Three hundred and twenty-five seniors were granted degrees at Centre’s 194th Commencement, held on Sunday, May 21, at the Norton Center for the Arts. Upon graduating, the Class of 2017 left a legacy of impressive accomplishments and countless life-changing experiences on campus and across the globe.
As we bid them farewell, here’s a final look at the Class of 2017, including a roundup of interesting facts and figures from Commencement 194:
Number of graduating seniors: 325. Of the total graduates, 169 were female and 156 were male. The Class of 2017 differs markedly from the graduating classes of the College’s earliest years. Centre was chartered in 1819, and its inaugural class—composed of only two graduates—were awarded degrees in 1824.
Graduation rate: With a guarantee to graduate in four years, Centre delivers on its reputation for high achievement. The four-year graduation rate for the 2017 class is 84 percent, giving Centre among the highest grad rates in the nation.
Most popular majors: The top five majors for the 2017 class are 1) economics and finance; 2) behavioral neuroscience; 3) international studies; 4) English; and 5) politics.
Number of honorary degrees awarded: 1. Commencement speaker J.D. Vance, a New York Times best-selling author, was granted an honorary doctor of laws.
Number of Valedictorians: 2. Shuqi Liu, of Kunming, China, received the Gavin Easton Wiseman Valedictorian Prize for top female graduate, and Harrison Kyle Kirby, of Louisville, Kentucky, was awarded the George Winston Welsh Valedictorian Prize for top male graduate.
Number of students receiving honors: 78. Seven students graduated summa cum laude, 33 magna cum laude and 38 cum laude.
Number of students in Phi Beta Kappa: Thirty-seven graduates were elected to Centre’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest honor society for the liberal arts and sciences.
Number of Posse Scholars: Nine members of the crossed the stage. The New York-based Posse Foundation recruits outstanding students from urban school systems in large cities across the U.S. and places them in selective colleges and universities, where they receive full scholarships. This is the eighth class of Posse graduates, all of whom are from the Boston area. Centre will celebrate 11 years of partnering with the Posse Foundation this fall.
Number of Brown Fellows: 10. This was the fifth class of Brown Fellows to graduate from Centre. The College partnered with the James Graham Brown Foundation to launch the Brown Fellows Program in 2009. Students selected into the program receive full-ride scholarships and additional benefits, including summer enrichment experiences. The program is the premier scholarship and enrichment initiative in Kentucky and one of the nation’s elite fellowship programs.
National awards: This year’s class national award winners include three graduates who will go on to participate in Teach For America: Annalea Wilson, who will be teaching in Memphis, Tennessee; Mary Chapin Snow, who will work in Indianapolis; and Madison Stuart, who will teach in Hawaii.
Number of student athletes: 95. The senior class has compiled 26 conference championships and 10 NCAA championship appearances. The All-American Athletes represented in the Class of 2017 are: Serena Gale-Butto, Women’s Cross Country NCAA Division III All-American, Nicole DeHerde, Field Hockey National Field Hockey Coaches Association First Team All-American and DeStinie Graves Women’s Soccer National Soccer Coaches Association of America Two-Time First Team All-American. Tori Dillard was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Second Team All-American as a junior last season.
Nations and states represented: This year’s class includes students from 24 states and four foreign countries: China, Myanmar, South Korea and Vietnam. Among the 2017 graduates are 17 international students.
Percentage of students who studied abroad: 83 percent of the class studied abroad or away at least once during their four years at Centre. Thirty percent of the graduates studied abroad two or more times, and three students studied abroad four or more times while at Centre. The Class of 2017 helped propel Centre to a #3 national ranking for study abroad by the Institute for International Education.
Hours of service by Bonner Scholars: 12,198, collectively. As part of Centre’s Bonner program, 16 senior Bonner Scholars and Leaders dedicated their four years to civic engagement and serving others in the surrounding communities and beyond.
Graduates whose parents attended Centre: 22 legacy students were numbered among the graduating class.
Graduates with siblings who attended or are currently enrolled at Centre: 45
Graduates with strongest Centre connections: Lloyd Hall has an impressive 14 fellow Centre alumni in his family tree, followed by Jack and Will Graham and Hannah Harrison, who all join nine of their relatives as Centre grads.
Family members and friends in attendance: 2,600. Newlin Hall held approximately 1,400 guests during the Commencement ceremony. A simulcast of the ceremony held in Centre’s Alumni Gymnasium was attended by approximately 1,200 additional guests.
After graduation: Centre graduates cross the stage career ready, with 97 percent of last year’s class employed or pursing advanced study within one year of graduation. This is one of many reasons the Princeton Review listed Centre as one of its “Colleges That Pay You Back,” among other “Best Value” rankings by such publications as Forbes, Money and Kiplinger’s.
While their post-Centre pursuits vary, the 2017 graduates share a common calling as they join the ranks of the number that now totals 13,416 proud alumni.
by Amy Clark Wise
May 23, 2017