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1825 ok. 2000
A Brief History of
u_</ //j wtule //c two so /(</t<r aaUo^nedj
•^r. . -a;
College oi ; Louisiana
I \i kson. Louisiana- 1825-1845
Reverend Jeremiah Chamberlain
Lieutenant H.H. Gird
Reverend James Shannon
Reverend William D. Laeey
Clinton, Mississippi - 1841
Brandon Springs, Mississippi - 1841-1845
5. T. C. Thornton
6. William Winans (Pro-t
Centenary College of Louisiana
Jackson, Louisiana— 1846-1907
Judge D. O. Shamiek
fudge A. R. Longstreet
Reverend H. H. Rivers
Dr. Henry C. Thweatt
Dr. John C. Miller
W. H. Watkins
Dr. Charles G. Andrews
Dr. D. M. Rush
Dr. T A. S. Adams
Dr. George H. Wiley (Pro-tern)
Reverend W. L. C. Hunnieutt
Dr. C. W. Carter
Dr. I. W. Cooper
Dr. Henry Beach Carre
Reverend C. C. Miller
Centenary College of Louisiana
SHREVErORT, LOUISIANA - 1908-
William Lander Weber
Dr. Felix R. Hill
Dr. Robert H. Wynn
R. W. Bourne
Dr. R. E. Smith (Pro-tern)
Dr. George S. Sexton
Dr. W. Angie Smith (Pro-tern)
Dr. Pierce Cline
Dr. Joe J. Mickle
Dr. Jack S. Wilkes
Dr. John H. Allen
Dr. Donald A. Webb
Dr. Kenneth L. Schwab
The original brochure containing a brief pictorial history of Centenary College of Louisiana was prepared by Dr. Walter Lowrey of the Department of
History for the sesquicentennial celebration of Centenary College in 1975. The present brochure, prepared by Dr. Bentley Sloane, Trustee Historian,
for Centenary's 175th anniversary in the year 2000, is based on the work of Dr. Lowrey.
One Hundred Seventy-Five Years of Excellence
The above picture of the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana in Jackson features the great Center Building that was erected in 1 857 after the
Methodists of the Mississippi-Louisiana Conference purchased the property of the College of Louisiana in 1845.
Centenary College of Louisiana is the product
of the confluence of two streams of history at
Jackson, Louisiana in 1845, one state and the
other church. Soon after the purchase of the
Louisiana Territory from France by the United States
in 1803, the southern portion was declared to be the
"Territory of Orleans" with New Orleans the capital
and principal city. In 1804, President Jefferson named
William C.C. Claiborne as Governor of the Orleans
Territory, which included the present State of
Louisiana. His first priority was to establish a system
of public education for the territory, since France and
Spain, the previous owners, had authorized the
Roman Catholic Church to be the sole sponsor of
what little formal education there was in the Territory.
Therefore, in 1805, Claiborne founded the College of
Orleans and a system of parish (county) libraries. The
preamble of this legislation expresses fully his philoso-
phy of education at all levels:
Whereas the independence, happiness and grandeur
of every republic, depend under the influence of
Divine Providence, upon the wisdom, virtue, talents
and energies of its citizens and rulers; And whereas
learning has been found the ablest advocate of gen-
uine liberty, the best supporter of rational religion,
and the source of the only solid and imperishable
glory which nations can acquire, Therefore be it
enacted by the Governor of the Territory of
Orleans, That an University [later to be designated
as "College"] be, and is hereby, instituted within
However, this attempt to establish a permanent
college failed in 1824. In 1825 another attempt was
made in Jackson, Louisiana, that would appeal to
more students statewide, since Jackson was only a few
miles from the Mississippi River. It was named the
College of Louisiana.
Act or LeqMatu
Public town ^~-
The old Feliciana Courthouse was the first headquarters of the College
of Louisiana in 1825.
College of Louisiana,
1825 * 1845
The late Dr. Walter Lowrey, Professor of History at
Centenary from 1963-1980, provides a summary of the
history of the College of Louisiana:
The Board [of Trustees] at Jackson on May 2,
1825, fell heir to the Feliciana Parish Courthouse,
no longer needed for governmental purposes,
rented buildings for student housing to supplement
the courthouse space, and hired a president and a
faculty. The College soon constructed several
frame buildings to replace the unsuitable
courthouse quarters, and later moved to a
permanent campus nearby.
Wrangling among the faculty, disputes between
Board and President, a dearth of students,
misapplication of funds, and inconsistent state
policies kept the College in turmoil during the
twenty years it operated as a state institution.
No more than 80 students ever enrolled at one
time, and most of these were preparatory students.
The rigorous academic requirements for entrance
simply could not he met by
any sizable number oj
Louisianians, and the
College had to prepare Us
own freshman class.
Discouraged by the appar-
ent failure oj the College
despile what it considered
generous slate appropriations,
the Legislature in Act 74,
1845, authorized the closing
of the institution, the public
auction of its properties, and
the annulling of its charter.
About the only permanent
legacy of the state years was a
beautiful brick building
which still stands today.
The first president of the new college was the
Reverend J.C. Chamherlin, a Presbyterian minister
from Centre College in Kentucky. He was required to
teach juniors and seniors in the college department, so
he was considered a member of the faculty. Other
faculty members in 1826 were Peter Dubaille, Greek
and Latin; Diego Morphy, French and Spanish; and a
Mr. Lane of Ouachita, Tutor and Principal of the
Preparatory Department, which usually had a larger
enrollment than the regular college.
In 1829 Thomas Russell Ingalls was added to the fac-
ulty as Professor of Chemistry and Natural History, and
the Reverend James Ronaldson was named Chaplain.
