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Aquilina presented Columbia College Alumni Association Jane Froman Courage Award

COLUMBIA, Mo., June 2, 2014 - The Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) is pleased to announce that Christopher Aquilina '13 has been honored with the Columbia College Jane Froman Courage Award. Aquilina, who resides in Jacksonville, Florida, is the first recipient of the award, which is designed to honor alumni that have demonstrated perseverance to overcome personal obstacles while continuing to better themselves personally or professionally while also displaying a spirit of courage in daily life.

After suffering a tragic gunshot wound to the face and head, Aquilina was left legally blind.

"I found myself having to start life over again," he says. "Learning how to walk, talk and eat were the easy parts; however, I had to now figure out exactly what a person who has no eyesight is supposed to do."

Deciding to enroll in college, Christopher obtained his associate's degree in Ohio before moving to Florida and enrolling at Columbia College-Jacksonville. He maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout his education at Columbia College and also mentored other students and tutored ESL students.

"If there is anything that I learned from Columbia College, it is that the strength to succeed is inside everybody, and it is up to all of us to help each other realize this."

After graduating in 2013, Aquilina enrolled at Strayer University, where he is currently completing a master's degree in public administration. Additionally, he works as a private mediator in Florida and Georgia. He plans to pursue a career as an attorney, and he credits Columbia College Professor Galya Taborn as his inspiration.

"It was in her Exploring Research class that I realized there were occupations that would allow me to pursue both my love of the law as well as my desire to assist people with their problems."

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Founded in 1851 in Columbia, Missouri, Columbia College has been helping students advance their lives through higher education for more than 163 years. As a private, nonprofit, liberal arts and sciences institution, the college takes pride in its small classes, experienced faculty and quality educational programs.

With more than 30 campuses across the country, 18 of which are on military installations, students may enroll in day, evening or online classes. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Columbia College educates more than 31,000 students each year and has more than 80,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit

Sam Fleury
Senior Community and Alumni Relations Coordinator
(573) 348-4293
Cell - (573) 268-8612


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Christopher Aquilina



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