Gov. Deal to speak at Columbus State's graduation

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comMay 8, 2014 

Gov. Nathan Deal will be the keynote speaker at Columbus State University's graduation ceremony Monday night.

Nearly 800 graduates are expected to attend CSU's spring 2014 commencement in the Columbus Civic Center, starting at 6:30 p.m., the university announced Thursday.

Phil Tomlinson, the chief executive officer of TSYS and a CSU Foundation trustee, will be awarded an honorary doctorate.

The ceremony also will celebrate the first two graduates of CSU's UTeach program: Duncan Cantrell and Timothy Jones. The program's goal is to produce more teachers in the STEM fields, which are science, technology, engineering and math.

Jones, a Columbus native, worked as an intern in UTeach, designing and teaching weekly labs in physical science to home-schooled middle school students. He also did his student-teaching at Northside High School.

"I was teaching them organic chemistry, and they were just eating it up," Jones said in the release. "That's when I knew I was in the right field. Just how engaged they were learning about chemistry, that makes all the difference."

Cantrell, from Jackson, Tenn., said UTeach has prepared him well.

"It was very engaging in all of the classes," Cantrell said in the release. "You have to design and present lessons. Then in almost all the classes -- you actually go to elementary, middle and high school classes -- you teach students multiple times a year. It's very, very hands on."

Jones also praised the UTeach emphasis on allowing students to learn through inquiry.

"We don't believe in lecturing," Jones said in the release. "We believe in them self-learning, providing them the materials and letting them figure it out. We learned that we're essentially facilitators, guiding them to the answers."

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.

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