Centre News

R. Stanton Hales, Jr., to deliver Founders Day address

January 10, 2013 By Diane Johnson, College Editor       
Stanton Hales, Jr. R. Stanton Hales Jr. will deliver the Founders Day address on
Wednesday, Jan. 16. Hales is senior consultant for Academic
Search, Inc., and president emeritus of The College of Wooster.

R. Stanton Hales Jr., senior consultant for Academic Search Inc., president emeritus of The College of Wooster in Ohio and eloquent champion of the liberal arts for more than four decades, will deliver the keynote address for Centre College’s Founders Day at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the Norton Center for the Arts. The title of his talk is “A Contrarian View.”

The program is free and open to the public. As part of the program, Centre will confer upon Hales the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

Each year Centre marks the anniversary of its founding nearly two centuries ago with a Founders Day ceremony. Centre received its charter from the Kentucky legislature on Jan. 21, 1819.

Hales has spoken often of the importance in taking the long view with higher education and of the dangers in considering only “market pressures” and short-term results. A graduate’s first job is “incredibly inconsequential,” he says. The one that counts is “the last job.” He has warned of the problems that arise when “education is valued only as vocational preparation.”

Concerned with the “homogenization of current higher educational goals,” he takes a contrary position.

The liberal arts, with their emphasis on critical thinking and interdisciplinary connections, best serve that long view, he believes. The goal of the liberal arts, he says, is to teach students “to understand themselves and the world from the most basic point of view possible.”

His own long and distinguished career in higher education began at Pomona College—his alma mater—in 1967, when he joined the faculty as an instructor of mathematics. He turned toward administration in 1973, when he was named Pomona’s associate dean of the college, a position he held until he was recruited to Wooster in 1990 as vice president for academic affairs. Five years later, he was named president.

The college flourished during the 12 years of his presidency, with a higher national profile, an energetic expansion of campus buildings, curricular enhancements that included a Chinese language program and a successful $147 million capital campaign that surpassed the original goal by $25 million. Since 2007, he has been a senior consultant with Academic Search Inc., helping to match colleges with potential senior administrators.

A native of Pasadena, Calif., he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Pomona. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics at Harvard University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and later served as a teaching fellow.

His honors include the Rudolph J. Wig Distinguished Professorship Award at Pomona in 1971 and the Distinguished Service Award from the International Badminton Federation in 1999.

Known for his approachability on campus, he has also been a leader in a number of academic consortiums, including chairing the Annapolis Group of Colleges, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities and Great Lakes Colleges Association.

In addition to his academic career, he has enjoyed nearly equal success in the athletic arena as a badminton player, coach and administrator. He holds six national titles in juniors, men’s and grand master’s tournaments. During his service with the International Badminton Federation Council, he officiated tournaments all over the world, including the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

He credits both the competition and the people he met through his sport with providing important lessons for his academic responsibilities. They “were just so valuable in dealing with the different kinds of pressures and experiences as a college administrator,” he has said. “You learn how to deal with losses. You learn how to rebound and do better the next time.”

Stanton Hales takes “A Contrarian View” in Founders Day address

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Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.

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