Personal Education. Extraordinary Success
Centre People I Centre Facilities I Centre Life
The personal education Centre provides enables students to excel as undergraduates and to go on to achieve extraordinary success in advanced study, careers, and life. As it has since 1819, Centre College opens doors for its students and takes them to amazing destinations.

Many elements contribute to Centre's outstanding education: talented students; challenging and supportive teachers; excellent facilities; financial strength; an alumni body known for national leadership, achievement, and loyalty; the friendly, family-like atmosphere; a living sense of connection with the past; and a vision of new levels of achievement for the future.

Our combination of first-quality academics and a supportive, stimulating environment gives students the intellectual and social skills they need to succeed—while at Centre and later in graduate and professional school and in their careers. Our alumni have shown their appreciation for the educational advantages they received by supporting Centre financially over the years at the highest rate of any college or university in the nation over the last two decades.

In this way the College continues to evolve as each generation of students gives its support to further enhance the Centre tradition of personal education and extraordinary success.

Centre People

Students. Centre students are an unusually talented, energetic, and diverse group. They come from throughout the United States and several foreign countries. And they have far-ranging interests—from thermodynamics to dance, from Frisbee golf to philosophy, from plays to computers. They're enthusiastic and good at what they do: around 60 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school class. And they like to win, from national academic awards (such as the Rhodes, Fulbright, and Goldwater) to successful Division III athletics.

Faculty. Ninety-eight percent of Centre’s faculty members hold the Ph.D. or other final degree. In addition to top-notch credentials, Centre’s faculty members are dedicated teachers who are active in research. At Centre, there are no teaching assistants; classes are taught by members of the faculty.

Graduates. Centre graduates are extremely successful in gaining admission to graduate school, and about 40 percent pursue advanced degrees within 10 years of graduation. (Medicine, law, and business are popular.) Our alumni have risen to positions of leadership in virtually every field, and they're willing and eager to share their experience and knowledge with current students. Alumni frequently come back to campus to participate in “career conversations,” and “career days” and they also sponsor internships and other work-related experiences designed to help students identify and reach their goals.

Centre Facilities

Centre offers outstanding facilities that reflect and reinforce the quality of a Centre education. Old Centre, our main administration building, was begun in 1819 and is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture (white columns and brick construction) in the country. Our contemporary Norton Center for the Arts has been widely acclaimed as one of America's best performance centers. In addition, our residence halls are varied and appealing, and our classroom buildings are convenient and contain the latest equipment and instrumentation.

But Centre never stands still, and we continue to enhance our 115-acre campus. The College's master plan for building and renovation guides a program of physical improvements into the coming decade. Tops on that list is the state-of-the-art College Centre, a major expansion and renovation of the main academic building, library, and athletic building. The grand opening will be held at Homecoming 2005.

The following list describes some of the major buildings on campus. For more information on campus buildings and a campus map, go to

For a printable walking tour of campus, go to

Old Centre
The first building of the College, Old Centre is listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places and included in the Smithsonian Guide to Historic Places. The six-column Greek Revival front portico and wings were added to the original Federal building in 1841. During the Civil War, Confederate and later Union troops used the building as a hospital before and after the nearby Battle of Perryville. Old Centre now houses the offices of the president, vice president for academic affairs, and vice president for college relations.

Horky House
Built as a private residence in the mid-19th century, Centre’s admission and financial aid offices have occupied the Greek Revival Horky House since 1992.

Norton Center for the Arts
Each year the Norton Center offers a breath-taking array of entertainment: cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer LeAnn Rimes, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, Broadway musicals including The Full Monty and Steel Magnolias , and the Boston Pops, to name a few. In October 2000, vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman faced off in the Norton Center for the year's only vice presidential debate. Students often work backstage during these events or help take important visitors to and from the airport. In addition, some artists—actress Lynn Redgrave, flutist James Galway, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, to name just three—offer master classes for small groups of interested students.

The 85,000-square-foot Norton Center complex was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and includes the 1,500-seat Newlin Hall. At the back of the complex are the more intimate 360-seat Weisiger Theatre and Grant Hall, which includes classrooms, studios, and faculty offices for drama and music faculty.

Crounse Hall and Grace Doherty Library
Crounse Hall and Grace Doherty Library together with Sutcliffe Hall are part of a major expansion and renovation project called The College Centre.

Crounse includes offices for humanities and social science faculty members, classrooms, and the Vahlkamp Theatre, a small movie theater on the lower level.

