Centre College faculty honored with promotions, tenure and awards

by Centre College News

Commencement faculty 2024

Centre College’s transformative education begins in the classroom, with expert faculty and a 10-to-1 student-to-professor ratio.

The College celebrated its faculty at the end of the year with awards highlighting their ongoing commitment to the College’s mission of preparing students for lives of learning, leadership and service.

Three professors were given the Kirk Award at the annual faculty and staff awards ceremony. The distinction, established in 1996, recognizes faculty who stand out during annual review sessions by the president, dean and division chairs. The 2024 Kirk Award winners are:

Division I: Willie Costley

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Associate professor of Spanish 

Costley ’00 holds a BA from Centre College, where he majored in Spanish and in English. He also holds an MA in Spanish from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Arizona.

Costley joined Centre’s faculty in 2013, was tenured and promoted to associate professor of religion in 2020, and he was named a Centre Scholar in 2021. His research interests include U.S. Latina/Latino literature, border studies, nativism, visual culture, digital humanities and new media studies.

Division II: Matthew Pierce

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Associate professor of religion 

Pierce earned his BA in biblical studies and a Ph.D. from Boston University. He joined the Centre College faculty in 2011, was named a Centre Scholar in 2016, was tenured and promoted to associate professor of religion in 2018.

Before coming to Centre, Pierce spent extensive time in the Middle East and Central Asia, living in Egypt, Yemen and Iran, and these immersive experiences deepened his appreciation for diverse cultures and enriched his teaching on Islam.

Division III: Kelly O’Quin

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Elizabeth Molloy Dowling Associate Professor of Biology

O’Quin received his BS from Louisiana State University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He started working at Centre in 2014 and was tenured and promoted to associate professor of biology in 2020. Kelly especially enjoys mentoring research students interested in evolutionary biology, genetics, statistics and genomics, and he uses statistical and bioinformatic techniques to study microevolution.

Five professors were also distinguished as Centre Scholars, an award that recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarly work and contributions to the college community.

  • Eva Cadavid, associate professor of philosophy
  • Chantell Limerick, associate professor of Spanish
  • John Perry, professor of economics and business
  • Jamie Shenton, associate professor of anthropology
  • KatieAnn Skogsberg, associate professor of behavioral neuroscience

Promotions and Tenure

At its spring meeting, the Centre College Board of Trustees recognized faculty for outstanding service to the College.

Five professors were promoted to the rank of full professor, to begin Sept. 1.

  • Robyn Cutright, professor of anthropology
  • January Haile, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Joel Kilty, professor of mathematics
  • Andrew Roche, professor of philosophy
  • KatieAnn Skogsberg, professor of behavioral neuroscience

Dr. Erin Wachter has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

Five professors were awarded annually renewing endowed professorships, beginning Sept. 1:

  • Allison Connolly, the Alfred P. Jobson and Katherine B. Jobson Professor of French
  • Jenn Goetz, the H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Jeff Heath, the Margaret V. Haggin Professor of Mathematics and Data Science
  • Joel Kilty, the H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics
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Ravi Radhakrishnan

Ravi Radhakrishnan was awarded the inaugural Marlene and David Grissom Chair in Economics and Business — a six-year, rotating endowed chair position. Radhakrishnan joined Centre College in 2012 as an assistant professor of economics.

His area of specialization is growth theory with a focus on the role of rent-seeking activities like lobbying on long-run productivity growth. Another area of his work focuses on intellectual property rights and economic growth. His research in these areas has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals in economics. Radhakrishnan was named Centre Scholar in 2017.

 Five professors were recognized for earning three-year rotating endowed professorships:

  • Genny Ballard, the Charles T. Hazelrigg Professor of Spanish
  • Lenny Demoranville, the Marlene and David Grissom Associate Professor of Science and Mathematics
  • Kristen Fulfer, the Marlene and David Grissom Associate Professor of Science and Mathematics
  • January Haile, the Elizabeth Molloy Dowling Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Tara Strauch, the Paul L. Cantrell Associate Professor of History

Eight retiring faculty were granted the title of Professor Emeritus by the Centre College board of trustees: Rick Axtell, Mykol Hamilton, Patrick Kagan-Moore, Judith Keiser, Mark Lucas, Endre Nyerges, Mark Rasmussen and John Wilson.