Students face many challenges during their college journey, but one thing remains constant: the friendships made continue well beyond graduation. Friendships are the basis of networking, meeting new people and improving self-confidence. No one knows this better than a group of alumni who became friends during their time at Centenary College in the mid 70’s. Affectionately referred to as the Friends of Deviancy (FOD) due to their tendency to stray from the norms (a name they themselves coined), Ann Greenough Ryba '79, Craig McCartney '79, Jane Daugherty Karker '79, Mike Marshall '79, Rick Demers '79, Sarah Doss '81, Janet Vaught Henley '80, and Elaine McArdle ‘79 remain friends to this day.
“At Centenary our paths crossed in multiple ways. Five of us were on the Conglomerate staff, five were in student government, several were in church careers,” said Elaine. On the rare occasions they were not studying, they gathered at Mama Mia’s for quarter cups of beer. Establishing those connections and having continued opportunities to foster those relationships created a space to establish a meaningful connection. "These are among my nearest and dearest friends. We have a strong bond cemented by wonderful, shared experiences and appreciation for the special place that Centenary is," said Elaine.
"As you get older, it's so important to be able to connect with people who remember the same things you do and went through the same experiences. The absence of that would have made my life so much less meaningful, and that is even more true as the years go by," said Craig. Though they are scattered across the country, the FOD have continued to see each other since graduation, gathering everywhere from Boston to New Orleans to Chicago to Austin to Portland, Oregon--and on the Centenary campus for reunions, of course. During the pandemic, they have continued to gather on Zoom as much as possible. "What would my life be without those four years? They were so impactful and caused me to have lifelong friends," said Jane.
In 1979, the FOD organized a big fundraiser to help renovate the Student Union Building, raising hundreds of dollars through such creative events as selling opportunities to permanently scrawl your name into the newly poured cement behind Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. “At reunion 2019, we found that our FOD imprint is still there forty years later,” said Elaine. "Our friendships are at the heart of why we all love Centenary so much, why we return to the reunions, and why we support the college every way we can including financially."
Centenary strives to create environments for people to connect and be supported. Whether that is through events on campus, clubs, athletic teams, or any of many other opportunities; there is always a place to find lifelong friends. The friendships formed at Centenary are authentic and long lasting because they are rooted in an environment that supports understanding and acceptance. "I give to Centenary because of the good experience I had and the desire to pay it forward with scholarship money for future students," said Sarah. You can help Centenary continue to foster these friendships and give the gift of an education! CLICK HERE to help support student scholarships and give the gift of friendship.
“We want to say hello and give a huge thank you to Dr. Donald Webb, Dr. Earle Labor, Dr. Lee Morgan, Dr. Dorothy Gwinn, and all the faculty and administrators who helped make Centenary the remarkable community and institution it is. We thank you for your kindness and patience with regard to our many youthful hijinks. We are forever grateful.” - The Friends of Deviancy