Centenary College welcomes students, recognizes staff at opening of 195th academic year
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary’s Class of 2023, along with other current students, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, and community members, filled the College’s Brown Chapel on Tuesday, August 27, for the annual President’s Convocation and the traditional opening of the academic year. Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman welcomed the first year class and addressed the entire community with remarks touching on the importance of critical inquiry, civility, and collaboration in the context of a liberal arts education.
“Today, we celebrate the fact that we are coming together, bound together, as a community of a very special type,” said Holoman during his speech. “Higher education communities are particularly special because of our goal: the pursuit of knowledge. We challenge you to explore, to push on your preconceived notions, and to push us on our preconceived notions. Be prepared to be challenged by things that are different than you think now, by people that are different than you are familiar with. In this community, we do that in an atmosphere of respect, and we do it together.”
Centenary faculty and staff gathered August 22 in advance of the official beginning of the fall semester. Holoman presided over the all-campus meeting, welcoming new employees and recognizing personal and professional accomplishments. Holoman also presented the 2019 David Womack Leadership Award to Officer Al Bush, an eight-year veteran of the Centenary Police Department, and to Emlyn Aubrey, head coach of the Ladies and Gents golf teams.
The Womack Award was established in memory of former Centenary Dean of Students David Womack, who passed away suddenly in August 2009. Honoring the example and the memory of the late David Womack, Womack Award winners are chosen on the basis of their leadership skills, their ability to work across divisional and departmental lines, their commitment to and skill at building bridges, and their capacity to be inclusive of all members of the campus community.
“Officer Bush is continually looking for ways to ensure that our students and employees have positive interactions with police officers,” said Holoman during the award presentation. “He is generally among the first people that visitors to campus speak with, either due to his assisting with parking or his daily patrols of campus by bike. He also takes every opportunity to interact with students by engaging them on the Caf deck, at the Student Union Building, and various programs that he attends. He has taken over the Check-Ur-Ride program and made it into his pet project, providing him with further opportunities to engage with faculty, staff, and students.”
Coach Emlyn Aubrey, an accomplished professional golfer who played on the PGA tour, was recognized for his passion for the sport of golf as well as his dedication to the mission of the College.
“Emlyn is truly a ‘team player’ – a positive individual who seeks to work across divisions to move the College forward,” said Holoman. “He is a diligent recruiter for the College and attracts students who are high performing on the golf course and in the classroom. Emlyn seeks to provide the best for his team and for the College. Recently, he helped secure funding for the state of the art Hal Sutton Golf Performance Center in the Centenary fitness center, which includes a putting green, a swing analyzer, and the ability to play a computer simulation of more than a dozen golf courses around the world.”
Past recipients of the Womack Award include Dr. David Hoaas, Dr. Chris Lavan, Eddie Walker, Connie Whittington, Mark Miller, Monica Powell, Janet Ingram, Saige Solomon, and Katie Bearden.