The front and main section of Crounse is occupied by Grace Doherty Library. The library holds a strong academic collection of books, journals, CDs, microforms, government documents, and more.

The library's Web page ( provides online access to 15,000 full-text journals and online databases such as Academic Search Premier, Biological Sciences, Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Grove's Dictionary of Art, Medline, and Lexis-Nexis among many others. To view a complete list of databases available, click on “electronic databases," on the library's Web page.

All electronic resources are available via the campus network 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Students and faculty have complete access to all library databases from off campus (a tremendous advantage when studying abroad, for example). Many campus buildings, including the library, have wireless access.

The library's traditional print resources represent one of the oldest scholarly collections in the South. In addition to our contemporary resources, Doherty also houses the College archives, which include college records, oral history interviews, rare photographs, historical papers, and other materials from Centre's long history.

As might be expected from one of Kentucky's oldest library collections, the Grace Doherty Library is an outstanding combination of the old, the rare, and the new.

Franklin W. Olin Hall
Olin Hall was built in 1988 with a $3.5-million grant from the F.W. Olin Foundation of New York City. It houses the chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science programs. In the foyer is a two-story Foucault pendulum, which demonstrates the rotation of the earth beneath the plane of the pendulum’s swing.

Young Hall
Named for two early Centre presidents—John C. Young and his son William Young, Class of 1859—Young Hall houses the biology and psychology programs. It also includes a small natural history museum that features outstanding examples of dinosaur fossils and unusual minerals.

Jones Visual Arts Center
The Jones Visual Arts Center houses the art and art history programs. It includes a state-of-the-art hot glass studio and the Aegon Gallery for exhibitions of work by student and visiting artists. The drawing and painting studios offer outstanding natural light. There are also studios for ceramics, sculpture, and other media, as well as a slide library and classrooms.

Sutcliffe Hall
Originally built in 1915, the building was dramatically expanded in 2005 as part of the new state-or-the-art College Centre. Sutcliffe includes three gyms, a workout facility with free-weight and exercise machines, athletic offices, and the Athletic Hall of Fame room.

Old Carnegie
Built in 1913 as a library (the industrialist Andrew Carnegie provided $30,000 toward its construction), Carnegie served that purpose until the construction of Doherty Library in 1967. It currently houses the offices of international study and career services. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Cowan Dinning Commons
The octagonal building is the main dining hall on campus. Since Centre is a residential campus, most students eat at least one meal a day in Cowan. Faculty and staff members often join students in Cowan during lunch.

More casual dining opportunities are available at the Hall of Fame Café and at the Grille in the Combs Center (our student center, often called the Warehouse).

Combs Center (also known as the
The Combs Center student center is often called the Warehouse, but it is officially named for Leslie L. Combs II, Class of 1925, a Lexington horse breeder whose gift helped convert a turn-of-the-century hemp warehouse into one of the nation's most distinctive student centers. Original plank flooring, brick walls, and huge oak columns remain from its warehouse days. There are also game tables, dance space, chairs for lounging, and other amenities. The second floor features the Grille, with light refreshments and meals (as well as wireless Internet access), while the third floor has offices for student organizations.

Student Residences
Most students live on campus in accommodations that vary from traditional residence halls to townhouse-style apartments. Students also live in the fraternity and sorority houses in Greek Park. All campus rooms include voice mail and high-speed Internet connections (Windows or Mac).

Centre Life

Centre offers outstanding opportunities for a well-rounded life. Internationally known performing artists appear throughout the year at the College's Norton Center for the Arts, and virtually all these world-class programs are free to students. Our convocation program brings in speakers and performers who present a wide range of programs, also free to students.

Along with these events, there are numerous opportunities for participation in more than 100 campus clubs, societies, teams, and other groups. These student groups focus on a variety of special interests and include such organizations as the American Chemical Society, Law Society, Outdoors Club, Photographic Society, and CARE (Centre Action Reaches Everyone). Residence halls, fraternities, and sororities organize many formal and informal events. The College sponsors 19 intercollegiate varsity sports that provide entertainment for participants and spectators alike, as does our active intramural program.

