The Lucky 13 Contest: winners, honorable mentions,
a mysterious entry
RELEASED: December 4, 2008
DANVILLE, KY—The "Lucky 13 Contest," a lighthearted look at the Forbes magazine's America's Best Colleges ranking, has concluded with the selection of first, second and third-place winners.
The Forbes list, which placed Centre at No. 13 among all colleges and universities, raised the spirits of some and the blood pressure of others when it was released in August. Reactions ranged from "way past time," to "no way," in lively message board and blog discussions.
The Lucky 13 Contest, open to all with a Centre connection, gave one simple instruction: "Send us your take on the Forbes 13th ranking—a riddle, a one-liner, a tight paragraph, a poem, a picture—use your imagination."
Centre community members responded with more than 40 entries from around campus and around the country. They ranged from witty to silly, from sentimental to mathematical, from competitive to poetic.
Here are some examples:
Jack Smith '79 of Batesville, Ind., posed his entry in the form of a question and answer:
Tammy Melloan, parent of James Melloan '12, represented the College's claim on liberal arts breadth elegantly with only six words:
Gary Bugg, Centre's director of public safety, made his point with a terse couplet:
James Thaler, Jr., Esq. '83, of St. Petersburg, Fla., expressed the loyalty for which Centre alumni are famous:
Tom Buchanan applied a quantative structure to the purple prose of what he described as "the opening sentence of a really bad crime novel":
Susan C. Brown, parent of David Brown '08 and Laura Brown '12, made a "reverse-field" move in her entry:
David Royalty '70, of Cold Springs, Ky., took a mathematical approach with the following algebraic equation:
Derek Bryant '11 went mathematical even more succinctly with this submission:
And now as we move into the Winners Circle (drum roll, please) in which each entrant receives 13 fabulous prizes, the Third Place Award goes to Jeffrey Huff '84 of Ashland, Ky. A number of entrants made use of the word, "triskaidekaphobia," which as all members of the Communications Office know (after having looked it up), means a fear of the number 13. Jeffrey played off this term in his one-word winning entry:
Next, claiming the Second Place Award is Thomas Richards '11. Thomas combined play on the famous C6 H0 formula with an observation on the changing geography of academic prestige with the following winning submission:
And now to announce our No. 1 Grand Prize Winner (whose 13 fabulous prizes will include an iPod Nano).
Lucky Number 13!
We know that brevity is the soul of wit, but in this case wit gave way to the sheer force of this winning entry by Jill Hoskins Fritz '86, parent of David Fritz '11 and spouse of Greg Fritz '86 of Mason, Ohio. With energy and resolve that suggests a combination of Walt Whitman, Leo Tolstoy and Rocky Balboa, Jill swept aside the competition to claim first place with this magnum opus:
Lucky enough for...but enough. Though the laurels have been bestowed, and we know those who will be receiving the 39 fabulous prizes, we can't quite close our report on the Lucky 13 Contest without recounting the details of one entry which came to the Communications Office in a most mysterious way.
The Mysterious Entry
Public Safety has not been able to determine who left the poem and note on the steps of the Breeze, but did surmise from muddy tracks leading to and from the steps that the individual was a tall man wearing unusually large boots.
The poem reads as follows:
Thanks to all who participated in The Lucky 13 Contest. Winners should contact email@example.com to claim their prizes.
For the Forbes article on Centre, click here.
For an op-ed by President John Roush on college rankings, click here.
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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/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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