Centre holds Commencement exercises; Jessie and Cantrell receive valedictorian prizes
DANVILLE, KY -- Centre College held 1999 Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 30, with attention focused on the 239-degree candidates in the senior class. Ben Jessie, a chemistry major who last year received a national Goldwater Scholarship, was named for the George Winston Welsh Valedictorian Prize as the top male graduate. Sarah Cantrell, who completed a double major in French and elementary education, was honored with the Gavin Eastman Wiseman Valedictorian Prize as the top female graduate.
Jessie, a resident of Knob Lick, Ky., had many honors at Centre including the Organic Chemistry Prize, selection to Whos Who and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He was a John C. Young Scholar and was nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship. Cantrell, a resident of Chattanooga, Tenn., had previously received the Max P. Cavnes Freshman Book Prize, selection to Whos Who and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She received the McBride French Prize this year.
Jessie and Cantrell were among 239 members of the graduating class.
The commencement address was delivered by University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams, who was president of Centre for eight years before going to UGA in 1997.
Adams told the Centre seniors: For the past four years at Centre, you have been asked to write and write and write, and now you leave here well prepared to write you own life story. Adams advised the graduates to adhere to four standards in their lives after graduation: creativity, integrity, concern for the needs of other people and an appreciation for Centre and other institutions that have shaped their lives.
During his presidency, Adams guided Centre through the development of an ambitious strategic plan. Under his leadership, the college established international study programs in London and Strasbourg, renovated or constructed 15 major buildings, and expanded the number of endowed professorships among the faculty.
As part of the 1999 commencement exercises, Centre awarded honorary doctorates to Adams and to Thomas Farmer, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Danville. Farmer also delivered the morning baccalaureate address at Centre.
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