R. Ames Montgomery
Centre College President (1922-1926)
R. Ames Montgomery was born on July 16, 1870, in Hendricks County, Indiana, and graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in 1893 and McCormick Theological Seminary in 1896. He served pastorates in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri before becoming President of Parsons College, Iowa, in 1917. He was elected to Centre's presidency in 1922, and assumed the office in June of that year. Montgomery inherited a college with a growing national reputation, both for its academics and its athletics. Preferring to concentrate on academics, Montgomery continued the work of his predecessors in raising the college's standards. This period in Centre's history, however, would be remembered more for the accomplishments of its athletic teams than for scholarly pursuits. In celebration of its nationally acclaimed football teams, Centre opened Farris Stadium in 1923. Following the 1921 victory over Harvard, Centre teams continued with great success. The 1924 football team won the undisputed championship of the South, and was ranked among the three leading teams in the nation.
Despite this success, athletics were to bring trouble to both the college and its president. In 1924 the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the Southern States challenged Centre's accreditation on the grounds that the school was placing football ahead of education. Montgomery would have been happy to de-emphasize football and further the educational work of the college, but Centre alumni, supporters, and students would not agree to such measures. The friction between Montgomery and the student body came to a head when a petition, signed by a large majority of students, was presented to the Board of Trustees requesting Montgomery's removal. On March 9, 1926, Montgomery resigned, leaving to become president of Lane Theological Seminary.
For additional information see