Commencement 191 by the numbers
Three hundred and twenty-five seniors were granted degrees at Centre College’s 191st Commencement, held on Sunday, May 25 at the Norton Center for the Arts. While that number marks the College’s largest graduating class to date, the 2014 graduates also represent a four-year record of impressive accomplishments and countless life-changing experiences.
As we bid them farewell, here’s a final look at the class of 2014, including a roundup of interesting facts and figures from Commencement 191:
Number of graduating seniors: 325 tassels were turned during this year’s Commencement. Of the total graduates, 165 were female and 160 were male. Centre’s 51/49 female-to-male ratio represents a gender parity unusual at universities across the country and is particularly rare at liberal arts colleges.
The class of 2014 differs markedly in size and composition from the graduating classes of the College’s earliest years. Centre was chartered in 1819, and its first graduates were awarded degrees in 1824. The inaugural class contained just two members: Kentuckians Lewis Warner Green and John P. Trotter, both of whom became ministers.
Graduation rate: With a guarantee to graduate in four years, Centre delivers on its reputation for high achievement. The four-year graduation rate for the 2014 class tops 84 percent, giving Centre the highest graduation rate in the state and among the highest in the nation. Three hundred and fifteen members of the senior class, or 96 percent, finished their degrees in four years or less.
Most popular majors: The top five majors for the 2014 class are English (34 graduates), government (32 graduates), financial economics (32 graduates), history (29 graduates) and international studies (28 graduates).
Number of honorary degrees awarded: 2. Commencement speaker Steven Beshear, Kentucky’s 61st governor, was granted an honorary doctor of laws degree, adding him to an alumni roster that includes 11 governors from seven states. Hampden-Sydney College President Christopher Howard, who gave the Baccalaureate address, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the Commencement ceremony.
Number of Valedictorians: 2. Lauren Fall of Hanover, N.H., received the Gavin Easton Wiseman Valedictorian Prize for top female graduate, and Michael Fryar of Lexington, Ky., was awarded the George Winston Welsh Valedictorian Prize for top male graduate. Fryar will spend next year on a Rotary fellowship at the London School of Economics.
Number of students receiving honors: 83. Nine students graduated summa cum laude, 27 magna cum laude and 47 cum laude.
Number of students in Phi Beta Kappa: Thirty-three graduates were elected to Centre’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest honor society for the liberal arts and sciences.
Number of Posse Scholars: Nine members of the Posse program crossed the stage. The New York-based Posse Foundation recruits outstanding students from urban school systems in large cities across the U.S. and places them in selective colleges and universities, where they receive full scholarships. Centre has partnered with the Posse Program since 2005, and this is the sixth class of Posse graduates. All are from the Boston area.
Number of Brown Fellows: 10. This was the second class of Brown Fellows to graduate from Centre. The College partnered with the James Graham Brown Foundation to launch the Brown Fellows Program in 2009. Students selected into the program receive full-ride scholarships and additional benefits, including summer enrichment experiences. The program is the premier scholarship and enrichment initiative in Kentucky and one of the nation’s elite fellowship programs.
National awards: This year’s class included multiple national award winners, including Fulbright winner and recipient of a Boren Scholarship Karissa Jackson of Jeffersonville, Ind., who will spend the upcoming academic year teaching English in Moldova. Audrey Jenkins of Floyd, Iowa, will be teaching English in Vietnam as a fellow of the prestigious Princeton in Asia program.
Nations and states represented: This year’s class has members from 35 states and three foreign countries: China, Germany and Vietnam. One hundred and eighty graduates hail from Kentucky.
Percentage of students who studied abroad: Nearly 86 percent of graduates—280 of them—studied abroad at least once during their four years at Centre, giving the College an edge in international studies with a #3 national ranking.
Hours of service by Bonner Scholars: 20,843. As part of Centre’s Bonner program, 14 senior Bonner Scholars and Leaders dedicated their four years to civic engagement and serving others in the surrounding communities and beyond.
Number of athletes: 96 student-athletes graduated, five of whom participated in more than one sport. Throughout their four years, the senior student-athletes collectively achieved 20 NCAA team appearances, 26 SAA/SCAC team championships, 25 individual SAA/SCAC championships and four individual NCAA appearances.
Graduates whose parents attended Centre: 21 legacy students were numbered among the graduating class.
Graduates with siblings who attended or are currently enrolled at Centre: 43.
Graduates with strongest Centre connections: Nine members of graduate Robert Graham’s extended family have attended Centre, and graduate Martha Grace Burkey counts eight Centre attendees among her family.
Family members and friends in attendance: 2,270. Newlin Hall held approximately 1,400 guests during the Commencement ceremony. A simulcast of the ceremony held in Centre’s Alumni Gymnasium was attended by approximately 750 additional guests. The simulcast in Weisiger Theatre held 120.
Number of people fed: 2,500. Sodexo Dining Services fed approximately 1,000 guests at the Family Picnic on Saturday and another 1,500 guests at the Sunday Luncheon.
After graduation: Centre graduates cross the stage career ready, with 96 percent of last year’s class employed or pursing advanced study within 10 months of graduation. The class of 2014 will no doubt follow suit.
Members of the newly designated alumni class are moving on to jobs around the world, ranging from an English teacher in Japan to a software developing engineer at Amazon.com. Among early returns of graduates reporting plans to pursue further education, 14 have been accepted into medical school and 10 into law school, in addition to others admitted into programs in dental medicine and veterinary medicine. Fourteen will pursue master of science degrees, seven will pursue master of arts degrees, and others will seek advanced degrees in business administration and the fine arts.
While their post-Centre pursuits vary, the 2014 graduates share a common calling as they join the ranks of the “#1 happiest grads in the nation” — a number that now totals 12,974 proud alumni.
by Amy Wise and Laurie Pierce
View Centre’s Commencement 191 Photo Album.