COLUMBIA -- Marshall County leaders were among those present at Columbia State Community College's 15th Annual Legislators and Community Leaders Breakfast Jan. 28 in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus.
Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods and Lewisburg Joint Economic and Community Development Board executive director Mike Wiles were among approximately 100 invited guests in attendance. Chancellor John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents, was a special guest. Columbia State President Dr. Janet F. Smith welcomed guests from around Columbia State's nine-county service area and spoke about some of the issues surrounding secondary and higher education, as well as the impact of the economy on enrollments and institutional capabilities. Both Smith and Morgan reviewed and discussed state higher education priorities, budgeting and the economy, and the impact on the Middle Tennessee region.
"Each of us in our organizations and communities are facing new challenges as we attend to the concerns of the times and plan for the future," said Smith in a letter to invited guests. "In our leadership roles, the knowledge of the importance of partnerships, working together, and regionalism is taking on greater meaning. Meetings where we come together as state and community leaders is important for communication, understanding, and defining directions that allow our citizens, communities, region and state to grow and excel economically and in quality of life."
Smith spoke about the "conversation shifting from enrollment growth to retention and graduation rates," based on the goals of the Complete College Act of Tennessee. She also highlighted student success services, community outreach and the importance of securing grants and charitable donations, and the recent $900,000 in grants for students, $500,000 in donations to the Columbia State Community College Foundation, and awarding more than $350,000 in student scholarships last year.