Five national men's fraternities (Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Sigma Chi) and four national women's sororities (Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma) contribute to the total campus social program. These organizations encourage academic achievement among their members, perform community service projects, and organize parties and special events such as the Greek Week/Carnival Week co-sponsored with the Student Activities Council. Their contract with the College is spelled out in a "Statement of Mutual Responsibility." The director of Greek life serves as an advisor to the Greek organizations. The Student Life Office encourages volunteer service through CARE, a student service organization that supports such varied programs as adult literacy education, food and clothing drives, projects to assist residents of the Boyle County Senior Citizens Center, and tutoring for elementary and middle-school children. Centre is also affiliated with several national volunteer service organizations.

Centre College Statement of Community
As an academic community Centre encourages an atmosphere of diversity and mutual respect. To promote these goals the College Council approved the following Statement of Community: "We pledge continuing efforts to build and strengthen a community enriched by our differences and founded upon our common humanity. Centre respects the right of all members of the community to express their individuality in a manner that is consistent with the dignity and welfare of others. Centre strives to create an environment where differences are celebrated rather than discouraged, where individuals have the opportunity to exchange ideas and share in the richness of mutual experience. By valuing the individual’s total character over any single characteristic, Centre will maintain its unique community."

Clubs and Honoraries
We have many interest groups and honoraries that organize a wide variety of events and activities on campus. Some groups, such as the Pre-Med Society, the Law Society, the American Chemical Society, the Economics Society, and language clubs are directly related to academic life. They enhance classroom instruction through field trips, guest lectures, and volunteer work.

Other organizations include the Diversity Student Union, the Student Activities Council, the Outdoors Club, and several religious organizations.

Centre’s honorary societies recognize students for outstanding leadership, character, and academic ability. These societies include Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa (for recognition of outstanding scholars and leaders), Sigma Delta Pi, Phi Sigma Iota, Phi Sigma Tau, Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Delta Epsilon, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Psi Chi (honoraries for students in Spanish, foreign languages, philosophy, history, economics, political science, and psychology, respectively), and Order of Omega (a Greek honorary/leadership society).

Religious Life
Centre has always been dedicated to the development of the whole student. From 1819, when the institution was founded by Presbyterian leaders, to the present time, the College has recognized the importance of the full intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual development of its students. As the College's statement of purpose affirms, "Centre's highest priority is to prepare its students for lives of learning, leadership, and service." The religious programs on campus are a crucial component of the College's effort to achieve this goal.

Centre's Office of Religious Life is located on the third floor of the Combs Center and staffed by the College chaplain. Ministers from local churches also maintain ties with the College. The Office of Religious Life works to 1) promote vital religious life and greater religious understanding on campus; 2) encourage and coordinate the work of campus religious groups; 3) strengthen students' links to their own religious traditions by facilitating the student ministries of local congregations; 4) enhance the College's mission to educate its students as morally and socially responsible citizens; 5) provide pastoral care and religious counseling for the campus community; and 6) advise students considering religious vocations and divinity school programs. In addition to retreats, speakers, worship services, dinners, and discussion groups, the Office of Religious Life sponsors events such as the Advent service of Lessons and Carols, Lenten observances, Passover Seder, and baccalaureate. Religious groups on campus include the Baptist Student Union, Centre Catholic Community, Centre Christian Fellowship, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Westminster Fellowship (Presbyterian), Young Life, and Habitat for Humanity. The Office of Religious Life also sponsors CentrePeace, a campus peace and justice group.

While the College is proud of its Presbyterian connection, Centre is governed by an independent board of trustees and offers much religious diversity. The religious denominations with the largest representations on campus are Catholoic, Baptist, Christian/Disciples of Christ, Methodist, and Presbyterian. In addition to these denominations, the following faiths were represented in a recent freshman class: Assembly of God, Buddhist, Church of Christ, Church of God, Episcopal, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Lutheran, Muslim, Hindu, Eastern Orthodox, and Unitarian.

Student Publications
Students publish a biweekly newspaper, The Cento, covering campus activities and opinions. The yearbook, Olde Centre, offers students the opportunity to gain practical experience in writing, photography, and graphic design. Vantage Point is a publication of student creative writing, photography, and artwork.

Shared Responsibility
Among the abundant opportunities for growth and experience that Centre offers outside the classroom, perhaps the most significant is shared responsibility in campus governance. At Centre, students, faculty, and staff members work together to create a community that brings freedom and responsibility into a healthy balance. Through careful attention to the organization of a strong student government and by making positions of significant responsibility available to students, Centre gives concrete meaning to terms such as democratic values and civic duty. Students take an active part in College decision-making through their roles in student government or—with faculty and staff—as members of the College Council. Students serve with faculty on each major program committee, advising on curriculum and major requirements. They also take the primary responsibility for regulating the conduct of their peers through the Student Judiciary. Such shared decision-making and responsibility is an essential part of the Centre education. It is a liberal education in the true sense, educating the whole person, building self-esteem and self-confidence, and teaching concepts such as democracy and civic responsibility on a practical level.

