Released January 14, 1999
Centre College Founders Day to Feature
Keynote Address by Gordon Davies
DANVILLE, KY -- Centre College will celebrate its 1999 Founders Day on Wednesday, Jan. 20, with a keynote speech by Gordon Davies, president of the newly formed Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Centre also will confer an honorary degree on Davies during the ceremony, becoming the first Kentucky college or university to honor him since he joined the CPE in late summer.
During Founders Day, Centre also will award an honorary degree to Nelson Rodes of Danville, a Centre alumnus and vice chairman of the board of trustees of the college. James Evans, a Centre alumnus and life trustee who is retired CEO of the Union Pacific Corp., will receive the Isaac Shelby Medallion, the highest honor conferred by the Centre board of trustees.
The Founders Day ceremony begins at 11 a.m. in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts. It is open to the public at no cost.
Founders Day is held each year at Centre to celebrate the anniversary of the college's founding. Centre received its charter from the Kentucky legislature on Jan. 21, 1819.
Davies, the keynote speaker, earned an international reputation in higher education during his 20 years as director of the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia. During his tenure, the state witnessed enrollment growth, innovations in programs and funding, and the release of a massive study authored principally by Davies. A veteran of work in computer sales and service in the U.S. Navy, Davies has been a strong advocate for technology in education. He also has been at the forefront of efforts to promote equal educational opportunity for minorities.
Davies has taught at Teachers College of Columbia University. He holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Yale University. An avid runner, he has competed in five Boston Marathons.
A Danville native, Rodes graduated from Centre in 1954 and subsequently earned a law degree from Harvard. He practiced law in Danville for more than 20 years and, in 1980, became president of Farmer's National Bank. He retired from the bank presidency in 1995 and continued serving as chairman of the board and an investment officer at the bank until 1997.
Rodes was honored by the Kentucky Bar Association in 1981, when he was named outstanding lawyer of the year. He chaired the building committee for the Kentucky Bar Center, served as president of the Kentucky Historical Society and was president of the state banking association. Rodes has been a member of the Centre board of trustees since 1973 and vice chair since 1988.
Evans will become only the sixth person to receive the Isaac Shelby Medallion since its inception at Centre in 1972. The medallion, which carries the name of a distinguished Kentuckian who helped found the college, honors exemplary service to the college and to the larger community.
Evans is a 1943 graduate of Centre who began his business career as an attorney and loan officer with the Harris Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago. Evans subsequently became president and chair of the Seamen's Bank for Savings in New York City. He joined Union Pacific in 1965 as a director of the Union Pacific Railroad and, by the time of his retirement in 1985, was president and CEO of the Union Pacific Corp.
A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Evans has been a member of the Centre board of trustees since 1961, including seven years as chair. He is now one of¦e trustees at Centre. A widely respected leader, Evans has held membership on the board of directors for AT&T, Bristol-Myers Co. and Citicorp. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy.
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