By GRAY WHITSETT – OPINIONS SECTION EDITOR
“There’s a little college down in Kentucky which in 60 years has graduated more men who have acquired prominence and fame than has Princeton in her 150 years.”
– Woodrow Wilson
So goes the quote that has kept the “little college down in Kentucky” flaming for decades. Centre College, founded in 1819, stands as one of the oldest colleges in the state of Kentucky.
Renowned for its study abroad program, affordability, and academic rigor, Centre has received numerous accolades since the beginning of arbitrary ranking systems. Now it proudly adds another status to its impressive record.
“The Boyle County ranking is one we’ve been trying to collect since before the Spragens era,” Vice President for College Relations Richard Trollinger said. “To have it now … well, it’s bringing a lot of joy to a lot of people.” And indeed it did, as college students, faculty, and staff celebrated via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
“When you go to a school like Centre,” senior Dennis Barrett said, “you’re always looking to justify your decision to attend, and this is the perfect fodder. All I have to do is share or retweet it and just like that, my family back home has some church group talking points.”
Barrett, as well as Trollinger and a host of others, took part in the revelry, avidly commenting and favoriting those posts that promoted Centre’s newest prize. As the administration posted the rankings on literally every surface of the college’s Campus Center, the faculty joined in.
“It’s why I teach here,” stated Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi Professor of Eastern Religions Christian Haskett. “It makes dealing with staff meetings totally worth it.”
As overtop as it all sounds, there’s something magical in the air at Centre after a new ranking is published. Whether it’s the Princeton Review, Forbes, or the Advocate Messenger, the college goes nuts, and rightfully so.
“We work hard, plain and simple,” said Dean of Student Life Randy Hays. “We support our students with exceptional opportunities, we support our faculty with word class teaching environments, and we support our community, Danville and Boyle County, through organizations like the Bonner Scholars and C.A.R.E.”
A mainstay at Centre for well over a decade, Dean Hays was proud to receive the honor. “You know, we’ve had a lot of great memories in my time here, long before I was a dean. You’ve got the US News ranking of ’94, Kiplinger’s in ’98, both huge moments for the college. Then you’ve got the Interdebate Years, during which you have more strong standings, with Forbes in ’02 and ’05 and Washington Monthly in ’11. With the Boyle ranking under our belt, the sky really is the limit.”
But with all this excitement in the air, not everyone benefited.
“Look, we get it,” pleads National College’s President Frank Longaker, “you’re better than us.” National College is a for-profit institution with 30 campuses throughout Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia, and of course Boyle County, that offers degrees in just about anything you could imagine at remarkable affordability. It’s essentially the Walmart of higher education.
“This is a position we’ve held in Boyle County for a long time,” continued President Longaker. “It’s a huge moral boost for our team in Danville, one with which we pride ourselves. To have that yanked away by a school that outclasses us in every respect is insulting and embarrassing.”
Joining Longaker’s dissent are a few from the Centre community, who wished to remain anonymous for safety concerns.
“We push these rankings so hard,” said one student, “but sometimes I wonder if it’s even substantive, if it really all means anything. I guess what I’m saying is it feels really shallow, like we’re measuring a school’s worth by a metric that is both insufficient and terribly misleading. I mean, think about it – we aren’t even a D1 school.”
No matter the individual’s view, it seems everyone in the barely 30,000 person county is talking about it. “Centre’s done so much for this community,” claimed Ron Scott, City Manager of Danville, “and we’re happy to have them monopolizing our resources, especially during this period of decay.”
Scott wasn’t without his own doubts.
“I have no idea why anyone would actually want this.”
It seemed only fitting, however, to hear directly from the college itself.
“In an age of unpredictability in higher education,” stated Centre College President John Roush, “an age of increasingly larger universities, an age of unfortunate foreclosures in liberal arts, this is what Centre College is doing: excelling in quality education, personal development, and magazine rankings.”
Editor’s Note: The previous article is the first of the CentOnion series, a satirical publication focused on parodying various subjects unique to Centre College’s campus.
As such, all content within this article is purely fictional and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Cento or Centre College.
In addition all quotations used in this article are purely fictional and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individuals quoted.