Guided by a culture of civic engagement at Centre College, it is no surprise that many Centre students choose to pursue lives of leadership and service for their state and country. With the gubernatorial debate at Centre fast approaching, we’ve taken a look at some of the College’s gubernatorial connections, which includes an alumni roster of 11 governors from seven states.
Perhaps most famous was Austin Peay III, Class of 1895, considered one of Tennessee’s most effective governors. Austin Peay State University, which he had authorized while governor, honors his legacy.
John Young Brown, Class of 1855, was a gifted orator who served as Kentucky’s 31st governor. He was the namesake of, but not related to, John Y. Brown Sr., Class of 1921. (John Y. Brown Sr.’s son, however, John Y. Brown Jr., was Kentucky’s 55th governor.)
The Class of 1855 also included Thomas T. Crittenden, 24th governor of Missouri. During his tenure, the state board of health was established.
In addition, Kentucky’s first and fifth governor, Isaac Shelby, was the first to chair the Centre College Board of Trustees.
More recently, Steven L. Beshear, Kentucky’s 61st governor, spoke at Centre’s 191st Commencement in 2014 and received an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremony.
Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Eugenia Crittenden Blackburn Luallen, Class of 1974 and a Centre Trustee, followed as the 2015 commencement speaker at Centre. Two of her ancestors also served as governor of the Commonwealth: John J. Crittenden and Luke Blackburn.
The Centre gubernatorial debate is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. on the stage of Newlin Hall in Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts. The same auditorium was site of two vice presidential debates, in 2000 and 2012, and a Kentucky gubernatorial debate in 2007 between then-candidate and current Governor Steve Beshear and then-Governor Ernie Fletcher.
Tuesday’s debate is expected to host a full house, with 1,000 people in attendance, including 250 Centre students, who are taking full advantage of the opportunity to engage in the democratic process. Members from both the Centre Democrat and Centre Republican organizations participated in a coin toss to determine the order of Tuesday’s events, and students will also be live blogging the event, which will be hosted on Centre’s website for viewer interaction alongside a live stream of the debate.
While the majority of debate tickets are committed to students and the Centre community, the remaining tickets will accommodate 225 members of the public, in addition to reserved seating for the campaigns, media and co-host AARP.
Broadcast stations currently committed to carry the debate live are:
• WAVE3 News (Louisville)
• WLEX-TV (Lexington)
• WXIX-TV (Cincinnati/Northern Ky.)
• WSAZ-TV (Ashland/Huntington, W. Va.)
• WFIE-TV (Owensboro/Henderson)
• WQWQ-TV (Paducah/Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
iHeartRadio will broadcast the debate live on 84WHAS (Louisville) and 630WLAP (Lexington), and will also make the debate available to 85 Kentucky News Network affiliates across the Commonwealth, as well as other stations.
by Elise L. Murrell
October 5, 2015