Month: May 2015


Before technology granted us the convenience of information on demand, spreading awareness and knowledge of events, even locally, relied upon many individual efforts. For over 50 years, our student newspaper, Spilled Ink, reported on the comings and goings of daily life at Centenary and offered students a chance to remain well-informed about the campus as well as showcase their own writing efforts.

Spilled Ink, run and written by students, was first published around 1932 and began as a modest four-page publication with a column layout typical of newspapers at the time.

1933 page one

Most issues covered upcoming college activities and events, student/faculty achievements, and local advertising. Early issues dedicated a lot of space to creative writing contributions from students, usually short stories or poetry. Indeed, issues leading up to World War II resemble a literary magazine much more than a newspaper. Although this focus would wane later on in the life of the paper, it helped pave the way later for a separate publication featuring the works of students called the Prism. (You can now view issues of Prism online here)



In the early 1940s, the onset of war marked a shift in the tone and focus of the paper to a more traditional form, both in content and style.





new buildings

By the 1950s, Spilled Ink had refocused its emphasis to student activities and involvement on campus and that is where it would stay. It was also a time of growth for the college and this was featured prominently. New buildings, programs, and efforts underway were covered with great enthusiasm as the length of the paper expanded along with Centenary.  From theater to sorority events to fashion shows to guest speakers to awards to commencement:  At the heart of every campus lies the student news beat.


1933 1943 1946 1948 1949 1949 1954 1956  1963 1976 1977

You can now view and search Spilled Ink of the 1960s:

Check out our new digital collection here!


Commencement is fast approaching and we’re all sad to have to say goodbye to our seniors. Graduation at Centenary has changed a lot in 140 commencements, most noticeably the number of graduates. 426 students will be graduating at Centenary College’s May 2015 commencement, a far cry from the 26 that graduated at Centenary Collegiate Institute’s June 1876 commencement!

Commencement Program 18761876 commencement2

Top: Cover of the 1876 Commencement Program

Right: The inside of the 1876 Commencement Program. This program is interesting because it folds in half at the top, not at the left.

Centenary’s early commencements consisted of several dramatic performances by the graduates. In 1876, for example, eighteen graduates presented essays and orations, the last being the Valedictory Speech.

The last week of college has always been planned to hold some memorable events for graduating seniors. In the early years the students held Class Day, where their senior year was commemorated in speech and song.

Class Day program, 1878 The class song of 1878


Top: Class Day program, 1878

Right:The Class Song of 1878

Seniors would present a class history, prophecy, resolutions, class mementos, and sing the class song (every class had its own song, written by its students). Class Day evolved into a  talent show with less emphasis on Centenary history.

In the mid 1900s students held a ceremony called “Song on the Steps”. There was a tradition that stated only seniors were supposed to use the front steps of the Main Building, so the ceremony was intended to ‘give’ the steps to the freshmen, as they became the next class of seniors (Centenary College was a two year school then). Seniors would congregate on the steps and sing a few songs, including their class song, and then file off the steps to make way for the freshmen, who would take their place on the steps and sing their class song. There was more singing by the two classes to end the ceremony.

Songs on the Steps May 31 1965_2

Songs on the Steps, May 31, 1965. The Seniors are in line on the left side of the driveway, freshmen on the right.

Songs on the Steps May 31 1965

Another view of the students during the May 31, 1965 Songs on the Steps. Students are lined up on the driveway in front of the Seay Building, which used to be a real driveway used by the college.

One event that has continued into the present day is the President’s Ball. It’s a dance now, but 75 years ago it was the President’s reception and President’s dance. Today’s commencements combine a lot of the activities students in years past would have held over two or three days, so the reception might have been merged with commencement over the years.

Graduating class of 1936

Graduating class of 1936

The Valedictory Address of 1886 begins with these words:

“To-day there is a sadder task to perform than here-tofore. Welcome brings with it joy and greeting- farewell sorrow and parting.”

Although commencement is a time to say goodbye, it’s also a time to look back fondly at the time spent at your Alma Mater, and look forward at what’s to come. Although we are sad to see our seniors go, we are excited for them as they take on whatever comes next.