Seniors share a “sweet” tradition with Centre’s president
March 25, 2010 By Cindy Long
Among the many traditions at Centre—running the Flame, kissing on the seal, a fraternity carrying a portrait of alumnus Fred Vinson to every home football game—it’s perhaps one of the newest that’s been the biggest hit with students.
Every spring since 1999, seniors have been invited to “Dessert with President Roush and Susie” at Craik House, the president’s home. Every soon-to-be-graduate is invited to attend one of five evening events, and in this relaxed atmosphere they discuss with John Roush and his wife Susie the hopes and dreams for their own futures and the future of the College.
“Our objectives for the evening are three,” President Roush says. “One, we have the chance to discuss what it means to be an alumnus of Centre College – with its opportunities, rights, and responsibilities.
“Two, we invite the seniors to share with us those things at Centre that should never change,” he adds. “The winner in this category every year has been to insure that the Centre Experience - the personal, engaging, transformational relationships with faculty and staff – never be compromised.
“Three, we invite the seniors to be constructively critical by telling us those things or experiences or policies that might be changed and, thereby, improve the College,” he continues. “These comments are generally very constructive and helpful, and, without student names, are shared with others at Centre. Their observations and comments have had an impact in the life the College over time, and we assure them that Centre’s senior staff and the trustees will be made aware of their ideas—good, bad, and in-between.”
Laura Rolfe, a senior from Texas, attended one of the five events.
“I thought dessert with President Roush and Susie was wonderful,” she says. “At what other school would you be invited to the president's house to eat dessert and share your favorite Centre experiences?
“President Roush and Susie were so genuine about hearing the comments and possible concerns seniors have about Centre,” she continues. “They listened and responded to each person by name, which made everyone feel as though they were at a casual get-together with their close friends. Dessert with the Roushes is just one example of how Centre values their students' opinions and how they strive to maintain and improve this positive relationship.”
“Susie and I count it a real pleasure to listen to our seniors each spring,” Roush went on to say. And the final touch – perhaps our favorite part – is to visit with them one-by-one as they leave Craik House and hear about their plans for 'next year.' While some have more concrete plans than others, all of their reports are positive and encouraging. Some of their plans for next year and the future are downright inspiring.”