Religious Life


Dr. Rick Axtell

Centre College Chaplain,
Professor of Religion

Office Location:
Crounse Hall 452



Centre College Chaplain

Dr. Rick Axtell is the Centre College Chaplain and Professor of Religion. He initially taught at Centre during 1992-93 and returned to the college in 1995, when he also became Chaplain and Director of the Religious Life Office. Axtell received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has completed additional postgraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. Axtell’s experience as a minister in several churches, Director of an interfaith anti-hunger organization, Case Manager in Louisville homeless shelters, and Board member of Witness for Peace has shaped the diverse program emphases of the Religious Life Office.

Centre College’s roots are Presbyterian. Since 1819, the College’s purpose has been the full intellectual, social, physical, ethical, and spiritual development of students. Although Centre’s roots are Presbyterian, the Religious Life Office is designed to celebrate our religious diversity.

The largest group on campus, religiously, is Catholic, followed by Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Christian Church/Disciples. Centre also has students who are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim, as well as a dozen additional Christian denominations.

The Religious Life office can provide extensive information on internships, volunteer positions, mission opportunities, and career options in the areas of social service, mission, or peace and justice work. Please feel free to come by for information, conversation, or inspiration.

A large gathering space in the basement of Yerkes has been made available for campus religious groups to meet. The “sacred space” is an ideal place for prayer groups, discussion groups, practice of meditation, and other gatherings. To reserve this space, email Dr. Rick Axtell.

Centre named a top religious college by

March 4, 2016. Centre College was recognized as one of the top religious colleges in the U.S. by While the national ranking acknowledges Centre’s founding Presbyterian heritage, the designation also signals the College’s strong sense of community, civility and open-mindedness as an institution inclusive of all faiths and religious studies.

“A long and rich tradition of tolerance, freedom of inquiry and community informs all aspects of life at Centre,” says H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Rick Axtell. “This spirit of respect for diversity is central to who we are and reflective of our Presbyterian heritage.”

From the classroom to campus activities, religious life plays an important role for students of all faiths at Centre, and the College’s Religious Life Office aims to foster a respectful environment for all. Approximately 25 different religious denominations are identified on campus, many of them represented by student organizations such as CentreFaith, the interfaith group that provides opportunities for different traditions to come together for dialogue. More…