At the annual Centre Associates Dinner, Centre College named Eugenia Crittenden Blackburn “Crit” Luallen ’74 Associate of the Year and Jay Carnes ’07 Young Associate of the Year. Luallen and Carnes were recognized at a ceremony at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville on on Friday, Jan. 27.
Before the recognitions were bestowed, however, Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement Shawn Lyons announced that the Associate of the Year honor would henceforth be known as the Richard W. Trollinger Associate of the Year Award in honor of the College’s recently retired vice president for college relations.
Trollinger, who served for 22 years as Centre’s chief development officer, was “both surprised and deeply appreciative of the gesture,” he said, as “the associates program is so very important to the culture of philanthropy that Centre alumni and friends have developed in support of the educational mission of the College.”
The Richard W. Trollinger Associate of the Year Award was then presented to Luallen, a Frankfort, Ky., native whose long and distinguished career of public service in Kentucky has made her one of the Commonwealth’s most admired public officials.
Centre College President John A. Roush says that Luallen “epitomizes what it is for a college or university to prepare tomorrow’s citizen leader. Through her series of appointments and elections, she’s contributed mightily to the Commonwealth and to these United States.”
Over the years, Luallen has worked with seven governors in a variety of positions, including state budget director and secretary of the governor’s executive cabinet. She was recognized by “Governing” magazine in 2009 as Public Official of the Year for the positive impact she has made on Kentucky government.
As a two-term elected state auditor, Luallen led several high-profile cases that exposed fraud and corruption in some government offices and, in turn, helped return millions of dollars to state taxpayers. Luallen served as Kentucky’s lieutenant governor under Steve Beshear from November 2014 to December 2015.
Luallen earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art at Centre and was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1994. She has served on Centre’s Board of Trustees since 1998 and is currently secretary of the board as well as chair of the honorary degrees and nominations committee. Luallen gave the 2015 Centre Commencement address and, at that ceremony, was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters.
Fellow trustee and 2007 recipient of the award Anita Britton ’76, who has known Luallen since both were young girls, says of her friend, “She’s always been valued and called upon for her advice and counsel, and there’s a reason for that: she does not act precipitously, and that is the kind of leadership that this world so desperately needs.”
Luallen and her husband, Lynn, live in the Frankfort farmhouse where she grew up.
The Young Associate of the Year Award was then presented to Carnes, who was a highly involved student at Centre and has continued to maintain his commitment to the College since graduating in 2007.
“Whenever there’s a need, Jay’s there to step up,” says Chief Planning Officer Patrick Noltemeyer ’01, who worked with Carnes in Centre’s Student Life Office. “Whenever there’s an opportunity to make a difference, Jay’s there.”
A brother in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, Carnes was also a student leader in the Centre Christian Fellowship, competed on the track team and was a student member of the residence life staff.
Carnes was named Homecoming King his senior year, and was also awarded the Max P. Cavnes Prize, given yearly to the best-loved and most-respected senior man and woman as voted upon by their classmates.
“He’s a role model, even for old guys like me,” says Bruce Johnson, the James Graham Brown Professor of Economics at Centre. “I look at Jay and I think, what a good person. I wish I could be like that. He is truly an admirable young man.”
Upon graduating from Centre, Carnes immediately returned to campus to work in the Student Life Office. He then went on to work in student life and student housing offices at the University of Kentucky, where he earned his graduate degree, and at Bellarmine University.
Carnes has long been involved with Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program, which he attended in high school. He has worked for them over six summer sessions and continues to evaluate student applications.
Currently an account specialist with BillFixers, Carnes has stayed involved in undergraduate campus life, including working with Vanderbilt University’s cross-country and track and field programs.
Carnes and his wife, Bethany Wilson Carnes ’08, live in middle Tennessee with their two daughters.
Those named Young Associate of the Year must have graduated from Centre within the past decade.
The Associate of the Year Award has been presented since 1990 and the Young Associate of the Year Award since 2007. Past recipients of the awards include Ewing T. Boles, Class of 1916 , Jeffrey L. Briggs ’06, Ruby Moss Cheek ’29, Stephen Dexter ’04, Hugh G. Hines, Jr. ’60, Rob King ’04, E. Golladay LaMotte ’29, David F. Ray ’59, Jane L. Stevenson ’53, Adele and H. Wesley Stodghill ’36 and Margaret Menges Stroup ’60.
by Elizabeth Trollinger
January 30, 2017