Centre College President John A. Roush recently sat down with KET “One to One” host Bill Goodman for a conversation about Centre, access and affordability in higher education, the upcoming Vice Presidential Debate—to be held at the College—and more.
During the broadcast, Roush noted that over the past decade on the national level in the public sector, college tuition and fees have increased an average of 10 percent per year. Independent colleges have seen five to seven percent increases annually.
That, he said, is unsustainable. And for the foreseeable future, Centre plans to contain annual tuition increases to three percent or less.
“We are a place that continues to offer admission without regard for need, and I want us to continue to be able to do that,” he said. “If you are a smart student and you have need, I want us to be able to admit you and bring you here. Our Board shares that commitment.”
And while Centre is committed to remaining accessible, quality is also a priority.
“At Centre, we want to emphasize that we’re going to try to be sure that we continue to make our top flight, nationally recognized educational experience available to all students, independent of need,” he said.
Roush told Goodman that Centre attracts well-rounded, intellectually gifted students who are willing to work hard academically and get involved in extra- and co-curricular activities.
“We’re really looking for a student who wants to make an impact in life, who wants to go out and make a difference for good, and those are the kinds of students who prosper,” he said.
And, as Goodman pointed out, Roush consistently recognizes that Centre students are characterized by curiosity and a thirst for learning.
“Whatever we’re doing is working,” Roush said. “These students, they feed off each other. Even the ones who are probably a little light on curiosity—all of the sudden, they have a roommate who won’t stop saying ‘let’s go hear that speaker, let’s go see that event, let’s go to the library and learn from each other.’
“And so,” he continued, “I really do think it’s part of our culture that I hope we can sustain: that sense of curiosity and sort of an unspoiled quality that makes our College, with all of its advantages and all of its potential, an even finer place.”
The Vice Presidential Debate, which will take place on October 11, 2012 at Centre, is one advantage students will experience.
“First of all, we are honored to be asked to be a service to our nation,” Roush says. “There are two things that matter most to me about doing this. One is that we will make it movingly educational. In 2000, when we [hosted the Debate], we decided to make it a movingly educational time for our students at Centre College, for those students in our region in Central Kentucky and really for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and we were able to achieve that an exceedingly high level, unmatched at that point. We intend to do the same thing in 2012.”
Roush said that Centre students will volunteer during the Debate, and the College hopes that many students will be able to watch the Debate live in the debate hall.
“The second thing I would argue is that for Centre College, for central Kentucky, and even for the Commonwealth, 2000 was kind of a transformational moment for our state to say, when important conversations take place, at important moments in our nation’s history, they come to Kentucky,” he said. “They come to Centre College.”
To watch Roush’s appearance on the show in its entirety, click here.