Centre News

Record applications and strong fundraising among highlights at Spring Centre Trustees meeting

April 18, 2013 By Amy Clark Wise, Assistant Director of Communications for Public Relations and Marketing       
ASB During the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees at Centre,
the College reported on milestones including student
recruitment numbers, newly approved majors and more.

Reports given by College officials at the spring meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees announced record numbers in student recruitment and strong outcomes in fundraising, in addition to other indicators of success. The board met April 11-12 on Centre’s campus.


Bob Nesmith, dean of admission and student financial planning, reported a continuing trend in student application growth at Centre College. Applications for this fall’s incoming first-year class are up 4 percent over last year’s record result. Nesmith also noted an increase in early applications—following a decade-long trend—though this year expectations were exceeded, pointing to the positive impact of Centre’s Early Decision.

Notably, all application growth over the last two years has been among out-of-state and international students, Nesmith added. Over the last three years, out-of-state applications have increased by 23 percent and internationals by 50 percent.

Nesmith also announced that the Office of Student Financial Planning has implemented a more efficient system for assigning awards to first-year students. To date, the office has distributed 20 percent more awards at this point than any year in the previous decade.

Academic Affairs

Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, shared faculty recruitment news, in addition to the results of tenure and promotion reviews, with board approval for the new tenure-track hires for fall 2013.

Curricular changes at Centre also were announced, including the addition of a new major in environmental studies. This academic study had previously been a minor at the College. The move recognizes a five-year increase in both the number of self-designed majors involving environmental studies and the number of recent faculty hires who have expertise in environmentally related topics.

Fabritius also reported on the status of several academic grants, among them a $5,000 award to Robyn Cutright (anthropology). Awarded by the Curtiss T. and Mary G. Brennan Foundation, the grant will support the excavation of a multi-ethnic frontier community in northern Peru. Select Centre students will assist Cutright in excavating the site this summer.

Three groups of Centre faculty received grants from the Faculty Development Program of the Associated Colleges of the South, a consortium of which Centre is a member.

Aaron Godlaski (psychology), Christian Haskett (religion) and Kyle Anderson (Chinese language and culture) received a $5,970 grant for collaborative study on the benefits of meditation in the college setting. Sarah Lashley (director of the Center for Teaching and Learning) and chemistry professors Jennifer Muzyka, Kerry Paumi and Joe Workman were granted $7,500 to host a workshop on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Philip White (English), Lisa Williams (creative writing) and Kyle Anderson received $7,500 to support student/faculty collaboration in translating Chinese poetry and to invite guests to speak on the subject.

In collaboration with colleagues from other ACS schools, Forrest Stonedahl (computer science) was awarded $10,000 for a systematic exploration of how massive open online courses (MOOCs) can be used by small liberal arts colleges.

The Board approved emerita status for Patricia Finch (Spanish), who has served at Centre since 1991 and will retire at the end of the spring term 2013.

College Relations

In the area of development, vice president for College Relations Richard Trollinger reported that through the first three quarters of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, 6,114 donors have made contributions totaling $13,525,514. Of these donors, 991 have made gifts that qualify them for membership in Centre Associates, the College’s leadership gift club. More than 670 alumni have participated in the Alumni Challenge so far, for which an anonymous trustee will match any alumni gift with $100 up to a total of $250,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

Trollinger also reported that the Parent Fund continues to thrive, with a participation rate of 45 percent. Around 50 Centre parents attended the annual Parents Committee meeting last month, when new officers were elected for 2013-14.

Alumni Affairs announced an ambitious alumni event schedule being planned over the next several months across nearly 30 cities. Among the activities are the first-year summer send-off events, which serve to officially welcome first-year students into the Centre community.

Events geared toward alumni are also scheduled, including an Alumni College featuring Stephen Powell ’74 (art), world-renowned for his glass art. Powell will lead a three-day course on glassblowing, during which participants will have the opportunity to make their own blown-glass artworks.


Clarence Wyatt ’78, chief planning officer and special assistant to the president, reported that the process of “refreshing” the College’s strategic plan—known as “The Centre Saga”—is well underway. More than 120 members of the campus community participated in three conversations about Centre’s goals and priorities. One of the conversations focused on global citizenship, while the other two looked at engaged and experiential learning. Additional conversations are scheduled.

Centre faculty, staff and students discussed topics that included study-abroad and study-away options, sustainability and environmental responsibility at the College, opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and community-based learning, faculty-student collaboration and summer programs on Centre’s campus.

Student Affairs

Randy Hays, vice president and dean of student life, reported that a large group of students and six staff members participated in Alternative Spring Break, partnering with Big Creek People in Action in McDowell County, W.Va., the Cumberland Trails Association in Crossville, Tenn., and the American Hiking Society, repairing trails in Virginia’s Sky Meadows State Park.

Demonstrating the widespread commitment by Centre students to service and community, the College was again recognized as a member of the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service. Efforts that underscore this acknowledgement include work provided by the Bonner Scholars—a group of students on campus who impact the local community through service and advocacy. Other noted student involvement includes work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as an on-campus tutoring program for non-English speaking students, and participation in Read Across America Day at local schools.

Centre athletics continues to enjoy success, with men’s and women’s swimming and diving along with men’s basketball finishing first in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA). This is the College’s first year of participation in the new conference. The men’s basketball team went on to compete in the NCAA Championships.

Hays also reported that the College’s Department of Public Safety conducted a successful active-shooter drill on campus April 9. The drill was a community effort with local law enforcement, fire department, emergency medical staff and Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center participating.

Finally, the Board approved the adoption of the revised Student Government Association (SGA) constitution as submitted by SGA president Patrick Cho ’13.

In other College business, the Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2013-2014, the graduating class of 2013, and faculty action on the size and composition of the tenure and reappointment committee.

In addition, four trustees were re-elected to serve a six-year term, which will begin July 1, 2013, and run through June 30, 2019. Those trustees include William S. Bowmer III ’83, Robert L. Elliot ’71, G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. and James L. Rogers III. In addition, Margaret Stroup ’60 was elected as a trustee emerita after 24 years of service on the Board.

Officers of the Board who were elected for the 2013-2014 year include Robert T. Brockman ’63, chairman; Randal B. Kell ’69, vice chairman; James D. Rouse ’62, secretary; John A. Roush, president of the College; and Yvonne York Morley, assistant secretary.

The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees will take place October 31 and November 1, 2013, on the Centre campus.

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail elizabeth.trollinger@centre.edu with your feedback.

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