Forbes: Centre is No. 1 in the nation among religiously affiliated colleges and universities
May 27, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
affiliated college or university in the nation. While today Centre
maintains its affiliation with the Presbyterian Church, it welcomes
students, faculty and staff members of all faiths.
Until 1966, Centre students were required to attend chapel at the
Presbyterian Church of Danville, which is located across the street
from Pearl and Stuart Halls.
Forbes magazine has once again recognized Centre College as an extraordinary institution. The magazine—which named Centre the No. 1 college or university in the South in 2010 and No. 14 in the country in 2009—has just ranked the College as the best religiously affiliated college or university in the nation.
Following Centre on the list of the top 20 religiously affiliated colleges and universities are Boston College, Kenyon College, DePauw University, and the University of Notre Dame. Others on the list include Emory University, Davidson College and Macalester College.
“Many of the oldest colleges and universities in America were founded by religious orders,” the Forbes article says. “As time passed, some formally cut ties with their founding faith, but many continue to hold on to their affiliations. These relationships vary in intensity, from loose historic ties to being directly operated by a religious creed. But whether they're now devoutly religious or mostly secular, religiously affiliated schools can offer first-rate educations for mind and soul.”
Founded by Presbyterian leaders in 1819, Centre continues to maintain its affiliation with the Presbyterian Church while welcoming students, faculty and staff members of all faiths.
In 1824, when the Kentucky Legislature gave complete control of Centre’s board of trustees to the Presbyterians, it added an amendment stating that “the College shall at all times be conducted on liberal, free, and enlightened principles, and no student shall be excluded in consequence of his religious opinions, or those of his parents, guardians or relatives.”
The Presbyterian Church of Danville, which celebrated its 225th anniversary last October, has a rich history with Centre College; its early members played a significant role in founding the College in Danville. And until the mid-1960s, Centre students were required to attend weekly chapel at the church.
Dr. Bill Garriott, Harlan Professor of Government who recently retired from the College, remembers how in 1965, Centre’s Student Congress asked the college administration to make chapel voluntary, “arguing, as I recall, that no one could be forced to have religious beliefs, and, therefore, no one should be compelled to attend religious services. The administration finally gave in, and the chapel service became voluntary, beginning in the spring term of 1966.”
Besides maintaining its historical connection with the Presbyterian Church, the Forbes article continues, Centre “has maintained its historic academic prowess by producing 17 Fulbright scholars, five Goldwater scholars, a Rhodes scholar and a Truman scholar in the last decade alone. Its alumni include two U.S. vice-presidents, a chief justice of the United States, 13 U.S. senators and 43 U.S. representatives.”
To read the Forbes article, click here.