During Homecoming 2017, Oct. 19-22, Centre College recognized four graduates for their accomplishments and contributions by naming them Distinguished Alumni during its annual recognition ceremony. The weekend also saw the induction of four alumni into Centre’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Distinguished alumnus William Smock ’81, physician and professor, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology before continuing his education at the University of Louisville, where he received a master’s degree in anatomy. In 1990, he earned his M.D. at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Before coming to Centre, Smock served as a high school volunteer firefighter in Louisville, and as a student, he continued serving with the Boyle County Volunteer Fire Department. Smock even warned the College of the dangers of not having smoke and fire detectors in the residence halls and convinced administration to upgrade from old pull-box alarms to smoke and fire detector systems.
Throughout his early career, Smock served as an ER doctor, a police surgeon with the Louisville Metro Police Department, led a coordinated effort to establish a Joint Emergency Services Unit, started a database to track information on gunshot wounds and worked with the Center for Women and Families to develop the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. Smock was also a professor of emergency medicine at University of Louisville; a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal; a medical advisor to the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and chairman of the International Medical Advisory Board’s Institute on Strangulation Prevention.
More recently, Smock has been involved in international medicine, leading medical mission trips to Tanzania and Kenya; he served as Medical Director for Waterstep; and he served as a board member to Supplies Over Seas and to Supporting Heroes.
Pathologist William A. Meriwether ’43 was also recognized as a distinguished alumnus by Centre. As a junior, he graduated with a degree in biology and was awarded the George Winston Welsh Valedictorian Prize. The Army Specialized Training Program sent him to medical school at the University of Tennessee. He was recalled to active service during the Korean War and made a career in the army.
In addition to Korea, Meriwether was based in the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Japan, California, Texas, Germany and Washington. Moving with him all those times were his late wife, Candida, and their six children. During his time in the army, he earned a Legion of Merit award. After retiring from the army as a colonel in 1975, he and his family settled in San Antonio, Texas, where he taught pathology and was director of surgical pathology at the University of Texas Medical School.
Jane Blair Skidmore ’64 graduated from Centre with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and received her master’s in elementary education from Union College in 1985. Throughout her career, she taught in schools in Kentucky and California.
Skidmore served on the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; the Governor’s Scholars Board of Directors; and was a member of the Kentucky Writing Advisory Committee. She received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Excellence in Teaching Award and Outstanding Service Award for Meritorious Service to Education in the 5th Congressional District of Kentucky; as well as the Green Leaf Award for Dedication as an Educator. She is also in the Union College Educators Hall of Fame. Additionally, she has been heavily involved in civic and community service.
While at Centre, she was the secretary of the student faculty congress, secretary of the women’s student congress, a junior sponsor, member of the Centre Choir and a Homecoming Queen candidate. She traveled abroad with now retired Cowan Professor of English Emeritus Milton Reigelman and visited Japan, China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Kenya, Italy and France. She has also been a member of the Alumni Board of Directors and served as a member of Class of 1964 reunion committee.
This year’s distinguished young alumnus was awarded to Benjamin Beaton ’03. As a student, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, sports editor for the Cento and a Norton Center employee. Beaton was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Summa Cum Laude, receiving the George Winston Welsh Valedictorian Prize.
After Centre, he was legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Ed Whitefield, and in 2006, pursued his J.D. at Columbia University School of Law, receiving the Alexander Hamilton Fellowship. At Columbia, he was also awarded the James Kent Scholar designation.
During his career, Beaton has clerked for the Honorable A. Raymond Randolph with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. and he also spent several months in Uganda as a legal fellow for the International Justice Mission. Most notably, in 2011, he landed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to clerk with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Beaton and his wife, Andrea Zawacki ’01, live in Washington, D.C., with their three children. He is an active advisor and mentor to D.C. area Centre alumni. He also served on the President’s Advisory Counsel and is a loyal Centre Associate. Most recently, he joined the Board of Trustees for the College.
by Centre College News
October 30, 2017