“His life is gentle, and the elements so mixed in him, that nature might arise, and say to all the world: This is a man.”
These words of appreciation were said about a man who came to Centenary Collegiate Institute (C.C.I.) in 1903 and quickly earned the admiration and respect of every student. He was a teacher of Latin, Director of Athletics, House Master of the Boys’ Dormitory, and a friend to all who knew him.
George Edward Denman’s dedication to his athletes led ‘green’ teams to victory year after year. Although his specialty was football, having played for Williams College and Columbia University before becoming an athletics coach, his indomitable spirit commanded Centenary’s sports teams to greatness. Football, basketball, baseball, track – every sport excelled under his instruction.
Denman can also be credited with helping start Centenary’s yearbook. The Athletic Association’s success created a need to produce a yearly historical record intended to emphasize the “prowess of C.C.I.” (Custard, 113). Student Harry H. Runyon suggested creating a school annual and, with the support of Professor Denman, the Athletic Association created the 1904 Hack, the college’s first yearbook. Had it not been for the accomplishments of the Athletic Association (guided by Denman), the yearbook would not have been established so early in Centenary’s history.
Professor Denman stayed at Centenary only 7 years but did enough for the school in those few years to fill a lifetime. He was remembered fondly by his students and will always be remembered by those who treasure Centenary’s past.