Month: August 2014


Our fall semester will begin soon and we can’t wait for the students to come back! The first days of every semester are filled with excitement (and for new students, maybe a little apprehension).

Seniors welcoming arriving freshmen. Circa 1950s.

Seniors welcome arriving freshmen. circa 1950s.

This student is getting some help moving in her things.

This student gets some help moving in! circa 1950s.

Centenary College has always worked hard to make our incoming classes feel welcome. Every year freshmen participate in the “Community Plunge”, and this year they will also take part in a common book discussion. Community Plunge is a community service project that was introduced in 1990. First-years volunteer their time with different local organizations, introducing them to the area and their fellow freshmen while also giving back to their new community. The common book discussion allows students to engage each other in conversation over a common book. This year, freshmen read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katharine Boo. They’ll spend the afternoon before classes begin in small group discussion, which will give them a glimpse of academic life here at Centenary. 

Students participating in the Community Plunge

Students participating in the Community Plunge 2014

The student newspaper (called Spilled Ink – what a great name!) from the mid 1900s is filled with articles about freshmen orientation. [At that time, the college was called Centenary Junior College and was a two-year school.]

Three excited freshmen

Three excited freshmen. circa 1940

One of the long-standing traditions of this era was the Big Sister-Little Sister program, where each senior girl (the Big Sister) was paired with a new freshmen girl (the Little Sister). One student wrote,

“We meet our own ‘lil sister and our roommates’, and through them their friends, and in turn they meet our friends. Why, before we were given little sisters, we passed in the halls without a word, or at most only a “hello” was exchanged…but now, we’ve managed to know one another and we’re just one big happy family!”

Every year, several seniors headed an orientation committee designed to introduce freshmen to every facet of college life.

Freshmen Picnic - September 20, 1964

One of many orientation events. Freshmen Picnic, 1964

Welcome Freshmen

Judith Field, class of 1966, holds a Welcome Freshmen cake at the President’s Reception Tea.


The orientation committee of 1964

Throughout the years, they enjoyed teas, picnics, dances, teacher introductions, tours of campus (not to mention outings to favorite local shops), and the highlight of every orientation: a variety show called the Ice-Breaker.

President Seay at the Ice-Breaker

President Seay joins the fun! From left to right: Susan Walker – 1965 senior class vice president, Mrs. Helen Seay, Dr. Edward W. Seay – President of Centenary College, and Susan Tannenbaum – 1965 senior class president.

Seniors staged skits, organized games, and presented freshmen with a tub of ice, to remind them that it’s up to them to ‘break the ice’. And so they did!

Break the Ice

Susan Tannenbaum ’65, Pamela Mitchell ’66, and Susan Walker ’65 breaking the ice.

After several days of reception, new students were regarded as members of the Centenary family. As the years passed, orientation events grew smaller. Although we don’t have an extended orientation period like we use to, we still can’t wait to meet the class of 2018 and welcome them to the Centenary family!



The faculty of CCI

 The faculty of CCI

This list of the faculty was taken from the first Centenary Collegiate Institute catalogue, issued for the 1874 – 1875 school year.

Interesting fact: A lady was always called a teacher. Only a gentlemen could be called a professor.

Another interesting fact: Those abbreviations after the female teacher’s names stands for Mistress of Liberal Arts (M.L.A.) and Mistress of English Literature (M.E.L.). At the time, women were just beginning to be considered ‘college material’, so ladies earned one of these two degrees.


Custard, Leila Roberta. Through Golden Years: 1867 -1943. New York: Lewis
Historical Publishing Company, Inc, 1947. Print.


Centenary Collegiate Institute. (April 28, 2014). 1874 – 1885 Catalogs.