to visit and tour the new building.

“This tremendous new facility would not be possible without the generosity, vision and commitment to higher education of Mr. Jim D. Morris,” said Columbia College President Gerald T. Brouder.

Jim D. Morris, Springfield, Mo., real estate developer and entrepreneur, donated $813,000 to the college. It is the second largest gift in the institution’s history from a living donor and the largest gift given to a Columbia College Nationwide Campus.

Hand Shake
 Morris' gift means Columbia College-Rolla will have plenty of room for future expansion with opportunities to add new courses and programs. The new building, at 37,000 square feet, will more than quadruple the size of the original campus.

Brouder noted that the all-purpose science lab would be a ‘first’ for its Nationwide Campuses. “This modern, 24-station, fully equipped lab will not only support our current teacher certification program. It allows us to offer our new two-year, Associate in Pre-Engineering degree,” said Brouder. “This entire facility speaks to the seriousness Columbia College holds for its educational mission by creating a superb environment for teaching and learning here in Rolla.”

Dr. Gregory J. Stratman, director, Columbia College-Rolla said he believes the expansion will help build enrollments, reputation and affinity in everyone associated with it.

Rolla Classsroom
“We have grown our enrollments more than 46 percent in the last five years. In 2007, we were attracting 475 session enrollments, and in 2011 we attracted nearly 700 enrollments per session. With our new facilities and especially the science lab, we hope soon to exceed previous enrollment figures,” said Stratman.

But it’s more than number-crunching and putting students in classrooms. “Our vision has been to establish Columbia College as a premier adult-education venue,” said Stratman. “This new building is, indeed, just that – a facility that students, faculty and staff alike will be proud to call their campus, their school.”