Skip to main content

Happy Birthday CIU!

Interim President Dr. Rick Christman and CIU mascot Rammy join with students to celebrate. (Photo by Chariti Mealing, CIU Student Photographer)

October 4, 2023

By Jenea Bradshaw and Bob Holmes

A new century has dawned at Columbia International University and the campus celebrated with cupcakes, confetti and collective worship.

It was 100 years ago, Oct. 1, 1923, that CIU held its first classes. CIU was known as Columbia Bible School at that time. Enrollment was eight students, and classes were held in the sun parlor of the Colonia Hotel in downtown Columbia.  

Today CIU is located on 400 acres on Monticello Road just north of Columbia with over 2,600 total students studying on campus and online.

The eyes of those students were alight with delight at the sight of several dozen cupcakes in front of Shortess Chapel for the celebration. CIU’s beloved mascot Rammy welcomed the students, staff and faculty and posed for photos with them.   

Anna Hazeltine, a freshman in the nursing program, said she is happy and excited to be a CIU student at this time in its history, and “loves” the CIU community.

After finishing their delicious treats and finding their seats in the auditorium, students joined their voices singing “Happy Birthday” to CIU punctuated by confetti shot into the air.

“My parents came to CIU and it’s exciting because I’m here now,” said Naomi Klausli, a Bible and nursing major. “We have a generation that has gone before and now I get to continue the legacy for the next generation. CIU has been a part of my family’s history and now I am a part of its history.”

CIU Interim President Dr. Rick Christman told local media at the celebration that CIU continues to grow because “we believe in our mission.”

“We educate from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ,” said Christman quoting the CIU mission statement. “We have alumni serving in 168 countries around the world today.”   

CIU will continue its 100th birthday celebration with a Grand Finale Nov. 2-4 featuring a parade of international flags, a Hall of Faith induction, a concert with Grammy Award-winning Christian singer Laura Story and a fireworks display. More information is at   

CIU is celebrating 100 years of its mission to “educate people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.” The university consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a Best Value Regional University in the South. Apply now or request information on enrollment by contacting Admissions at (803) 807-5024 or


Are you ready to transform your life?