Joyce Castle Wells - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Joyce Castle Wells can sum up her feelings for Columbus State Community College in two simple words.

"Forever grateful."

Wells was a member of the inaugural nursing class at Columbus State's predecessor, Columbus Technical Institute, and graduated in 1972. In 2012, on the 40th anniversary of the graduation of the first class, she was asked to speak at the nursing graduation.

"It was a thrill to be there," Wells said. "I am forever grateful for the influence Columbus State has had on my life."

After receiving her associate degree in nursing and becoming a registered nurse, she eventually moved to Denver, where she has been a family nurse practitioner for 30 years.

"I am forever grateful for the influence Columbus State has had on my life."

"Columbus State was local, affordable and had grants for low-income students like myself," Wells said. "I could not afford a bachelor's degree at a four-year school, so I've always been very appreciative of the opportunities presented to me at Columbus State. My associate degree was the basis for continuing my education."

She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in nursing, a master's degree in nursing, and her certification as a Community-Based Family Nurse Practitioner.

Like so many Columbus State graduates, Joyce can point to a specific teacher who made a difference. "Mary Jane O'Brien set up a learning lab and was a great role model," Wells said. "She was forever encouraging students to work hard, achieve and look to the future of nursing."

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State