Intensely Personal and Deeply Engaging

A Centre education is intensely personal and deeply engaging. It enables students to excel as undergraduates and to go on to achieve extraordinary success in advanced study, careers, and life. 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 schools and in their careers. One sign that our alumni appreciate the educational advantages they received at Centre: the Alumni Factor ranks Centre graduates “the happiest group of graduates in the country.” U.S. News regularly names Centre to lists for "best undergraduate teaching" and "best value."

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, philosophy to computers. They're enthusiastic and good at what they do: more than half 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 Division III athletics.

Faculty. In addition to their 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 regular faculty.

Graduates. Centre graduates are extremely successful in gaining admission to graduate school, and about one-third go on to earn advanced degrees. (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 an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture (white columns and brick construction). 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 158-acre campus. The College's master plan for building and renovation guides a program of physical improvements into the coming decade. The South Fields first opened in 2013 with an expansion begun in 2015. Brockman Residential Commons, a 124-bed concept in student living built around five clusters of buildings, opened in 2012. A major addition and renovation to Young Hall, one of two science buildings, was dedicated in 2011.

The following list describes some of the major buildings on campus.

Old Centre

The first building of the College, Old Centre is listed individually in the National Register of 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, as well as the Welcome Centre, a reception area for the Office of Admission.

Boles Hall

Built in 1997 as a mirror image to the 1940 Wiseman Hall, Boles Hall is named for a former Centre board chair and since 2015 has housed most of the Admission and Financial Aid offices.

Norton Center for the Arts

Each year the Norton Center offers a breath-taking array of entertainment: cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer LeAnn Rimes, singers Bobby McFerrin and Alison Krauss, and the Boston Pops, to name a few. The Norton Center has also been the site for two Vice Presidential Debates, in 2012 and 2000. Students often work backstage during these events or help take important visitors to and from the airport. In addition, some artists—flutist James Galway and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, to name just two—offer master classes for 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 367-seat Weisiger Theatre and Grant Hall, which includes classrooms, studios, and offices for drama and music faculty.

Crounse Hall and Grace Doherty Library

Crounse Hall includes classrooms and offices for humanities and social science faculty members. The Vahlkamp Theater (a small movie theater) and the Center for Teaching and Learning are on the lower level. The front and main section of the Crounse building is occupied by Grace Doherty Library. The Grace Doherty Library offers private study areas and seating for more than 400 patrons, with wireless connectivity provided throughout the building.  A computer lab equipped with a teaching station, 31 desktop computers and a presentation screen and it is available on the lower level of the library.  Extended Orientation sessions and research instruction are provided in this space during the day, but the lab is available to students in the evening hours for private study. There are also twenty computers available in the reference area on the main floor of the library and laptops are available for checkout. Also on the main floor, directly behind the reference offices, is a presentation and screening room. Patrons may reserve this room to view films or to practice and record presentations for review and refinement.  This presentation and screening room will be renovated and upgraded with new technology during the 2016-17 academic, due to a generous gift from the Parents Association.

Recent gifts from private donors and the Parents Association provided funds for the renovation and re-furnishing of several major study areas on the main and upper level floors, with a focus on collaborative work and study space. Two quiet reading rooms are also available on the main floor and these are often used for small, academic meetings as well as quiet study. The Special Collections room is located on the main floor of the library and houses archival records of Centre College, as well as rare and fragile materials. Special Collections are made available to patrons and community users by appointment with the library archivist.

The library also provides outstanding resources and services to support the rigorous undergraduate curriculum at Centre College. The library’s print collection includes approximately 300,000 volumes, as well as 32,000 e-books and 34,600 e-journals. In addition to the primarily free interlibrary service offered to our patrons, a formal agreement with the Federation of Kentucky Academic Libraries grants borrowing privileges at all Kentucky academic libraries to the students and faculty of Centre College. The Grace Doherty Library’s webpage provides online access to such scholarly databases as Academic Search Complete, Web of Science, JSTOR and JSTOR Biological Sciences, ARTSTOR, MathSciNet, Grove Art Online, Historical New York Times, Oxford Reference Online, The Times (London) Digital Archive, among many others. All electronic resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students and faculty have access to all library databases from off campus as well.

Reference librarians provide 28 research sessions to first-year students each fall during Extended Orientation. Developing critical thinking and metacognition and a focus on facilitating high-level information literacy skills are foremost in course-specific research instruction sessions, which are available by appointment with the divisional librarian liaison. Reference librarians also provide one-on-one research consultation with students and faculty during staffed hours at the reference desk, via chat service, or by appointment.

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 analytical 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 opened a major addition to the building, certified with the environmental designation LEED gold, in 2010. Young Hall houses the behavioral neuroscience, biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, and psychology programs, as well as the synthetic (organic and inorganic) chemists. Outstanding examples of dinosaur fossils and unusual minerals are on display throughout the building.

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

Sutcliffe now includes three gyms, a workout facility with free-weight and exercise machines, athletic offices, the Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Hall of Fame Café featuring Starbucks/Sandella’s Flatbread Café.