In 1836 William Carpenter, M.D., was added to the
faculty as Professor of Chemistry, Geology, and
Natural History. Dr. Carpenter resigned to join the
faculty of Tulane University in
1843 and had a distinguished
career as a medical doctor in
Dr. William Marbury Carpenter attended
the College of Louisiana, was professor
of natural history there from 1837 to
1843, and later professor of materia
medica at the University of Louisiana.
The first two major student organizations on the
College of Louisiana campus appeared in the 1840s as
two literary societies. The Union Literary Society was
organized in 1842, and the Franklin Institute in 1843.
Their main function was to provide experience in
oratory and debate, social life and rivalry (between the
two). Each had its own room and library in the great
Center Building. At commencement time each had a
special day with prominent speakers and special
programs. The intense rivalry between the two in
debate and oratory predated intra-mural athletic
teams. Legend suggests that, during the Civil War
when the Federal Forces captured Jackson, they left
undamaged the room ot the Union Literary Society
because of the large "Union" sign above the door.
In 1859, Greek Letter Fraternities arrived on
campus, but the Trustees ot the College did not
encourage them because ot their rivalry with the
established Literary Societies. When Centenary
College ot Louisiana moved to Shreveport, fraternities
and sororities were organized in the 1920s and
I^Msy i m i . j «*
The Franklin Institute debaters of 1882. Standing, C.C. Miller (later
President of Centenary), and Charles McDonald. Seated, B.J. Jones and
Tuestfay, fiflay 31st, 1887.
The Union Literary Society debaters of 1882. Standing, S.J. Davies and
M.A. Bell. Seated, James H. Fore and C.F. Smith.
In 1839 the Mississippi
Conference oi the Methodist
Episcopal Church, which included
the State oi 1 ouisiana, joined
otlu-r Methodist Conferences in
America in celebrating the
centennial of Methodism. The
Reverend John Wesley, an Oxford
University graduate and priest in the
Church of England, had a spiritual awak-
ening in 1738 while attending a meeting oi
laymen in one of the numerous Anglican j Q u n
Societies in London designed for Bible study and
prayer. On that occasion he "felt his heart strangely
warmed" and his preaching assumed a new dimension
of spiritual enthusiasm, not altogether approved by the
Anglican Bishops. In 1739 he joined the Reverend
George Whitefield, another clergy friend from his
Oxford days, and began to preach to the poor, unedu-
cated and unchurched masses in outdoor settings
throughout England and Ireland. The response was
spectacular. Since the new converts were not prepared
tor membership in the Church of England, John
Wesley organized them into Methodist Societies for
Bible study and prayer. Wesley adopted the name
"Methodist," which he learned while in Oxford
University. He and a group of students had organized
themselves into a well ordered group for Bible study,
prayer, church attendance, and social services to the
poor of the community. Other students dubbed them
"Methodists" because of their methodical way of living
and serving. His younger brother Charles was a leader
in the group. He later joined John in his evangelistic
campaigns and became the hymn writer for the
John Wesley as an Educator
John Wesley was not only a successful evangelistic
preacher, he was also an educator of the first order.
As he selected laymen to preside over the Methodist
Societies, it was necessary for him to provide them
th the rudiments of education and also
to provide the Societies with simple
libraries. He was responsible for
^71 publications, including 50
volumes of a Christian library,
and commentaries on the Bible
for his lay preachers and their
Societies. In 1739 he took over
the Kingswood School founded
by George Whitefield and
developed a college with much of
the curriculum selected or written
by himself. On the occasion of its
opening ceremony, his brother Charles
Wesley wrote a special hymn containing the famous
lines that became Methodism's basic philosophy
of education: "Let us unite trie two so long disjoined,
knowledge and vital piety."
Organize a Church
Many of the Methodists from England and Ireland
settled in America in the latter part of the 18th
Century and with their local preachers they developed
Methodist Societies along the eastern seaboard.
Wesley sent several of his best lay preachers to help
them including Francis Asbury who became the general
superintendent of American Methodism. After the
Revolutionary War, the Methodist Societies grew rapidly,
and in 1784 the Methodist preachers organized an
American Methodist Episcopal Church. Because John
Wesley never intended for the Methodist Societies to
leave the Church of England, he objected to this move
of the American Methodists. However, the American
Methodists followed his guidelines in matters of
theology, organization and the Sunday services.
Under the leadership of Francis Asbury, who was
elected as Bishop, the Methodist Societies moved
south and west, and continued to grow in member-
ship. They organized new conferences and districts
throughout the nation. In 1799 Tobias Gibson, a
missionary circuit rider was sent to the Natchez area
where he developed several circuits of Methodist
(Left to right) Reverend Benjamin M. Drake, Judge Edward McGehee, and William Winans were key figures
in the founding of Centenary College in the Methodist Mississippi Conference and in its subsequent history.
Societies. In 1813 the General Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church organized a Mississippi
Conference with Louisiana as a district in that
In 1818 the Mississippi Conference founded a
female academy. The buildings and "rounds were
donated by Miss Elizabeth Roach and the new institu-
tion was named Elizabeth Female Academy. This
inspired a group of pastors to attempt to organize a
full college for men. Led by B.M. Drake, William
Winans and John Lane, this group persuaded the
Conference to organize a Centenary College in 1839
as its way of celebrating the centennial of Methodism.
Organized in 1839
Centenary College was founded in 1839 in Clinton,
Mississippi where it occupied the buildings of a
defunct Mississippi College. However, the state failed
to transfer Mississippi College's charter to Centenary,
so the Conference moved Centenary to Brandon
Springs after purchasing the land and buildings of a
failed "Watering Place." The first Board of Trustees for
the new college was elected by the Conference in 1840,
and consisted of Chairman John Lane, B.M. Drake,
Preston Cooper, H.H. Johnson, I.M. Taylor, Thomas
Gwen, W.H.N. Magruder, John Ford, C.K. Marshall,
CM. Rogers, James P. Thomas, and D.S. Goodloe.
