Chances are, if you have opened your newspaper lately, Centre College has been in the headlines. Though often described as “Kentucky’s best kept secret,” in the span of 10 months, it is clear the secret is out: Centre is a leading national liberal arts college.
The 2012 VP Debate was hailed by many as an all-time height of national attention and focus for Centre, with over 50 million viewers tuning in for the third-most popular vice presidential debate ever, the “Thrill in the Ville II.” Over 3,000 media personnel descended on Danville, sharing Centre College with the nation and the world.
“Selecting the President and Vice President of the United States is, arguably, the most important political exercise in the world,” said President John Roush when he announced Centre’s hosting of the debate. “We are grateful for this opportunity to serve our nation.”
The VP debate was just one instance where Centre lived up to the Los Angeles Times expression as “a college that consistently punches above its weight.” This spirit of ambitious achievement manifested again with this summer’s English Channel swimmers, current student Danielle Wahl ’15 and alumnus Kyle Poland ’02.
Wahl wore a Centre College swim cap during her trek, noting, “Centre is definitely going to be in my thoughts during the swim. It’s one of several people and places I want to honor by walking on the shore of France.”
After finishing his swim, Poland donned a Centre hoodie, noting, “Centre, with all of its history of successes, attracts certain types of goal-oriented people.” Poland is definitely one of those people, having trained for two years for the momentous occasion.
Ultimately, all of this national and international attention has showcased Centre as a small place where big things happen, and this elevated role has attracted high-achieving students from across the country and the globe.
As the helmsman of the College, President John Roush takes stock not only of the extraordinary accomplishments of the last year but also the opportunities that await the College in future.
“The College’s story continues to amaze—even me,” he says. “What an opportunity we have had in less than the last year to host a General Election debate; to have two students, one a rising junior and the other an alumnus of 2002, complete swims of the English Channel; to prepare to welcome the largest, most talented, most diverse group of students to the College in the fall of 2013 to have several of our faculty and staff make a “splash” of national and worldwide proportions.”
For President Roush, the true value lies in the fact that, although Centre continues to expand its national and international presence, it has not lost sight of its core values or purpose.
“What’s even more remarkable is that the College hasn’t stopped doing what it does best—preparing young people for extraordinary lives of work and service,” he explains. “We truly have been blessed, and there remains unfinished business. What does this mean? It means that Centre, without having lost its culture of hard work and kindness, is becoming ever more a place of national prominence. That has been the plan for some period of time, but the progress we are making together is disproportionate.”
By Mariel Smith