|Centre's first board chair started Kentucky Colonel tradition
RELEASED: Oct. 21, 2004
DANVILLE, KYIsaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky and chair of Centre's original board of trustees, is responsible for a rich Kentucky tradition.
In 1813 Shelby awarded a Kentucky Militia officer, who had just returned from the War of 1812, the rank and grade of Colonel. And so began the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky: Kentucky Colonel.
This distinction is now given by Kentucky's governor and secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, the state or the nation. A certificate of membership is given to each recipient.
A Kentucky Colonel's goal is to be "Kentucky's ambassador of good will and fellowship around the world."
There is an impressive and diverse list of men and women who have been awarded this honor: U.S. presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan; English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, entertainer Fred Astaire; boxer Muhammad Ali; Tori Murden-McClure, the first woman to row the Atlantic and Centre's Baccalaureate speaker in 2000; and actress Whoopi Goldberg.
Shelby was a solider in the Revolutionary War and served two terms as Kentucky's governor. A room in Old Centre, the College's signature building, is named in Shelby's honor. Old Centre, completed in 1820, is the College's first building.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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