Centre Success2018-06-14T20:19:11-04:00


Centre’s mission is to prepare students for lives of learning, leadership, and service. These individuals represent the fulfillment of that mission.


Successful Centre College alumni describe their Centre Experience.

Benjamin Beaton '03 with Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“A lawyer’s job is to ask tough questions and give persuasive answers. That is the essence of a Centre College liberal arts education: how to think hard, write well, and speak clearly.”

Benjamin Beaton ’03

J.D., Columbia University School Of Law • Attorney, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, D.C. • Major: Government • International Justice Mission Legal Fellow, Kampala, Uganda • Judicial Clerk, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Shariya Terrell '06 working in a lab

“My professors were instrumental with respect to my professional development. I know that I would not be where I am today without the personal attention I received at Centre College.”

Shariya L. Terrell ’06

Ph.D., Harvard Medical School (2013) • Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University School of Medicine • Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Parker Lawson at Cambridge

“Life abroad teaches you to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, which can be difficult at first, but then provides extraordinary opportunities for personal and professional growth.”

Parker Lawson ’15

Rotary Global Grant Scholar, University of Cambridge, England, 2016-17 (M.Phil., modern European history) • Fulbright Scholar, Spain, 2015-16 • Majors: International Studies and Spanish
Jeri Howell

“The faculty and staff at Centre supported my varied passions—music, the environment, foreign language, cultural exchange, and social justice—from day one. My Centre mentors helped me to unite these passions through interdisciplinary projects, internships, and now my Fulbright fellowship in Costa Rica.”

Jeri Howell ’16

Fulbright Scholar, Costa Rica • Majors: environmental studies, Spanish
Jerry Yang '12 outside at Commencement

“My master’s engineering program at Columbia is designed for students to concentrate their studies in methodological areas such as mathematical programming, stochastic models, and simulation. I liked it because it allowed me to apply both my scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills that I developed at Centre College.”

Jerry Yang ‘12

Consultant, EXL Services • M.S. in Operations Research (2013) • The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Research, Columbia University
Michael Fryar in London, England

“Through the Evidence for Policy Design program at Harvard, I will be working on projects that develop the capacity of policymakers to integrate data and research evidence into policy decision-making, with significant travel to India and Pakistan.”

Michael Fryar ’14

Research Fellow, Evidence For Policy Design Program, Harvard University Center For International Development • M.S., London School Of Economics, Rotary Global Grant Scholar • Study Abroad: Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, And Queen’s University, Belfast, N. Ireland


Centre alumni have made a tremendous impact on the culture and history of our world.

  • Academia

    Kent Barnett

    2002: Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

    Lula May Bruce

    1903: Teacher of the deaf. She taught at several schools around the country and was principal ofKentucky School for the Deaf. After World War I, she taught deafened soldiers.

    Raymond Burse

    1973: Rhodes Scholar; General Counsel for General Electric; former president of Kentucky State University; the first African-American to compete in the Oxford v. Cambridge rugby match

    Mary Ashby Cheek

    1909: President of Rockford (Ill.) College and dean at Mount Holyoke College.

    Leila S. McKee

    1883: One of first two women to receive a degree from Centre College, by a special act of the Centre trustees. President of Western College for Women, Oxford, Ohio.

    Ruby King Napier

    1955: 1994 winner of a $25,000 Milkin Award for work as principal at a Perry County (Ky.) elementary school.

    Mina Rea Jones Perlow

    1931: Chemist for the physics division of the Argonne National Laboratory at the University of Chicago. In 1960, she was consultant for the British Atomic Energy Commission.

    Clarence Wyatt

    1978: 14th president of Monmouth College; Fulbright fellow to Vietnam in 2012; author of Paper Soldiers: The American Press and the Vietnam War; co-chair of Centre’s 2000 and 2012 Vice Presidential Debates

  • Arts

    Stephen Rolfe Powell

    1974: internationally acclaimed glass blower and art professor

  • Athletics

    Gene Bedford

    Second baseman for the Cleveland Indians and defensive end for the Rochester Jeffersons

    E.A. Diddle

    1920: legendary basketball coach of Western Kentucky University, member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

    Jordan Gay

    2013: punter and kickoff specialist for the Buffalo Bills

    Cawood Ledford

    1949: voice of the University of Kentucky Wildcats for 30 years

    Alvin Nugent “Bo” McMillin

    1922: three-time All-American quarterback; member of the College Football Hall of Fame; head football coach of Indiana University, Detroit Lions, and Philadelphia Eagles

    Sully Montgomery

    1920: tackle for the Chicago Cardinals; boxer

    Tom Moran

    Blocking back for the New York Giants

    Homer Rice

    Football coach

    Red Roberts

    1922: NFL player; head football coach of Waynesburg University

    Lou Smyth

    1919: three-time NFL champion with the Canton Bulldogs

    John Tanner

    1921: NFL wingback with the Toledo Maroons, Cleveland Indians, and Cleveland Bulldogs

    Ken Willis

    1986 (transferred after one year): kicker for the Dallas Cowboys

  • Business

    Anita Currey

    1925: Insurance executive, civic leader, and Nebraska State Tennis Champion (1920-27)

    Eliza Caldwell Hardy

    1932: Pediatrician and physician for the Pelham (N.Y.) city schools.

    Isaac Tigrett

    1970: founder of the Hard Rock Cafe and the House of Blues

    Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr.

    1893: owner of the Stitzel Weller distillery and the eponym for Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

  • Government

    Joshua Fry Bell

    1828: first Centre alumnus to serve in Congress

    John C. Breckinridge

    1838: Vice President of U.S. under James Buchanan

    John Y. Brown, Sr.

    U.S. Congressman for Kentucky; lawyer; first sponsor of sales tax and civil rights legislation in the Kentucky House of Representatives; and father of John Young Brown, Jr.

    John Sherman Cooper

    1922: U.S. Senator (R), U.S. Ambassador to India, Nepal, and the German Democratic Republic; Centre College trustee emeritus

    Claude Matthews

    1867: 23rd governor of Indiana

    Shelba Proffitt

    1957: Army Program Executive Officer for Air and Missile Defense at Huntsville, Ala., where she managed the Patriot missile project.

    Augustus Stanley

    1889: 38th governor of Kentucky; grandfather of famous LSD chemist Owsley Stanley

    Adlai E. Stevenson

    1859: U.S. Vice President under Grover Cleveland and U.S. Congressman for Illinois

    John T. Stuart

    1826: U.S. Congressman; lawyer; law partner of Abraham Lincoln

    Gu, Prince Imperial Hoeun

    1952: Prince Imperial of Korea, grandson of Emperor Gojong

    General Joseph Holt

    1824: United States Commissioner of Patents, United States Postmaster General, United States Secretary of War and Judge Advocate General of the United States Army; leading judge in the trials of the Abraham Lincoln assassination

  • Law

    John Christian Bullitt

    1849: powerful attorney in Philadelphia; drafted the city’s charter and founded the law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath

    Justice John Marshall Harlan

    1850: Associate Justice of U.S. Supreme Court for 34 years; cast the lone dissenting vote in Plessy v. Ferguson

    Pierce Lively

    1943: United States federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 1972-2016

    Andrew Phelps McCormick

    1854: United States federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 1892-1916

    Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson

    1909, Law 1911: Chief Justice of the United States from 1946 to 1953; Secretary of the Treasury under Harry S. Truman; and U.S. Congressman for Kentucky