Lady Bird Johnson at college dedication

Our History

Columbia State Community College

black and white photo of graduates

The groundbreaking for the Columbia Campus of Columbia State Community College took place in October of 1965. The College was officially founded in 1966, becoming the first community college in the Tennessee.

Under the direction of Admissions Director, W.O. Johnson, the first class of 363 students began classes in the fall of 1966. The college was temporarily housed in facilities throughout the city of Columbia until the present campus was completed. On March 15, 1967, Lady Bird Johnson, accompanied by President Lyndon B. Johnson, officially dedicated the new Columbia Campus.

Lady Bird declared Columbia State to be the “new beat and rhythm of our land” and that “when a community college rises from a once empty field, the country expands not outward, but upward… I am honored to dedicate this college - dedicate it forever to the service of the people and the progress of our nation.”

That day, more than fifty years ago, President Johnson also addressed the dedication ceremony attendees - a crowd of more than 8,000. Many who still live in Columbia and the surrounding area love to tell their stories of that day. They share fond remembrances as if the Johnsons were here just yesterday.

Columbia State’s proud history shines through into today’s academics. Students, faculty and staff hold their heads high and are extremely proud to be part of such wonderful history and tradition.

The college now serves close to 10,000 students per year in credit and continuing education courses and awards more than $10 million in financial aid. Five academic divisions offer students more than 80 academic paths and the opportunity to earn a technical certificate, Associate of Arts (A.A), Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Applied Science degree (A.A.S.). In addition to the Columbia Campus, the college has campuses in Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg, and Clifton.