This year’s Homecoming festivities welcomed approximately 1,200 alumni home to “Centre Dear” to relive their Centre Experience. Among the highlights of the weekend was the annual alumni recognition ceremony, during which the College named three Distinguished Alumni, one Distinguished Young Alumnus and inducted four former Centre student-athletes into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
“The distinguished alumni recognition ceremony is one of my favorite events at every Homecoming because it gives us an opportunity to see what incredible things Centre alumni accomplish when they go out into the world,” Shawn Lyons, associate vice president for development and alumni affairs, said.
This year’s Distinguished Young Alumnus Award went to Dr. L. Kevin Chapman ’00, who has become a sought-after expert on depression and anxiety disorders. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Louisville, where he also received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association for his work in student advocacy in clinical psychology as state advocacy coordinator for Kentucky. After graduating, he joined the faculty at the University of Louisville as an associate professor of psychology, went on to become a founder and is former director of the University of Louisville Center for Mental Health Disparities, and is a founding partner of Kentucky Psychiatric and Mental Health Services. Chapman is a master clinician for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is the immediate past program chair for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and is a member of the International OCD Foundation for Social Anxiety. He serves on numerous editorial boards and has published over 30 articles or chapters on anxiety and related topics in scientific and professional journals. Additionally, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Men’s Health UK, Psychology Today and Psych Central, and he regularly makes appearances on a variety of news shows as a mental health expert.
Craig W. Johnson ’75 was named a Distinguished Alumnus for his civic involvement in his adopted hometown of Indianapolis as well as his leadership and philanthropy at Centre. Johnson and a partner established Centre Properties in 1985, which has developed 2.2 million square feet of retail property throughout Central Indiana. Many organizations have benefited from his time and talent, including Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Indianapolis, the Boy Scouts of America, Marian University, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and more. He also serves on boards at the Herron School of Art & Design at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis and at George Mason University. In support of Centre, Johnson has served on numerous class reunion committees, aided both admission and capital campaign efforts in Indianapolis and represented Centre at presidential installations in Central Indiana. As a past Centre board of trustees member, he was a leader in supporting efforts to build the Norton Center for the Arts’ permanent art collection and in the establishment of multiple endowed scholarship funds at Centre. Johnson was also integral in the $250,000 upgrade to the pool in Boles Natatorium, which now bears his name.
John R. Rhorer Jr. ’78 was named a Distinguished Alumnus for his widely recognized expertise in real estate law, with a particular knowledge in mineral transactions, which he practices as a partner of the Dinsmore & Shohl firm. He has been listed as a “Best Lawyer in America” annually since 1999 and has been selected for the “Kentucky Super Lawyers” list. Rhorer is a past president of the Fayette County Bar Association and a past board member of the Pro Bono Program as well as a trustee of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation. A lifelong Kentuckian, he has combined his legal expertise with a love of Central Kentucky and the region’s rich history by serving as chair of the Lexington-Fayette County Historic Preservation Commission and as president of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation. Rhorer is also past board president of God’s Pantry Food Bank and a past president of the Good Shepherd Day School board. In support of Centre, he has been a longtime class agent, member of numerous class reunion committees and served on the board of directors of the Alumni Association. He was also instrumental in facilitating the very successful return of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity to Centre’s campus.
Major General Kirk W. Vollmecke ’84 was named a Distinguished Alumnus for his highly regarded military service and civic involvement, particularly pertaining to autism outreach. Vollmecke came to Centre from the St. Louis area as one of the first recipients of the Union-Pacific Scholarship established by James H. Evans ’43, former CEO of Union-Pacific and chair of the Centre Board of Trustees. A member of ROTC at Centre, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army just prior to graduation. Vollmecke began his career in mechanized and light infantry battalion staff and company command positions. His overseas deployments have included Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning from his most recent deployment last summer, he was named Deputy Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Vollmecke has been awarded a wealth of military honors and been very involved in autism outreach programs, both in the military and civilian communities.
In addition to recognizing these remarkable alumni, the College honored four new Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. Just over 100 individuals have been inducted into the hall of fame since its inception in 1992.
Montas Allen ’98 was an all-conference performer in track and in football he set a school record that still stands at Centre. He was named to the all-conference first team and was recognized as the College’s Most Valuable Offensive Back in his junior year. In 1997, he was named the Pre-Season Conference Offensive Player of the Year as well as the Colonel’s Special Teams Player of the Year. Allen was also named to the Division III All-America Team and played in the Aztec Bowl in Mexico in addition to the USA D-III Mardi Gras All-Star Classic. When he graduated, he held four career records, two of which have yet to be eclipsed.
Karin Kimberlin Jackson ’92 was a four-year letter winner in track and a four-year All-Conference performer in multiple events. She also competed on the tennis team. Jackson was captain of the women’s track team in her junior and senior seasons and was named the Most Valuable Athlete at the conference meet her senior year. At her graduation, Jackson held nine Centre women’s track records. She also set school records, and following her senior season, she was named to the GTE Academic All-District Second Team.
Mike Pharris ’74 was a four-year starter in basketball and was selected as both the team’s Most Valuable Player and Most Efficient Player at the conclusion of his freshman year. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player in three of his four seasons. Pharris led the Colonels to their first Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championship and was named to the all-conference team his sophomore year, again leading the Colonels to a CAC championship his senior year. A member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, he was repeatedly recognized as a “Little-Phi” All-American for small colleges. Following his sophomore season, he was also named to the All-Phi second team. More than 40 years after his graduation, Pharris still ranks fifth in career rebounds and seventh in career points.
Marjorie Pilkinton ’05 is the first softball player from the fast-pitch era to be inducted in the Centre Athletic Hall of Fame, still ranking as the College’s career leader for triples and slugging percentage. Pilkinton was named to the All-SCAAC first team twice, as well as the All-SCAC second team and the COSIDA District IV Academic All-American first team. As a senior, she led the Colonels to their first winning record and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament. Pilkinton was also named Centre’s Female Athlete of the Year and later selected to the SCAC’s 15th Anniversary Softball Team.
Pictured above (l to r): Distinguished Alumni 2015: John R. Rhorer ’78, Dr. L. Kevin Chapman ’00, Craig W. Johnson ’75, Major General Kirk W. Vollmecke ’84.
by Elise L. Murrell
October 15, 2015