A highlight of each winter meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees is the annual Centre Associates Dinner, a black-tie gala that recognizes donors for their generous support of the liberal arts institution now entering its third century of service.
In appreciation for their enduring leadership and commitment to Centre, President John and First Lady Susie Roush received the Richard Trollinger Centre Associate of the Year award, which recognizes exemplary service and devotion to the College. A moving video tribute preceded the awarding of the honor at the dinner, which was followed by an extended standing ovation lasting several minutes.
Roush announced his retirement this past summer and his remarkable tenure as president will come to an end after 22 years on June 30, 2020. As an indication of the admiration, affection and respect the Centre community holds for the Roushes, the Centre Associates Dinner saw a significant 40 percent increase in attendance, bringing nearly 600 people to the record-setting event held at the Omni Louisville Hotel.
As a further display of gratitude for their service, a new need-based scholarship fund named in their honor was announced. The John and Susie Roush Scholarship Fund has already received more than $1.15 million from over 600 donors and continues to grow. (See related story here.)
Friday (prior to the event) and during the following day, meetings of all standing committees, full sessions of the board and a plenary session took place.
At the plenary, Jamey Leahey, in his role as vice president for legal affairs and planned giving, provided the positive results of a biennial survey completed by trustees about their satisfaction with overall board governance. This was followed by an update from Chief Communications Officer Michael Strysick about Centre’s engagement with Ologie, a Columbus, Ohio-based higher education branding and marketing agency. In addition to reviewing in-depth data from a brand perception survey, trustees saw preliminary strategy and creative concepts.
The session ended with an update on academic initiatives by Ellen Goldey, dean of the College and vice president for academic affairs. Her report detailed initiatives to support student academic success, library renovations and progress on establishing a Center for Community Engagement and Entrepreneurial Development in downtown Danville. The CEED Center would occupy the third floor of the Hub building, where the Centre College Bookstore has its home.
Committee meetings provided trustees with updates and action items on other College-related business.
Kay Drake, vice president for human resources and administrative services, shared results of the annual renewal process for healthcare benefits, and Human Resources Generalist and Training Coordinator Ben Nelson provided action planning based on results of a recent employee satisfaction survey.
Vice President and Dean of Student Life Randy Hays outlined a recent audit of campus housing and identified future capital priorities related to residence life. He also provided an update on the College’s efforts to monitor updates coming from local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the coronavirus, and to educate the campus community on staying healthy.
Andrea Abrams, who serves as Centre’s chief diversity officer, presented an outline to three committees about creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan during the spring term. The plan was well received by the Academic Affairs, Planning, and Student Life and Enrollment Management committees, and also received strong support from the full board.
The board also heard reports from Julie Wheeler, president of Staff Congress; Hank Alford ’89, president of the Alumni Association; Henry Snyder ’20, president of the Student Government Association; and John Wilson, faculty president.
As well, Associate Professor of English John Kinkade was a guest at the Academic Affairs Committee and shared information about his work as coordinator of the Brown Fellows Program, his longtime involvement with the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program and recent courses he’s taught.
In board action, Centre’s newest trustee, Amul Thapar, a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, was officially inducted in the Class of 2020. Fellow trustees Benjamin J. Beaton ’03, William S. Bowmer, III ’83, Tao Le ’91 and Brian Mefford ’95 were inducted into the Class of 2025.
As well, three trustees were elected to extended terms. Robert L. (Bobby) Elliot ’71 and Thomas H. Meeker, both of the Class of 2021, and Daryll W. Martin ’78, of the Class of 2022, will continue their valuable service to the College two years beyond their current terms.
The board also unanimously approved emeritus trustee status for five of their colleagues: Thomas R. Baeker, Rutherford B. (Biff) Campbell, Jr., G. Watts Humphrey, Kenneth J. Mardick and George W. Privett, Jr.
Finally, trustees voted unanimously to approve creation of several new endowment funds, representing the continuing generosity of donors.
The Trowbridge Research Endowed Fund, established by Karen Trowbridge Savitz ’04, will be used for summer research stipends, with a preference given to female students studying math and science.
The Andrea and Kyle Longton Endowed Fund, established by Kyle ’08 and Andrea Bishop Longton ’09 in honor of their children, Cora, Lucy and George Longton, will be used to purchase materials or services for the Grace Doherty Library, such as books, technology, periodicals, subscriptions, etc.
The Dr. Brooks Landon ’70 Library Fund, established by Bren Landon ’01 in honor of her father, will similarly be used to purchase materials or services for the library.
The Centre College Board of Trustees will next gather April 2-3, 2020, for its spring meeting, to be held at Centre’s historic campus in Danville. The College was founded in 1819.
by Centre College News
February 3, 2020