CentreCyclopediaOld Main

Commencement Speakers

Position is at time of Commencement

1907Joseph W. Cochran
1908William McKibbin
President, Lane Theological Seminary
1910F. W. Irwin
1911Merrill E. Gates
President, Amherst College
1912John S. McKay
Minister, New York City
1913E. H. Pence
Minister, Detroit
1914John W. Yerkes
Centre College, Class of 1873
1915James K. Patterson,
former president, University of Kentucky
1916W. Francis Irwin
Minister, Louisville
1919Robert L. Kelly
Executive Secretary, Association of American Colleges
1920Samuel Callen
Minister, Louisville
1921Leonard A. Barrett
Minister, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1922John Van Dyke Norman
Attorney, Louisville
1923R. Ames Montgomery
President, Centre College
1924John T. Stone
Minister, Chicago
1925A. L. Allais
President, Columbus Mining Co.
1926William C. Covert
General Secretary, National Board of Christian Education, Presbyterian Church
1927Charles J. Turck
President-elect, Centre College
1928Edward Mims
Professor, Vanderbilt University
1929Frederick A. Wallis
Former U.S. Commissioner of Immigration
1930Frederick F. Shannon
Minister, Chicago
1931Albert B. Hart
Professor, Harvard University
1932James C. Stone
Chair, Federal Farm Board; Centre College, Class of 1898
1933Cecil H. Gamble
1934King Swope
Judge, Circuit Court of Kentucky; Centre College, Class of 1914
1935Edgar D. Jones
Minister, Detroit
1936G. Bromley Oxnam
President, De Pauw University
1937Hardin Craig
Professor, Stanford University; Centre College, Class of 1897
1938George H. Bruce
Centre College, Class of 1899
1939Allen W. Gullion
Major General, U.S. Army; Centre College, Class of 1901
1940Ralph W. Lloyd
President, Maryville College
1941Jesse Hermann
Minister, Danville, Ky.
1942Benjamin J. Buch
Minister, Detroit; member of Centre College Board of Trustees
1943L. Meriwether Smith
Colonel, U.S. Army
1944Guy E. Snavely
Executive Secretary, Association of American Colleges
1945Frederick M. Vinson
Director, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion; Centre College, Class of 1911
1946Eugene E. Barrett
Secretary, National Council of the YMCA
1947Dr. Robert J. McMullin
1948Charles P. Taft
1949Alben Barkley
Vice President of the United States
1950Paul G. Blazer
President, Ashland Refining Co.
1951Richard R. Deupree
Chair, Procter & Gamble
1952Wayne Morse
U.S. Senator from Oregon
1953Lemuel R. Boulware
Vice President, General Electric Co.
1954Mildred Mcafee
former president, Wellesley College, Ex-President, WAVES
1955Charles R. Hook, Sr.
Chair, Armco and Co.
1956Walter G. Whitman
Professor, MIT
1957Sherman Adams
Chief Assistant, President Dwight D. Eisenhower
1958James. A Perkins
Vice President, Carnegie Corporation
1959Barry Bingham
Editor-in-chief and president, Louisville Courier-Journal
1960John M. Stalnaker
President, National Merit Scholarship Corp.
1961Don K, Price, Jr.
Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration
1962Harold H. Helm
Chair, Chemical Bank New York Trust Co.
1963Harold W. Dodd
President Emeritus, Princeton University
1964Oliver Carmichael, Jr.
Chair, Associates Investment Co.; former president of Converse College
1965Robert Taft, Jr.
U.S. Congressman from Ohio
1966Amory Houghton, Jr.
Chair, Corning Glass Works
1967James F. Oates, Jr.
Chair, Equitable Life Insurance Society
1968Edgar F. Shannon, Jr.
President, University of Virginia
1969Charles S. Rhyne
1970Benjamin E. Mays
President, Atlanta Board of Education
1971John D. Alexander, Jr.
President, Pomona College
1972John Sherman Cooper
U.S. Congressman from Kentucky, Centre College Class of 1922
1973Douglas M. Knight
Vice President, RCA
1974Ernest R. Hilgard
Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
1975Wade H. McCree
Judge, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
1976Maxine Kumin
Poet and writer
1977Alpheus Mason (Professor Emeritus, Princeton University) was to speak, but was ill; no commencement address given
1978No main speaker – Responses from four honorary degree recipients: Wendell Berry, C. Ellis Nelson, Mary Sweeney, and Ewing Boles
1979James H. Evans
Chair and CEO, Union Pacific Corp. and incoming chair of Board of Trustees
1980Mark H. Curtis
President, Association of American Colleges
1981William H. Webster
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
1982Richard H. Morrill
President-elect, Centre College
1983Edgar C. Reckard, Jr.
Former Provost of Centre College
1984Edward F. Prichard, Jr.
Chair, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
1985David Mathews
President, Kettering Foundation; former president, University of Alabama; former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
1986Howard H. Baker, Jr.
Former U.S. Senator from Tennessee
1987Jimmy Carter
Former President of the United States
1988Pierce Lively
Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
1989Charles R. McDowell
Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch
1990Raymond E. Mabus
Governor of Mississippi
1991Hannah H. Gray
President, University of Chicago
1993John R. Hall
Chair and CEO, Ashland Oil
1994David S. Newhall
Professor, Centre College
1995Lynne Redgrave
1996Creed S. Black
Former publisher, Lexington Herald-Leader
1997David L. Warren
President, National Association of Independent Colleges nad Universities
1998John A. Roush
President-elect, Centre College
1999Michael F. Adams
President, University of Georgia and former president, Centre College
2000Larry R. Matheny
Professor, Centre College
2001Beverly A. Brooks
Student, Centre College, Class of 2001
2002Robert B. Markham
Student, Centre College, Class of 2002
2003Elain L. Chao and Mitch McConnell
U.S. Secretary of Labor; U.S. Senator from Kentucky
2004Sandra Day O’Conner
Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
2005Barbara E. Kingsolver
2006Gordon Gee
Chancellor, Vanderbilt University
2007Tim Russert
Television journalist
2008Leland D. Melvin
NASA astronaut
2009Linda and Jerry Bruckheimer
Author and preservationist; film and television producer
2010Wayne W. Meisel
President, Bonner Foundation
2011Lee Todd
President, University of Kentucky
 Pearse Lyons
President, Alltech
2012Janet Brown
Executive Director, Commission on Presidential Debates
2013Martha Raddatz
ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent