For years I have read about Centre, but have never visited; this year I have a student applying, so I took a quick trip last week. It is located near beautiful Lexington, Kentucky horse country in the small town of Danville, Kentucky. A “Colleges That Change Lives” school, students to whom I spoke testified that their lives had indeed been changed by their Centre experience.
One student from Colorado told me that not only were the academics superb, but that “experiences we have here culturally and personally, in leadership positions and service opportunities, really make us much more confident and interesting people.” Students told me that the small student body of about 1220 created an intimacy which they loved, and that they had very close relationships with professors, who are “almost all are really good teachers.” The campus is beautiful and does not feel small.
They are famous for their Centre Commitment, which guarantees all students three things: 1. an internship, 2. study broad, and 3. graduation within four years, or Centre will provide up to a year of additional study tuition-free. When asked, the admissions office said that it had never come to that! They also have a 4-1-4 calendar, which allows for a shorter study abroad or a focused month long course on campus just after the winter holiday break.
As my colleague, Juliet, mentioned in her blog post about Redlands last week, there are definitely opportunities for top students to receive generous merit scholarships here as well. Centre is often on the lists of “Best Buy” schools, and this year the “comprehensive fee” of tuition, room and board is a relatively reasonable $40,075. The top 30% of applicants receive $14,000/year in merit aid alone; that makes yearly tuition $26,075, a best buy indeed.
I was surprised and so impressed to learn this about Centre. This past semester the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and 29-year old conductor Gustavo Dudamel visited the United States. They performed in two places: Carnegie Hall and Centre College. Centre is home to the Norton Center for the Arts, a large auditorium which brings world class performances to campus. College President Roush states, “When you give a student an opportunity to be around greatness, then they can imagine that they too might be able to do great things. The most important impact is that our people from Centre College believe that anything is possible.”
Later this semester the Joffrey Ballet and Stomp will grace the stage at the Norton Center; my tour guide already had tickets for herself and a large group of friends. She had already seen Smokey Robinson and Tony Bennett this year, who she said “looked great for their ages.” Credit is even awarded to students who attend a certain number of events at the Norton Center.
So WOW!! I loved Centre. So did everyone I spoke to on campus.