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1825 ok. 2000 

A Brief History of 

Centenary College 

of Louisiana 

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 


Centenary College 

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 



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 



HPT*' :'■' 



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 
this Territory. 

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 
New Orleans. 

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. 

Student Organizations 

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 
continue today. 

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 
R.H. McGimsey. 

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. 


Methodism Celebrates 
Its Centennial 

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 
Methodist movement. 

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." 

American Methodists 
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. 

Centenary College 
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 

Mississippi Conference. 

|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." 

Early Leadership 

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 
Louisiana, 18454861 

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. 

Faculty As 



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 
social life. 

A Full Week of 
Graduation Exercises 

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 
the building: 

"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>. 

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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. 


rtlf! -flliii 


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 


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nowioii »ill open »" Urn tir.i Honda) 

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n, $T"i |" i iiiiiiiui,>'. *■ ntf .ir 

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i(|i.n in lli. S.'ii'l..-ru >:.ii--. 


[Mill 111-;- ii V nl tin (' u :1... (,!,■ 

Igt- of it* futiiri- prosperity 


e tliui nothing sh ill be « mlinj 


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.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 






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 
good work. 


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- 
ness offices. 

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! 

il MljlfijjF 

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. 

si M 


23 ll B 

"J ™ 

iJB i 
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 ~ 

Bourne 1918 

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 Academy. 

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. 

President in 
the Twenties 

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 
Shreveport interested 
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 

Methodist minister 
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. 

13 — 

Hoynes Gymnasium 

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, 
was $180,000. 

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. 

Barksdale Cadets 

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 
Centenary College. 

~ 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. 

Sesquicentennial Celebration 

In 1975, the college 
sesquicentennial celebra- 
tion began with Shreveport 
newspapers featuring a 
long history of the college. 
Dr. Walter Lowrey of the 

y coLLPG e or t Q 
^JcenrrenniaL i*P 

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 
Centenary's president 
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 
in 1986-87. 

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. 

~^Pfy 1 


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 
career counseling 

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 
campus plan. 

In 1996 a Peavy 
Memorial Climbing \ • $ 

Tower was erected 
north of Haynes 
Gymnasium, the 
entire campus was 
finally computerized, 
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 

—21 — 

© 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. 

175th Anniversary 

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, 
Centenary Hail! 

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