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 Center for Global Citizenship and the Center for Career and Professional Development. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Campus Center

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot Campus Center opened in the fall of 2009. The Campus Center includes the student life office as well as space for student organizations and meetings, fireplaces, and a game area. It also includes two dining facilities: Cowan Dining Commons (the main dining hall) and the Everyday Café (grill/snack bar). It is certified with the environmental designation LEED silver.

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 high-speed Internet connections. Pearl Hall, certified LEED gold, opened in 2008. Brockman Residential Commons, certified LEED silver, opened in 2012.

Centre Life

Centre offers outstanding opportunities for a well-rounded life outside the classroom. 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 85 campus clubs, societies, teams, and other groups. These student groups focus on a variety of special interests and include such organizations as the Badminton Club, Diversity Student Union, and CARE (Centre Action Reaches Everyone). Residence halls, fraternities, and sororities organize many formal and informal events. The College sponsors 23 intercollegiate varsity sports that provide entertainment for participants and spectators alike, as does our active intramural program. Six national men's fraternities (Beta Theta Pi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Sigma Chi) and five national women's sororities (Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta 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 special events such as Greek Week.

Service opportunities can be found through the After School Program, which hosts an afternoon tutoring and social program for local children twice a week. CARE, another student service organization, supports such varied programs as blood drives, Christmas angel tree giving, Alternative Spring Break, and projects to assist residents of the Boyle County Senior Citizens Center. Centre is also affiliated with several national volunteer service organizations, including the Bonner Foundation and Alpha Phi Omega.

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-Health Society, the Economics Society, Society of Future Educators, 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 Student Government Association, Habitat for Humanity 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, Beta Beta Beta, Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Delta Epsilon, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Psi Chi (honoraries for students in Spanish, foreign languages, biology, history, economics, political science, and psychology, respectively), and Order of Omega and Gamma Sigma Alpha(Greek honorary/leadership societies).

Religious Life

Centre has always been dedicated to the development of the whole student. Since 1819, when the institution was founded by Presbyterian leaders, the College has recognized the importance of the full intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual development of its students. The religious programs on campus are a crucial component of the College's effort to achieve this goal. Centre’s Religious Life Office is maintained by the College chaplain, whose office is in Crounse 452. Ministers from local churches also maintain ties with the College. The Religious Life Office 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, service projects, dinners, and discussion groups, the Religious Life Office sponsors events such as the Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols, Lenten observances, Passover Seder, and Baccalaureate. The College's “Get Centred” worship service in the sanctuary of the Presbyterian Church each Sunday night is a highlight of the week for many students. Religious groups on campus include Baptist Campus Ministries, Centre Christian Fellowship, Centre Sangha, Jewish Student Organization, Meditation Centre, Muslim Student Association and Newman Club (Catholic) and Thinking About Faith. The Religious Life Office also sponsors CentrePeace, a campus peace and justice group, and CentreFaith, an interfaith dialogue group that also plans festivals and educational events from a variety of religious traditions. 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 groups with the largest representations on campus are Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal. In addition to these denominations, the following faiths were represented in a recent first-year class: Assembly of God, Buddhist, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Eastern Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Lutheran, Muslim, and Unitarian.

Student Publications

Students publish an online newspaper, The Cento, covering campus activities and opinions. 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's 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 student senators, and the executive committee. 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 six 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 and Sorority Advisors, North-American Interfraternity Conference, and Fraternity Executives Association. The Panhellenic Council regulates and coordinates the affairs and activities of the five social sororities on campus in conformity with the published campus regulations of the College. The Panhellenic Association subscribes to the National Panhellenic Conference guidelines as outlined in the Manual of Information. A special contract between the men’s and women’s Greek organizations and Centre is spelled out in the “Statement of Mutual Responsibility.”


Participation in athletics 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. Centre’s program offers competition options 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 with the faculty and staff members who participate in the program.

Intercollegiate Competition. Centre sponsors 23 intercollegiate teams, providing an opportunity for nearly 600 student-athletes annually to participate in college athletics. Centre is a member of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division III. SAA members in addition to Centre are Berry College (Mount Berry, Ga.), Birmingham Southern College (Birmingham, Ala.), Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.), Millsaps College (Jackson, Miss.), Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, Ga.), Rhodes College (Memphis, Tenn.), and the University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.). All SAA 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 on campus. (For exceptions, see the “College Regulations” section.) The main dining hall serves three meals Monday through Friday and two meals on Saturday and Sunday. All meal plans include Flex Dollars that can be used at the Everyday Café or the Hall of Fame Café.

Health Services

On-campus health services are available in the Parsons Student Health Center, on the first floor of Sutcliffe Hall across from the pool entrance. Parsons is a small health clinic which provides medical care on a walk-in basis for acute common illnesses and minor injuries. Parsons Student Health Center can also provide continuing maintenance of medication for routine chronic ailments. Parsons staff can find specialists in the community when needed for illnesses that require more extensive treatment than can be provided through the clinic. Parsons makes available certain routine medications at minimal expense in order to save students both time and money.