The first faculty of Centenary College consisted of
President T.C. Thornton, a clergyman; Professor of
Mathematics J. B. Dodd; Professor of Ancient
Languages H. Futwiller; Professor of Modern
Languages W.H.N. Magruder; Professor of Natural
Science James B. Thornton; Steward of the College
Gabriel Felcler; and Superintendent of the Preparatory
Department Holden Dwight.
When the College opened in Brandon Springs, the
Board of Trustees, in a burst of optimism for the
future, organized a law school and a school of medi-
cine with one faculty member each: D. O. Shattuck in
law, and J. B.C. Thornton in medicine. Each was
allowed to practice his profession in addition to his
duties as faculty member. However, after four years of
operation and only 12 graduates, Centenary College
was ready to seek a more favorable location. The
Mississippi Conference in 1845 then decided to
purchase the property of the College of Louisiana at
Jackson, which was for sale. Jackson was only a
short distance from the southern border of
Mississippi, and at the time
Louisiana was pan oi the
|udge E, 1 . McGehee, a
prominenl layman from
Woodville, Mississippi, was
dispatched to Jackson, where
he negotiated the purchase oi
the College of Louisiana's
land and buildings for
$ 10,000, with a down
payment of $166.66. No
subsequent payment was ever
made, and a tew years later
the state oi Louisiana
canceled the debt. The two merged colleges then took
the name of "Centenary College of Louisiana."
In addition to Judge E. L. McGehee, two other
Methodist names are prominent in Centenary's early
history. Benjamin Drake, who for several years pressed
the Conference to organize a full four-year college, is
generally regarded as the founder of Centenary College.
He served on the first Board of Trustees of the College
and his descendants have been active leaders in the
affairs of the college.
The Reverend William Winans was chairman of the
Centenary College Board of Trustees for many years
and for one year served as president pro tern. He was
one of the Methodists' outstanding preachers for a
long period in the 1800s.
Centenary College of
The merger of the two colleges proved to be propi-
tious and after the election of the Reverend R.H.
Rivers in 1849 as president, Centenary College of
Louisiana entered a period of growth and prosperity.
In addition to the president, there were five full-time
faculty members, a principal of the Preparatory
Department, and two tutors. The president's salary
was $2500, and the faculty's salaries averaged $1500.
William Winans was chairman of the Board of Trustees
Photograph of the lost cornerstone
and Board of Visitors. By
L850, there were over 250
students and 1 5 graduates.
In L852, a professor of
music, who was to develop a
band and choral groups in
the college and the Jackson
community, was added to
The faculty met at least
once a week and much of the
time was spent in penalizing students for infractions of
the college rules and regulations. The following such
infraction was recorded in the minutes of 1854: "Mr.
John Keller was reported for getting drunk and molest-
ing citizens of Jackson and using indecent language."
These infractions by students from year to year
included fighting, striking faculty members, stealing
the college bell and placing it in a cistern, painting
faculty horses, throwing hard biscuits in the dining
room, and putting the President's buggy in the creek
(one night with him in it!). Many of these infractions,
though, especially by the Academy students, were
regarded as pranks and escapades of students away
from home with little opportunity for recreation and
A Full Week of
During the halcyon days of the 1850s prior to the
Civil War, Centenary College of Louisiana brought
excitement and thousands of visitors to the town of
Jackson each year during commencement, which
covered a full week. Crowds from both Louisiana and
Mississippi usually included both governors. Speeches
were delivered day and night by visiting dignitaries,
interspersed by music from the college band and
orchestra as well as a ladies chorus from Jackson. The
two literary societies had special days for their various
presentations. In 1852, Charles Gayarre, the famous
politician and historian, received an honorary Master':
Decree, and his impromptu response lasted one hour.
A record was set in 1854 by Professor J.C. Miller,
whose baccalaureate address lasted six hours! All of
these events each year gave wide publicity to
Centenary College of Louisiana.
Great Center Building, 1857
In 1857 the trustees erected the great Center
Building with an auditorium seating two thousand
and containing rooms for a full program of activities.
The 1859 college catalogue gives this description of
"It was an imposing building 60 by 90 feet costmg
$60,000. In addition to the large chapel marked
off by two rows oj interior columns it has two
large Literary Halls, a chapel for prayer, eight
commodious Recitation Rooms, one Library Room,
a Cabinet Room, separate rooms for chemical and
philosophical apparatus, an office and other rooms
for other purposes. In magnitude and architectural
beauty it is a monument to Southern liberality
and Southern taste."
The Civil War in 1861 brought a temporary halt to
the prosperity and growth of Centenary College oi
Louisiana. On October 7, 1861, the faculty met. The
last page of the minutes had this entry by secretary
order of i:\kiu m>.
- £ ■
T %L A Y £ R ,
m I \ I
r tBTM y
. - Ml . . , ■
RgPeBUCAXtitM ' I ■
i k i nam, t* u,
... ■ • if
t rn.i~r.~rc v ;.r 7 fit; ::rrrj:;.ir >>f 1.1. ;•
\ m "" v ' 'II I
0RDEB OF EXERCISES.
• :lt < i:i-
Ul * ■ «>u no*.
■ . • .
8 K ALL SLAVES.
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This program for the Commencement exerdses on July 30, 1856, is typical of the ceremonies at Jackson. The College band, orchestra and chorus inter-
spersed occasional numbers to break the lengthy parade of addresses. The crowds wildly applauded these events.
A.R. Holcombe: "Students haw all gone to war.
College suspended, and God help the right."
The Civil War
and its Aftermath
In 1861 the end of an era had come for Centenary
College of Louisiana after 36 years of existence. The
20 L ) graduates to that date included 70 lawyers, 27
medical doctors, 33 planters, 7 teachers, and 13
After the Civil War ended in 1865, Louisiana faced
a long period of reconstruction, economic ruin, and
social and political turmoil. Federal troops were in
complete control until 1877, when they were removed.
