Annual Centenary Founders’ Day Convocation celebrates service and explores College history
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College celebrated its annual Founders’ Day on Thursday, March 4, with a virtual ceremony that included a presentation dedicated to better recognizing the contributions that people of color have made to the College’s history and development. Dr. Jama Grove, assistant professor of history, and Chris Brown, the College’s archivist, utilized material from the College Archives to present a dynamic exploration of individuals whose contributions and achievements were often purposefully erased and forgotten.
Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman also recognized faculty and staff for sustained service to the College during the event, handing out service pins to the following members of the Centenary community:
10 Year Pins
Mr. Chris Sampite (Director of Facilities)
Mr. Terry Antwine (Facilities)
15 Year Pins
Mr. Chris Brown (College Archivist)
Dr. Joshua Lawrence – (Associate Professor of Chemistry)
20 Year Pin
Dr. Michelle Wolkomir (Professor of Sociology)
25 Year Pin
Mr. David Williams (Director of Development Services)
30 Year Pin
Dr. David Otto Cowles (Professor of Religious Studies)
35 Year Pins
Mrs. Lynette Viskozki (Director of Financial Aid)
Mrs. Patty Roberts (Coordinator for Grants and Faculty Endowments)
Holoman also presented the Charleton Lyons Summer Research Award, President’s Excellence Award, and Outstanding Teacher Award during the convocation.
The Lyons Summer Research Award was presented to Dr. Matthew Jennings, assistant professor of biology, for his project developing an engineered living paint using microbes isolated from cave environments. The project utilizes biotechnology to add microbes to building materials such as concrete or packed soil to add strength or the ability for limited repair, and will provide a good avenue for students interested in learning the basics of molecular biology.
Chris Sampite, director of facilities, received the 2021 President’s Excellence Award. In his remarks, Holoman praised Sampite’s strong leadership in the Facilities Services department through a number of unusual crisis situations, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the February 2021 winter storm that knocked out water service on campus. Quoting a colleague, Holoman shared that Sampite, “…is not the kind of supervisor that stands on the sideline, all nice and comfortable—he is knee deep in mud, shoveling with everyone else.”
Dr. Helen Sikes, professor of accounting and finance, was chosen as the 2021 Outstanding Teacher by student nominators. One student shared, “She has poured her life into teaching Centenary students not just business, but also life lessons. She makes sure each and every student is obtaining the excellence that they want and that she can see in them.” Other students praised Sikes’s understanding, her mentorship, and her deep knowledge in her field.
Video of the ceremony is available on Centenary’s YouTube channel.