Centenary announces 191st commencement plans
SHREVEPORT, LA — The Reverend Doctor Charles B. Simmons '71, Centenary graduate and member of the Board of Trustees, will deliver the commencement address at Centenary's 191st graduation ceremony on Saturday, April 30th at the Gold Dome. Simmons will retire as Senior Minister of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas in May 2016.
"We are pleased and honored to have Dr. Simmons return to Shreveport to help welcome the Class of 2016 into the ranks of proud Centenary alumni," says Centenary President Dr. B. David Rowe. "His affection for Centenary and his long-time service to the College and his congregation is an excellent example for these students as they graduate and fulfill their potential as leaders in the 21st century."
A native of Franklinton, Dr. Simmons was born in DeQuincy, Louisiana and graduated from Centenary in 1971 with a B.A. in religion. He received his Masters of Divinity magna cum laude from Emory University in 1974 and his Doctor of Ministry from Emory in 1978. He has also studied in Switzerland.
Simmons was Director of Church Relations at Centenary from 1978 to 1980 and was appointed to the College's Board of Trustees in 1996. When he joined the Board, Simmons was senior pastor at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, the largest congregation in the Louisiana Conference. He was very active within the Louisiana Conference before his move to Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston. In 1996, he served as chair for the Louisiana delegation to the United Methodist Church General Conference in Denver. He has also attended international conferences in Singapore and Seoul, Korea.
Simmons has written inspirational columns for several daily newspapers, has had sermons published in Today's Pulpit, and been a contributor to Upper Room Disciplines, an annual devotional guide that is published worldwide. A Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, Simmons has also been named to Outstanding Young Men of America and Who's Who in American Religion. He is a member of ODK and Alpha Chi Fraternity for Religious Professionals and has served as a member of various church, hospital, and mission boards.
In addition to delivering the commencement address, Simmons will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Centenary during the ceremony. Pam Atchison, Executive Director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and Reverend Brady L. Blade, Sr., pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Shreveport, will be recognized with honorary Doctor of Arts degrees.
The Gold Dome opens at 9:30 a.m. on April 30th and seating for graduation is first come, first served.