Centenary College of Louisiana re-opened in
October 1865, under President J. H. Miller and three
faculty members. There was a debt of $23,360 for back
salaries of the faculty and a past due debt on the main
building. The Board of Trustees met again in March
1866, and elected the Reverend W.H. Watkins
President of the College and the Reverend J.C. Keener
as chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Reverend
Mr. Keener then devoted the rest of his life to promot-
ing Centenary College of Louisiana by traveling
Great Center Building built by Methodists, 1850
GKYI'KWm COId-KCK 01' MM I8HN1
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]<■■; nod tr f.-rr.-.l u> Uw Method
-i Bpiacopal •'!. ireli >.-i'l. 'I-:. 1
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moil niter reorgnuinli 1
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nowioii »ill open »" Urn tir.i Honda)
,1 b ■' next
n, $T"i |" i iiiiiiiui, pav.il>'. *■ ntf .ir
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2l.U„:-i\>Z.'\ V ,''.~ 1,
<i..r> nudge nit) I!,i!l- lh« l.„.,i..
mas,} bi ,-i ■ ■ 1 «ri -■
, . . • .,-. „:i „,,..■„,..,.... I bj Qm
i(|i.n in lli. S.'ii'l..-ru >:.ii--.
[Mill 111-;- ii V nl tin ('..live.- u :1... (,!,■
Igt- of it* futiiri- prosperity
e tliui nothing sh ill be « mlinj
Ihcl iugh doe* r the yoi
ig men oomraiu. Ii lh .... ...
.in l • > Hi igittte Departments.
ul 1 .Mi.l.iji. Jun ■; and fin ii.l* nt
the Institution, u:.- rCCjQASted li, i;,,
bi i i.l aorganixatioii «nd opening o
ii,.. College, a» stated above
. Lt, iugurt ■.:!. 1866
\VM 11 WATKINS.
Centenary College was closed during the Civil War, and the campus
was occupied by Northern troops during the latter days of the War.
When the College re-opened its doors again, the above notice was sent
to prospective students.
around the state in horse
and buggy raising funds
and soliciting students
until his death in 1906.
In 1870, the Methodist
Church recognized his
leadership and service by
electing him Bishop.
Although by that time
the college was declining
for lack of funds and stu-
dents, it continued to do
Bishop J.C. Keener from 1866 unfil
his death in 1906 made Centenary
College his prime concern.
College Moved to
Shreveport in 1906
During the last years of the 19th Century, the
Methodist Conference began to consider moving the
college to a more suitable location. In 1903 citizens of
Shreveport made an offer of land and money to the
Board of Trustees to move the college to Shreveport.
Mr. J.B. Atkins, a prominent Methodist and head of
the Rutherford-Atkins Realty
Company donated 40 acres of
land tor a campus and arranged
for a voluntary ten-year citizen tax
to support the college. After sever-
al years of discussion and debate,
the college was moved from
Jackson, which was strongly
opposed by Chairman Bishop
Keener, most of the Board of
Trustees, and the citizens of
Jackson. In 1906, the Louisiana
Conference created a new board
of trustees. The Reverend W.E.
Boggs, pastor of Shreveport's First
Methodist Church, was named
Agent for the college by the
Louisiana Conference until it
opened in Shreveport in 1908.
In 1907, a four-story brick building, later to be
called Jackson Hall, was erected, costing $30,000.
For several years the entire operation of the college
and the academy was carried on in this one "Noah's
Ark" building, including classes, dormitories, assembly
hall, the kitchen and dining room, a library, and busi-
The college opened in Shreveport in 1908, with an
enrollment of 69 (most of these were in the
Preparatory Department, or Academy), a faculty of
four, including President William Lander Weber, and
two instructors in the Academy.
The first catalogue in 1908 reflects an interesting
perspective about the new college. There were two
general courses or academic tracks, one Classical and
the other Scientific. The course offerings included
Bible, history, mathematics, chemistry, economics,
physics, biology, astronomy, philosophy and psychology.
The catalogue also listed the following regulations
for the students' moral life:
• No use of intoxicating liquors
• No cigarette smoking
• No tobacco in any form in any college building
• No gambling
• No hazing
■ iil i s
i3 ' Oil!
3L IS ..I I KAMI!
Jackson Hall, the first building on the Shreveport campus, was com-
pleted in 1907, an imposing four story structure that still stands today
after several renovations.
Moving the dining hall and kitchen to a wooden building made available
much needed space for classes and dormitory rooms in the rapidly deterio-
rating Jackson Hall. The dining hall was attached to Jackson Hall in 1 922.
The Early Years in Shreveport
Despite great hopes for a new beginning, the first
thirteen years in Shreveport found Centenary College
of Louisiana again struggling tor its existence. The first
faculty consisted ofW.L Weber, President; W.B.
Beckwith, Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy;
James Hinton, Professor of Latin and Greek; Milo
Jones, Professor of Natural Science and Modern
Languages, two instructors in the Academy as well as a
recruiter for students. In 1910, Dr. Weber became ill
and was replaced by the Reverend Felix Hill. After a
brief term, President Hill was followed by the Reverend
R.H. Wynn, who brought some progress to the college.
President Wynn resigned in 1918, leaving the college
in a slightly improved condition though the College
and Academy enrollment had risen to only 80.
23 ll B
Hi ii :
The first Chapel and Gymnasium.
A Strong Board of Trustees
During these early years of struggle in Shreveport
the college had a strong Board of Trustees. P.M.
Welsh was the first chairman in the Shreveport loca-
tion. The board continued to raise funds for the strug-
gling college and made several overtures to the
Methodist Louisiana Conference to launch a campaign
to finance new buildings and increase the endowment.
