Lewisburg native Louis Conner received the President's Medal at the college's employee awards ceremony on Friday, April 27.
This academic year, Conner oversaw the construction and opening of the college's Wellness Center; his men's basketball team went to the national tournament and ranked sixth in the nation; the women's basketball team made it to the semi-finals; his baseball team forged a new record of consecutive wins at home and ranks fourth in the nation; the women's softball team has had a standout season in the league; and he was inducted into the TCCAA Coaches Hall of Fame.
The nomination forms came from a number of colleagues at Columbia State, but had a common thread. "He loves and cares about his students..." and "He is 'Columbia State' - he is everywhere" were in every endorsement. Many talked about his quiet mentorship of them as young faculty members and his extraordinary efforts in community activity and in encouraging students to take an active role in community events. Perhaps equally as compelling has been the quiet personal support he has given to two young men who are striving to complete four-year baccalaureate degrees since leaving Columbia State.
In introducing Conner's selection, President Janet Smith said, "He is a proud graduate of Columbia State who went on to the University of North Alabama, Florence, to complete his bachelor's degree and then to United Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala. to earn his master's. He has set an incredibly high standard of personal and professional achievement."
"However," she continued, "for anyone who really knows Coach Conner, we know that he, in many ways, is most excited about the lives he has changed and the doors to life experience, lifelong learning and access to education he has opened for countless Columbia State students and their families. He leads by example with a strong and wonderful family cheering him on."