Top Ten Things to Know about Centre College
1. By Every Measure
If it’s a ranking of institutions of higher education in the United States, Centre College is probably on the list. According to U.S. News, Centre is #5 in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and #31 for best value. The Alumni Factor ranking says Centre graduates are the “happiest in the nation.” According to Forbes, it’s#14 in the South among all colleges and universities. And Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, D.C., calls Centre one of the finest schools in the U.S. “Its secret,” he adds, “is an unrelenting, laser-like focus on offering a superior experience for students.”
2. Gone Global
“I Am the 85 Percent.” You might ask yourself why so many students are wearing shirts proclaiming that they are the 85 percent. That’s the number of Centre students who study abroad at least once, which puts Centre at the top of the list of American colleges whose students participate in international study. At Centre, the question is not if you’ll study abroad—it’s where. Options include China, England, Scotland, Japan, Mexico, France, Spain and Northern Ireland, to name a few. Ask our students why their experiences abroad were life changing.
3. A Place of Community
Centre students consistently cite a sense of community, engagement and civility (see #4) among the College’s strengths. Ninety-eight percent of our 1,340 students live on campus. Forty percent are NCAA Division III student-athletes, and faculty liaisons cheer on our 23 athletic teams. More than 85 percent of students participate in service projects. And in their “spare time,” they can choose from more than 100 campus organizations and teams.
4. A Place of Civility
While you’re on campus, look for students wearing Civility t-shirts. Those students have signed the Civility Pledge, implemented in Fall 2011 as a joint venture of the Centre Student Senate and Student Judiciary. By signing the pledge, Centre students agree to promote respect and responsibility across campus. They’ve asked the candidates to sign it, too.
5. A Place of Rich Tradition: C6H0
No, it’s not a formula for a chemical compound. Yes, you DID just see it painted on a building. In 1921, the Centre College Colonels defeated #1 Harvard in football by a score of 6-0. In losing to the smallest college it had ever played, Harvard suffered its first intersectional defeat in four decades. By the time the Colonels returned to Danville, their fans had proudly painted C6H0 on everything from cows to buildings; an example still stands on Centre’s campus.
6. A Place of Rich Tradition: The Flame
Dedicated in 1969, “The Flame,” Centre’s first large scale sculpture, weighs in at 2,000 pounds and stands 11 feet tall. “The Flame” symbolizes the torch of knowledge that appears on Centre’s official seal. The tradition surrounding “The Flame” has received attention in such publications as the Washington Post, and is the namesake of the Louisville glass studio of Brook White ’91.
7. A Place of Rich Tradition: Woodrow Wilson
He’s not a Centre alumnus, but in 1903 Woodrow Wilson spoke glowingly of the College. In a speech to Princeton University alumni in Washington, D.C., Wilson, then Princeton president, said, “There is a little college down in Kentucky which, in her sixty years, has graduated more men who have acquired prominence and fame than has Princeton in her 150 years.”
8. The World on Centre(’s) Stage
Indulge us as we drop some names: The Vienna Philharmonic. Alison Krauss & Union Station. Yo-Yo Ma. Mikhail Baryshnikov. STOMP. Blue Man Group. The Reverend Al Green. These famous names and more have entertained Centre students and the region on the stage of the Norton Center for the Arts, Centre’s performing arts venue—the same stage that is hosting its second Vice Presidential Debate. Performances at the Norton Center are a major perk for Centre students: they receive complimentary tickets to many of these shows.
9. 2 is a Magic Number
Pairs are twice as nice. Centre College has hosted two Vice Presidential Debates—in 2000 and 2012. Two U.S. vice presidents went to Centre—John C. Breckinridge and Adlai Stevenson. Two Supreme Court Justices are Centre alumni, as well—John Marshall Harlan and Fred Vinson. (Look for the attention-getting portrait of Vinson while you’re out on campus. Members of Phi Delta Theta take the painting, affectionately named Dead Fred, to Centre events. He has even traveled abroad!) And at the risk of repeating ourselves, two alumni have clerked for Supreme Court Justices—Ben Beaton ’03 and Gordon Davidson ’49.
10. And the Award Goes to …
Our students, who take top national and international honors. Here’s a rundown as of September 2012:
• 8 Rhodes Scholars
• 52 Fulbright Scholars
• 12 Goldwater Scholars
• 16 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholars
• 6 National Science Foundation Fellows
• 3 Truman Scholars
• 1 Udall Scholar
• 1 Boren Scholar
• 1 Marshall Sherfield Fellow.
Not bad for a campus with a peak enrollment of a little more than 1,300.