However, in 1917 the trustees launched a Shreveport
campaign which brought $55,000 for the endowment.
Centenary's first stadium was located near Centenary Boulevard. The
watery area was a baseball diamond. The new chapel, almost completed
is at left and a corner of Jackson Hall is visible at the far right.
Colonial Hall, built in the 1920s expansion program, was first known as
the College Building. It became a women's dormitory, and was located
on the site where James Residence Hall now stands.
— 10 ~
In 1918 a new presi-
dent, H.W. Bourne,
was elected and imme-
diately began the
process of moving
Centenary to an "A
grade" college, and a
building program was
begun with the help of
H. W. Bourne the trustees and a bank
loan of $100,000. The
first new building was a wooden, two-story structure
with columns across the front. The next new building
was a combination gymnasium and chapel. Since an
"A grade" college required the separation of the col-
lege from the academy, two frame buildings were erect-
ed near the southeast corner of the campus to house
The promising presidency of H.W. Bourne was
short-lived when the Methodist General Board of
Education called on him in November 1920 to lead a
fund-raising campaign for its schools and colleges.
Perhaps the most lasting legacy brought by President
Bourne was the creation of the Department of Religion
with Dr. R.E. Smith as
the first chairman.
After the resigna-
tion of President
Bourne, the trustees
turned to Dr. George
S. Sexton, pastor the
First Methodist Church in Shreveport, to save the
College. Dr. Sexton was a successful fundraiser, hac
built several church buildings, and had recently
Dr. George S. Sexton
worked with the Methodist General Conference to
build a "representative" Methodist Church in
Washington, D.C. In order to persuade him to take
the presidency, a group of trustees met in January of
1921 and personally pledged $315,000 to the strug-
gling college. This group was composed of E.A. Frost,
FT. Whited, George
Prestridge, J.C. Foster,
T.C. Clanton, John L.
Scales, R.T. Moore,
A.J. Peavy, J.B. Atkins,
and W.K. Henderson.
The last named was
not a member of the
Board of Trustees but
was a wealthy citizen of
in the college. Their
action persuaded Dr.
Sexton to accept the
position in 1921. At
this time, the enroll-
ment of the college
and the academy was
only 43. With the help of the Board of Trustees and
prominent Shreveport citizens, his first move was to
organize a football team under the coaching of the
highly successful Alvin "Bo" McMillin of Centre
College, Danville Kentucky. Shreveport businessmen
provided a salary of $8,000 to attract the new coach.
The President's salary was only $6,000 plus housing at
the time. The famous football team produced by
McMillin gave Centenary nation-wide publicity and
brought students from all across the country. In 1925,
student enrollment had risen to 637.
During the Sexton years, a building boom included
several wooden structures, a two-story brick
administration building, and with the help ot the
Shreveport Rotary Club, another brick dormitory for
men. The building program was financed by several
fund-raising campaigns, a bond issue of $300,000,
help from the Louisiana Methodist Conference, and
numerous bank loans.
Under President Sexton, the faculty was enlarged,
Alvin "Bo" McMillin brought nation-
wide publicity and students from all
across the country to Centenary with
the College's football team.
the twoliteran societies were re-established,
and fraternities organized. 1 he entire range
i>i studeni activities was also greatly enlarged.
A. Centenary renaissance was at hand.
rhe year 1925 marked the 100th anniver-
sary oi Centenary, an event celebrated with
special programs and a financial campaign —
the first in the 20th Century.
Basketball team and coach Homer Norton in the early 1920s.
Centenary College summer school participants near Mena, Ark.
A Summer School and
Football Camp in the Ozarks
In 1922, Dr. Sexton was the recipient of a tract of
land on Rich Mountain near Mena, Arkansas, and
forthwith organized a summer school at that location.
Since the famous coach Bo McMillin was gathering a
football team for the College, he and the new team
had a football camp in connection with the Centenary
summer school. The above picture shows the summer
school and football team at Camp Standing Rock near
Mena. President Sexton is seated on the right front row,
Dean R.E. Smith is seated on the left front row, and
Coach Bo McMillin is standing just behind Dean Smith.
In 1940, Ernest Rolston, head of the School of
Music, prepared to open a summer school of music for
Centenary College at this location in the Ozarks, but
World War II ended his plans.
■is ifn l?
New Administration Building - 1924, now the Meadows Museum
President Cline, Bishop Dobbs and George Sexton
Depression Years, 1929 - 1939
The great economic depression of 1929 - 1939
brought another crisis to Centenary College as
income dwindled and students found it difficult to
attend college. Some paid their tuition with bales of
cotton and garden commodities accepted by
Centenary. The faithful faculty suffered again with
salary cuts and payments with script money planned
by the economic department.
After the death of President Sexton the trustees
turned to Dr. Angie Smith, pastor of Shreveport's First
Methodist Church, who served as acting president for
one year. During his brief tenure, he secured the elec-
tion of a faculty member, Dr. Pierce Cline, as the new
college president, and persuaded Paul Brown, Jr., to
lead a trustee committee to save the college from bank-
ruptcy. Paul Brown, Jr., was the son of a famous
whose family had been
supporters of Centenary
College for many years.
Paul, Jr., was at the time
a successful business-
man of Shreveport, and
a graduate and former
teacher at Centenary.
For several years he
worked closely with the
president, faculty and
trustee chairman to
restructure the college and make it a viable educatio
al institution. Later he was elected chairman of the
College Board of Trustees and devoted the rest of hi
life to the interests of his alma mater.
Paul M. Brown, Jr.
The Presidency of
Dr. Pierce Cline
Dr. Pierce Cline assumed the presidency of
Centenary College in 1933, and made enhanced aca-
demics and an increased endowment among his top
priorities. Also in 1933,
Bishop Hoyt M. Dobbs was
elected chairman of the Board
of Trustees, the second
Methodist Bishop to hold this
position. With these three
leaders, the college not only
survived the depression, but it
moved on to greater achieve-
ments soon thereafter.
