DANVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Graduates of the Centre College Class of 2021 will hear from Andrea Abrams, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, as their Commencement speaker for the in-person ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 22.
The 198th Commencement exercises will begin at 10 a.m. and take place outdoors at Joe McDaniel Field at Farris Stadium. A picnic will follow the festivities at 12 noon on the Crounse Hall Lawn and West Walnut Street.
College Chaplain Rick Axtell will be the featured speaker for the Baccalaureate ceremony held at the same venue the day before, on Friday, May 21 at 5 p.m.
The Class of 2021 was one of the largest in College history and is projected to graduate 340 students. It was also one of the most diverse, establishing what has now become typical for incoming classes. In addition to representing 23 countries on six continents, 20 percent of the Class of 2021 identified as first-generation students and 31 percent came from underrepresented populations.
Abrams said that she was “surprised and flattered” when President Milton Moreland invited her to be the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2021 and described this as “a happy and heavy duty.”
She added, “This class has navigated a pandemic, political strife and racial justice activism, all while doing their homework, taking exams, applying for graduate school and sending out resumes. It will be no easy task to acknowledge all that they accomplished and offer words of inspiration for the next phase of their lives. I look forward to their big day.”
Abrams has served as the College’s chief diversity officer since 2018 and was promoted to vice president effective April 1. She first came to Centre in 2007 to teach anthropology as a postdoctoral fellow. After becoming an assistant professor in 2009, she earned tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2014 and continues to teach courses in anthropology, gender studies and social justice studies.
In making the selection, President Moreland praised the positive impact Abrams has had on campus.
“Over the relatively short time span of three years, Andrea has moved the College forward by focusing our attention more intently on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as integral to every aspect of our campus community,” he said.
“Her leadership has modelled the expectations we have for our students to become positive agents of change as part of Centre’s longstanding commitment to learning, leadership and service.”
Born and raised in Mississippi, Abrams graduated with a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Agnes Scott College and completed her graduate studies at Emory University, where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology, along with a certificate in women’s studies.
Complete information about Commencement events can be found HERE.