Centenary hosts reception for regional academic consortium, local alumni
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College gathered local alumni from several distinguished liberal arts colleges and universities at Shreveport’s Petroleum Club on Monday, September 24 for a reception celebrating excellence in the liberal arts. Attendees also included representatives from Centenary’s partner institutions in the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), an academic consortium of 16 nationally recognized institutions in 12 states. Dr. R. Owen Williams, ACS president, was the featured speaker at the event.
Williams touted the advantages and opportunities provided by liberal arts colleges like Centenary but stressed that college administrators and alumni alike must become more adept at addressing critiques of the liberal arts model and combating misconceptions about its continued relevance.
“Liberal arts colleges have a great story to tell, but we need to tell it with more evidence,” said Williams. “We need to look at outcomes – what happens after graduates leave? What kinds of jobs do they get? Where do they go to graduate school? For instance, we know that tech executives want to hire liberal arts graduates because our students are confident, grounded, and can relate to and understand people. Students educated in a liberal arts environment have proved that they can not only write the code that powers innovation, but – more importantly – use their critical thinking and observation skills to determine what that code should be about. This is the story we all need to tell.”
ACS was incorporated in 1991 with a mission to strengthen and showcase liberal arts education through collaboration. The consortium assists its member institutions with programs for faculty and staff advancement, joint purchasing and services, and curricular enhancements. An ACS grant is currently providing funding for Centenary psychology professor Jessica Alexander to explore cognitive science in the college classroom as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration. In 2016, Centenary also received a portion of a $2.7 million Mellon Grant secured by the ACS.
Centenary is joined in the ACS by Birmingham-Southern, Centre, Davidson, Furman, Hendrix, Millsaps, Morehouse, Rhodes, the University of Richmond, Rollins, Sewanee, Southwestern University, Spelman, Trinity University, and Washington and Lee University.
Over 70 local alumni and friends of various ACS colleges attended the Monday evening reception. Centenary was also proud to have several fellow ACS administrators in attendance, including Dr. John McCardell, Vice Chancellor at Sewanee The University of the South; Jay fisher, Vice President for University Relations at Sewanee The University of the South; Dennis Cross, Vice President for University Advancement at Washington and Lee University; Kay Casey, Associate Vice President for Development at Trinity University; and Ryan Finnelly, Senior Director of Alumni Relations at Trinity University.
“It was wonderful to be able to bring together so many Shreveporters to celebrate the common liberal arts mission of these distinguished institutions,” said Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman. “Shreveport should be a center for these kinds of celebrations because of the outstanding group of graduates from ACS schools, and Centenary is proud to be a part of this organization that includes the great liberal arts colleges of the south.”
A photo gallery from the reception is available at centenary.edu.