Despite the Depression
years, the Haynes Gymnasium
was added to the campus in
1936-37, the gift of Mr. Arch
Haynes, a strong believer in
Centenary's athletic program.
The cost of the building, the
largest on campus to that date,
Centenary and World War II
World War II brought two significant changes to
Centenary College of Louisiana. First, there was an
influx of students from the air base, Barksdale Field,
and at one time the student body totaled 1400. This
increased student body called for more changes, and
the college acquired the campus of the recently closed
Dodd College. The government provided housing for
veterans at Centenary, Vets Villa, south of Kings
Highway, and also ptovided several warehouses on the
campus as well as other surplus materials. Later,
Centenary acquired loans from the government at low
interest rates for its post-war building program.
Dr. R.E. Smith, Bible professor
J papain vtmv ■mii» aiMEf-'*™' «=»»™r nni
HI vmt ifirfei % ' ■»
AAickle Hall under construction
Post War Building Era,
In 1945, Dr. Joe J. Mickle, a Methodist lay mission-
ary, was elected president of Centenary College and
served until 1964, the longest term of any president to
that date. He and Paul M. Brown, Jr., chairman of the
Board of Trustees, transformed the campus into a
modern facility with new buildings and beautiful land-
scapes. In the process, they turned the campus around,
facing it eastward toward the newly opened Woodlawn
Street. During the Mickle and Paul Brown, Jr., era, 13
new buildings were added, costing approximately $5
million. Among them were Magale Library, Brown
Chapel, Hurley School of Music, R.E. Smith Religious
Center Building, Cline Hall for Men, and Mickle Hall
of Science. Two financial campaigns to fund the build-
ing program and to increase the endowment were
completed during this building era.
This was not only a building era but also was a time
when the academic program was improved with a larg-
er faculty and improved salaries. Dr. and Mrs. Mickle
were especially active in civic affairs as well as in the
life of the College.
Dr. and Mrs. Joe J. Mickle brought wide publicity to a developing
~ 15 «.
Above: Four interior columns of the main building on the
Centenary Jackson campus were brought to the Shreveport
campus in the 1940s and placed on display. Students gave
them names based on the major points of a chapel address by
President Pierce Cline: Integrity, Sobriety, and Dependability.
The fourth column was named Oscar. They were blown down
later by a severe wind storm; some person or persons carried
them away; and, like the 1825 cornerstone, they were never
recovered. A short piece of one of the columns may be seen in
the Peters Archives Building. These classic columns, surround-
ing the interior of the auditorium of the center building in
Jackson, give some indication of the grandeur of this great
building completed in 185/.
Right: A full trunk of records from the Jackson campus was
brought to Shreveport in 1940.
Above: A close-up view of the Hurley School of Music Building, which is
scheduled to be port of a future arts complex located on the northeast
corner of the campus.
Below: 1960s view of Moore Student Union Building.
Above: Brown Memorial Chapel was
erected in 1955 by Paul M. Brown, Jr.
and his brother Perry Brown, in honor
of their parents, Reverend and Mrs. Paul
M. Brown. A brochure prepared for the
dedication of the chapel contains these
words: "This Chapel, with its towering
walls, spacious aisles and beautiful
woodwork, is more than a place of
beauty: It is the House of God. The
steeple, raising the cross above all else
on the campus, over a hundred feet
from the ground, should be a constant
reminder to the faculty, students and
campus visitors that the foundation
upon which this College stands is a
spiritual foundation and that the spirit
of the Great Teacher himself should ever
permeate this campus."
An aerial view of the Centenary Campus in the 1960s showing, from left to right, Brown Memorial Chapel, Mickle Hall of Science, Magale Library,
Hurley School of Music, and Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. The beautiful wooded area is shown in the rear.
The Atkins Memorial entrance from Centenary Boulevard.
Famous book walk for new Library
The 'Sixties and Civil Rights
During the presidency ot Dr. Jack Wilkes, 1964-69, a
Methodist minister and former president of Oklahoma
City University, Centenary College adopted a policy of
admitting all students on a non-discriminatory basis at
a time when the public institutions of Louisiana were
still racially segregated. This action exemplified
courage, integrity, and leadership by the faculty,
administration, and trustees of the College.
In 1965 Paul Brown, Jr., resigned as chairman of
the Board of Trustees having served a term of 25
critical years, and George D. Nelson, a prominent
Shreveport businessman, was elected to follow him.
President Wilkes resigned in 1969, and a new
president, Dr. John Horton Allen, arrived in 1970.
One year later two major buildings were added— a new
administration building, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. D.P.
Hamilton, and a major athletic complex south of
Kings Highway, the Gold Dome. These two new
buildings cost approximately $2,000,000.
In 1975, the college
tion began with Shreveport
newspapers featuring a
long history of the college.
Dr. Walter Lowrey of the
y coLLPG e or t Q
History Department prepared a special
pictorial brochure of the historical high-
lights of Centenary. Charter Day was
observed February 14, and for the next
several weeks special speakers were fea-
tured, including Governor Edwin
Edwards and several Methodist bishops.
The commencement program in June
included diplomas in Latin. As usual in
most Centenary celebrations, a fund-
raising campaign was launched to
increase the endowment. One year later,
$2,400,000 had been contributed. Two
new endowed chairs were announced,
and master's degrees in education and
business administration were announced. The Frost
School of Business was funded by Trustee Edwin
Whited and the Frost Foundation.
Dr. Donald Webb, a
Methodist minister from
England, who received
his theological education
in Methodist seminaries
in America, was
from 1977 to 1991. His
first project was to balance the ailing budget, and he
enlisted the help of the Louisiana Methodist
Conference, which raised $450,000 for the 1978
budget of $3,147,337. It was thus balanced for the first
time in many years. The new president had the
support of the Board of Trustees for a three-point
"Operation Triad," which included the following goals:
an endowment of $20 million, a student body of
1,100, and a permanently balanced budget.
In 1986 under Webb's leadership and with the
motto "Upstream," the Board of Trustees developed a
"Five-Year Strategic Plan" to be financed by another
Dr. Donald Webb
— 19 —
fund-raising campaign called "Fulfill the Vision," look-
in- toward the year 2000. 1 he general goal was
$1 $.000,000, and the campaign divided as follows:
1 he trustees, Faculty Staff, Foundations, The
Methodist Conference and Local Churches,
Shreveporl Bossier City, and a general Alumni
Campaign. Excitement was high when the Trustees
exceeded their goal with a total of $8,810,965 with
Sam Peters as the leader. The other phases of the
campaign were equally successful, and the Hoard of
Trustees meeting March 14, 1991, reported that the
Fulfill the Vision Campaign raised a total of
$16,155,000. Two new buildings were constructed,
the Sam Peters Building housing the College and the
Louisiana Methodist Archives, and a Music Lihrary
attached to the Hurley School of Music.
Reflecting Centenary's national acceptance and
recognition, eighteen new scholarships were endowed
1991 to Present
In May 1991, Dr. Kenneth L. Schwab was elected
the 34th president of Centenary College of Louisiana.
During his first year he thoroughly studied the College
and visited the districts of the Methodist Louisiana
Conference and several cities beyond Louisiana where
there were concentrations of Centenary alumni.
He also worked closely with the Board of Trustees,
the faculty, and other administrative officers and
Chairman George D. Nelson and new President Kenneth L Schwab.
Rendering of Centenary's wellness center and natatorium featuring
Centenary's first swimming pool.
established an Institutional Planning Committee,
which outlined goals and plans looking forward to the
year 2000, when the college would celebrate its 175th
anniversary. This committee was composed of trustees,
students, faculty, and administrators, thus involving the
entire campus community. The planning document
also considered goals and plans prepared by the
previous administration. There were nine general goals:
1. a strong faculty
2. a student body including students from foreign
3. a plan to involve students with three major
experiences beyond the classroom: other cultures,
service projects in the community, and extensive
4- a program of leadership development for students
5. a wellness center on the campus
6. more faculty and student research
7. renovation of facilities
8. more scholarships
9. a larger endowment
These general goals have been periodically refined
and have now been implemented.
President Schwab's first annual report ended with
these words: "We have talented students and a great
faculty. We have dedicated trustees. We have the
Methodist Church and thousands of friends who
want us to succeed. Our goals for the year 2000 are
lofty and will require immense effort. But they are
attainable. We must never forget our motto:
"Labor Omnia Vindt."
New Campus Plans, Building
Renovation Adopted, 1993
By mid-year of 1993, the firm of Dober, Lindsky
and Company of Boston was selected to draw up a
master plan for campus and building renovation as
part oi a general strategic plan leading up to the year
2000. The Board of Trustees meeting on December 9,
1993, adopted the campus master plan in principle.
The basic components of the plan included: enlarging
the campus by moving eastward, taking in Woodlawn
Street and lots beyond; repaving all parking lots and
establishing new ones; creating an arts complex in the
northeast corner oi the campus in the area of the
Hurley School of Music and the Marjorie Lyons
Playhouse; and rebuilding the Moore Student Center
and the Rotary Residence Hall. Mickle Hall of Science
Rendering of the proposed renovations for the Moore Student Center.
was to be renovated and enlarged. The centerpiece of
the plan was a wellness center and natatorium encom-
passing the Haynes Gymnasium and surrounding area.
Several departments would be moved to other build-
ings, and the College and Methodist Archives would
be moved to the Magale Library.
1996: A Year of Progress
In 1996 Rotary Hall was rebuilt as a coed residence
hall with three floors of apartment-style suites and an
attic containing studio apartments. The ground floor
contained an entrance lobby, apartments, and general
Renovated Rotary Halt is now Rotary Suites with apartment-style suites.
purpose rooms, and the eastern front of the building
was attractively land-
scaped. The total
project cost $2.4
million using funds
from a new bond
issue of $7 million ...
to complete the
In 1996 a Peavy
Memorial Climbing \ • $
Tower was erected
north of Haynes
entire campus was
new campus gardens
Peavy Climbing Tower
and memorial trees were planted, and campus security
was upgraded with additional personnel.
In a special report covering
the years 1998-99, Centenary
College was again ranked by U.S.
Nevus and World Report as the best
college value in the South. Also
Barron's Best Buys in College
© Morgan Hill Sutton & Mitchell / Architects, L.L.C.
i\j/.*m* flessaM^f cnenaiw \
Architectural rendering for the proposed arts complex on the northeast corner of the campus.
Education listed Centenary among 300 colleges in the
U.S. giving students and parents the best value tor
their "education dollar" as a result of an outstanding
faculty and personal attention to students.
In 1998, the college's Department of Education
moved to a recently purchased building on the corner
of Kings Highway and Woodlawn as part of the
campus expansion program.
Among faculty members cited for special honors
were recipients of the Outstanding Teacher award,
who included the following during the 1990s: Dr. Sam
Shepherd, Dr. Austin Sartin, Dr. Dana Kress, Dr.
Elizabeth Rankin, Dr. Gale Odom, Dr. Rodney
Grimes, Mr. Ron Dean, and Dr. George Newtown.
Abo, Dr. Austin Sartin (1992) of the Geology
Department and Dr. Dana Kress (1999) of the French
Department were selected as the Louisiana Professors
of the Year.
