Walking the Honor Walk at Centre
RELEASED: May 24, 2007
[Editor's Note: Senior Adam Brown, a dramatic arts and anthropology/sociology double major from Bowling Green, Ky., wrote this feature.]
DANVILLE, KY—Many graduating seniors will attest that their accomplishments could not have been achieved without the help and support of others. At many institutions, the “others”—whether they be friends, family members, faculty or staff—often go without the recognition they truly deserve. But, on Saturday May 19, the graduating Centre seniors of 2007 gathered to pay tribute to those individuals who enriched their educational experience in the closing ceremony of the College’s newest tradition: the Honor Walk.
Early in the academic year in 2002, the Honor Walk began as a symbol of appreciation when Centre President John Roush gave each member of the class of 2003 his or her Centre Talent—a coin with the Old Centre Quad on one side and the Centre College seal on the other. Those seniors then assembled in the Old Centre Quad the day before graduation to pay tribute to the person who made their Centre experience truly remarkable. After walking through Old Centre, the senior met his or her honoree and then presented the talent to them as a public acknowledgement of the senior’s heartfelt gratitude.
The Class of 2007 recently carried on the tradition, honoring a wide array of individuals. Mary Jane Saunier, former Student Government Association president and international studies major from Winchester, Ky., chose to honor Centre director of student activities and educational programming Megan O’Brien. Saunier says of O’Brien and the Honor Walk, "I've written her several 'thank yous' over the years, but this was a way to really show her that she has meant more to me than just being the SGA advisor. She's truly helped me get through multiple difficult situations and has been a great advice-giver, mentor, role model and friend."
Hillary Eason, recent recipient of a Fulbright Award and a double major in English and international relations from Johnson City, Tenn., chose to acknowledge a past member of Centre's staff—Trina McFarland, the former head of volunteerism and service. "For me, the Honor Walk was intended to pay tribute to someone who had made my experience here compelling and unique, who had made me glad that I chose Centre College, and Trina was my instinctive choice."
Kate Humphrey, an English and anthropology/sociology double major from Nashville, Tenn., chose to honor her parents, Mark and Nancy Humphrey. She says of her decision, "A cookie-cutter answer, I know, but they're the ones who always pushed me to succeed but stopped before I cracked under pressure." Describing the impact of the honor, Humphrey says, "My mom got a little teary when she got the notice that 'someone' wanted to honor them at the Honor Walk. I think she finally knows I turned out okay."In addition to honoring significant people within the lives of seniors by "giving back," the tradition has also become one of "giving forward," in which seniors are encouraged to donate money to the Student Scholarship Fund. This year, the class of 2007 began a new scholarship designed especially for an upperclassman who had encountered some financial hardship and would not be able to return to Centre without financial help. Over the past five years, the Honor Walk has generated $9,254 in pledges and donations, with the Class of 2005 holding the top spot with $2,598.91in total gifts.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. 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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