Campus Governance
The College Council. Although Centre is legally governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees, its academic and community life is governed in large degree by the College Council. The council consists of representatives from the faculty (15), staff (10), and students (10), as well as designated College administrators. (It is highly unusual among colleges and universities for students to be voting members of such a decision-making body, but this reflects Centre's strong commitment to student involvement in governance in positions of significant responsibility and authority.) Student members are elected by the Student Government Association.

Two student representatives serve on the steering committee of the council. Students are appointed in reasonable proportion to all committees of the council and carry equal responsibility with other members. The one exception is that they do not participate in consideration of matters involving the confidential records of other students.

Student Government Association. The Student Government Association is the official executive and legislative body for student discussion, decision, and action. It is composed of elected student representatives and the undergraduate fellows. A major responsibility of the SGA is to allocate funds to student organizations. The SGA president serves as a nonvoting representative to the board of trustees. The SGA represents the student body primarily in matters relating to the standards and practices of nonacademic student activities and services.

The Student Judicial System. The judicial powers of the student government are exercised by the student judicial system. The student judicial system consists of the Student Judiciary, which hears cases involving violations of College regulations; the Interfraternity Judiciary, which hears cases involving violations of Interfraternity Council regulations; and the Panhellenic Association executive committee, which hears cases involving violations of Panhellenic Association regulations.

The Fraternity and Sorority Systems. By its approval of the Interfraternity Council constitution, the College has granted a substantial degree of self-governance to the campus fraternity system, of which the Interfraternity Council (IFC) is the executive and legislative body. The IFC regulates and coordinates the affairs and activities of the five social fraternities on campus in conformance with the published campus and residence regulations of the College. Both the IFC and the College subscribe to the policies and positions of the Association of Fraternity Advisors, National Interfraternity Conference, and Fraternity Executives Association.

The Panhellenic Association regulates and coordinates the affairs and activities of the four social sororities on campus in conformity with the published campus regulations of the College. The Panhellenic Association subscribes to the National Panhellenic Conference guidelines.

A special contract between the men’s and women’s Greek organizations and Centre is spelled out in the "Statement of Mutual Responsibility."

At Centre, we believe athletic participation is important because it contributes to the education of the whole student. Athletics serve as a learning experience, as a healthy activity, and as just plain fun. Our program offers athletic competition for the novice, the expert, and everyone in between.

Intramurals. An active intramural sports program gives Centre students the chance to meet on the playing field with fellow students as well as the faculty and staff members who participate in the program.

Intercollegiate Competition.
Centre is a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division III. SCAC members in addition to Centre are DePauw University (Greencastle, Ind.), Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.), Millsaps College (Jackson, Miss.), Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, Ga.), Rhodes College (Memphis, Tenn.), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Ind.), University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.), Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas), and Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

All SCAC member institutions adhere to a policy of not awarding financial aid to a student for participation in athletics.

Residence Life
To promote the atmosphere of closeness and community that is an important part of Centre, the College requires that students live in College residences and take their meals in Cowan Dining Commons or other campus dining venues. (For exceptions, see the "College Regulations" section.) Cowan serves three meals Monday through Friday and two meals on Saturday and Sunday. Students may choose a 16-, 13-, or 10-meal-per-week plan. All meal plans include Centre Dollars that can be used at the Combs Center Grille or the Hall of Fame Café .

Health Services
We make on-campus health services available in the Parsons Student Health Center, on the first floor of Sutcliffe Hall, which provides medical care for acute common illnesses and minor injuries. Parsons Student Health Center can also provide continuing maintenance of medication for routine chronic ailments. We also find specialists in the community when needed for illnesses that require more extensive treatment than can be provided through the Parsons or the College’s physicians.

Parsons makes available certain routine medications at minimal expense in order to save students both time and money. Team medical coverage, including physical examinations for new athletes and treatment of injuries, is provided by certified athletic trainers. Students requiring emergency care of serious injuries or illnesses of a medical or surgical nature not provided by Student Health and not covered under the College’s athletic program are financially responsible to the physician providing the service.

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