Centre kicks off bicentennial with day of festivities

Published 7:14 pm Monday, January 14, 2019


All events are open to the public and free of charge. Participants are asked to register, especially for meals and seminars, by visiting centre.edu.


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On Wednesday, Centre College kicks off its year-long celebration of its bicentennial with a day of planned events, and all are open and free to the public.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with the annual Founders Day convocation in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts. It will feature speaker Crit Luallen, Centre class of ‘74 who is secretary of the Centre Board of Trustees and a former Kentucky lieutenant governor, state auditor and commissioner of the arts.

Also featured during the Founders Day event will be Milton Reigelman, Cowan Professor of English Emeritus and former acting college president.

Tenor Gregory Turay, Alltech Artist-in-Residence at the college, will sing Centre songs, including “Olde Centre Marches Ever On.” The song was written in 1908 by Phil Ryan, class of 1910, and set to the tune of “La Marseillaise.”

A luncheon will be offered at 12:15 p.m. in the Cowan Dining Commons.

After lunch, four different seminars will be offered. The first two seminars, both led by Centre faculty, will each begin at 1:45 p.m.

Amos Tubb (history) and Ravi Radhakrishnan (economics) will present Show Me the Gold (& White): The Story of Centre’s History and Endowment.

Beau Weston (sociology and author of a book on Centre and Presbyterianism) and Tara Strauch (history) will present A Religious Center: A Discussion about Centre, Presbyterianism, and Religion.

Then, at 3:30 p.m., two additional seminars begin. Two members of the English program, John Kinkade and Azita Osanloo, will discuss Why Centre?, and the evolution of the English language over the last 200 years.

The Science of Making Bourbon will be presented by Lenny Demoranville (chemistry)

and Pat Heist, co-founder of Wilderness Trail Distillery.

At 5 p.m., the Founders Day Dinner will be held in the Cowan Dining Commons.

The evening celebration starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton Center for the Arts. Weston, author of “Centre College: Scholars, Gentlemen, and Christians,” will give a brief talk on 200 years of Centre history.

The eight-minute preview of “A Storied Centre: A Bicentennial Celebration of Centre College,” the student-directed documentary produced by Tom Thurman ’84, will have its first screening.

Turay will lead several assembled choirs in “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot and “One Day More” from Les Misérables with an orchestra conducted by Rob Seebacher of Centre’s music program.

At 8 p.m., “Pieces of Time,” an exhibition of photographs from the Centre archives, will officially open. A dessert reception and toast to the College’s 200th anniversary from Alumni Association President Hank Alford ’89 will conclude the evening’s festivities.


Centre College was founded by Presbyterian leaders and officially chartered by the Kentucky Legislature on Jan. 21, 1819. The name reflects the college’s location in the geographic center of Kentucky, when British spellings were common.