In 1999, among the new faculty appointments were
the Reverend Jack O'Dell, director of the Church
Careers program and college chaplain, and Dr. Earl
Fleck, provost and dean of the college.
Local news reporter interviews Kevin Johnson when he was named men's
head basketball coach in 1999.
A Vision for the Future:
The Campaign for Centenary
The last major thrust in 1999 — preparing tor the
year 2000 and Centenary's 175th anniversary — was
outlined in a publication entitled A Vision for the
Future: The Campaign for Centenary, which would
extend to the year 2003. Two prominent trustees were
co-chairmen of the campaign, William G. Anderson
and Edward J. Crawford III. The honorary chairman
was former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston.
President Schwab and Bishop Dan Solomon were ex
officio members. Other members included the follow-
ing trustees: Dr. Charles Beaird, William T Bradford,
Charles Ellis Brown, Dr. Kenneth Carlile, Dr. Nancy
M. Carruth, J. Stafford Comegys, Robert T Goodwin,
Edwin C. Harbuck, Roy S. Hurley, Massasuke
Kawasaki, Dr. R Michael Mann, Taylor E. Moore, Dr.
George D. Nelson, Samuel P. Peters, Jr., Dr. Leonard
M. Riggs, Jr., Ronald Sawyer, Virginia Kilpatrick
Shehee, and Fletcher ThorneThomsen. The financial
needs for buildings and campus development totaled
$149,320,000. The publication listed the major
projects to be funded, in part, by the campaign:
• Mickle Hall renovation, $15 million
• Moore Student Center, $8.7 million
• arts complex, $17 million
• Marjorie Lyons Playhouse renovation, $4 million
• Hurley Music building, $7.9 million
• Meadows Museum relocation, $7.5 million
• fitness center and natatorium, $9.5 million
• virtual information campus, $2.8 million
• additional endowment, $27.3 million
A report from the President in November
1999 identified the next phase of the campus
building program, and included a long list of
donors to the Campaign for Centenary, which
included a family gift of $7.2 million. This
phase of the Campaign for Centenary, which
began in 1995, had a goal of $70 million in
cash and $20 million in planned gifts. The
1999 report noted that $62 million had been
raised toward the $70 million cash goal.
As Centenary entered the ye<
2000 A.D., a series of events
was scheduled to celebrate its
175 years of history. One major event was
the visit of former First Lady Mrs. Barbara
Bush as commencement speaker on May 6. The
alumni association and alumni office planned a
convocation in March with speakers presenting
vignettes of Centenary's history, and a series of class
reunions and special dinners. The college issued a set
of "175 Years" brass key rings for faculty, trustees,
alumni, students, and friends of the College.
In February 2000, President Schwab issued his annu-
al report and reiterated several ongoing "visions,"
including specific plans for celebrating Centenary's
175th year. A major campus event the year before was
the groundbreaking for the new fitness center and
natatorium. The budget for 1998-99 reflected a healthy
financial situation: total income, $24,274,344 and
expenditures, $23,151,688. For the first time in its
history, Centenary's total endowment exceeded
Also significant in the President's report, "Since its
founding in 1825, Centenary College of Louisiana has
been committed to academic rigor, high standards of
personal conduct, and integrated development of the
mind, body and spirit of its students. Consistent with
its affiliation with the United Methodist Church and
in recognition of the importance of supporting the
Members of the faculty and staff celebrate the centuries of Centenary
during the 1 75th anniversary year.
development o\ spit
noi onK to Learning
As u enters the 2
continue to enhano
on the devel-
ual values in its students, the
encourage a life long dedicatii
hm also to serving others.
51 Century, Centenary will
its reputation as one of the
student-centered liberal arts colleges in the
nation— one that leaves a positive and permanent r
on the life of every graduate and f<
opment oi individuals who will become r
citizens, skilled professionals and capable leaders."
As Centenary College of Louisiana enters the new
millennium in 2001, a brief description of this nation-
ally recognized college of liberal arts is appropriate:
Centenary is a private liberal arts college affiliated
with the United Methodist Church and domiciled in
Shreveport, Louisiana. The student body includes 852
undergraduates and 139 graduate students. The stu-
dent-faculty ratio is 12-1 and there are 18 endowed
chairs. The operating budget is $24 million and the
endowment is over $100 million.
We close with a quote from the chorus of the
College Alma Mater:
Forward, forward Centenary.
Time and Tide may fail;
But our hearts will love thee ever,
The Centenary College Choir, directed by Dr. Will Andress, performed a
rousing college fight song spelling out G-E-N-T-S at the 1 75th Anniversary
Founders' Day Convocation.
The Centenary Choir, organized by A.C. (Cheesy) Voran in the 1940s and
now directed by Will Andress, has been the "singing Ambassadors for
Centenary College and the City of Shreveport" for many years. The choir
has sung in most countries of the world bringing a witness of great music,
the best in higher education and the best example of American youth.
They have accepted three invitations to the White House as guests of the
President of the United States.
Members of the faculty and staff celebrate the centuries of Centenary during the 1 75th anniversary year.
Centenary's 1999-2000 Board of Trustees
President Schwab and Trustee Historian Dr. Bentley Sloane
Centenary's Board of Trustees
Vital to College's Success
For 175 years the Centenary Board tit Trustees has
played an important role in the life of the college,
especially in times of crisis. It has helped to bring
Centenary to its present high level of achievement in
the year 2000 as one of the outstanding liberal arts
colleges in America. The present chairman is
William G. Anderson.
Several trustees who served long and successful terms:
1846 William Winans, 21 years
1866 Bishop J.C. Keener, 40 years
1911 Dr. John L. Scales, 14 years
1941 PaulM. Brown, Jr., 25 years
1966 George D. Nelson, Sr., 30 years
Centenary College of Louisiana
2911 Centenary Boulevard
Shreveport, Louisiana 71104