When Dr. Craig C. Hill, Dean of the Perkins School of Theology, walks around the campus of Centenary College, a school affiliated with the United Methodist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, he has flashbacks.
“Everything here reminds me of my days at Illinois Wesleyan University,” says Hill who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from the school in Bloomington. “It was the absolute perfect place for me at that time in my life. (Illinois Wesleyan) got me re-enthralled with learning, and everything that happened in my life was a result of the time I spent there.”
The result was an extensive career – from Duke Divinity School, where he was executive director of the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Christian Practice programs to his current role as the 11th dean at Perkins on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Normally, 288 miles separate Hill from Centenary, but today, Hill was on Centenary's campus signing an agreement that hopes to align the schools in powerful and energizing ways.
Both schools, sharing a common heritage and connection to the United Methodist Church, formalized an agreement that establishes a partnership, paving the way for Centenary graduates interested in pursuing a life in the ministry to receive preferred admissions at the graduate level.
“Centenary College and the Perkins School of Theology are two of the oldest United Methodist institutions of higher learning in our region and share a long legacy of preparing clergy and laity for service across Louisiana, Texas, and the entire nation,” said Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman. “We are honored and excited to deepen this relationship in a way that will help Centenary students further their education at Perkins and allow students from both schools to take advantage of each other’s resources and learn and grow together.”
Centenary says the new agreement provides preferred consideration and early decision for admission to Centenary graduates who have completed all the prerequisites for admission to SMU and gives qualified students early consideration for scholarships and other financial aid at the Perkins School. The agreement also includes provisions for annual visits by Perkins admission staff to Centenary and reciprocal visits by interested Centenary students to SMU.
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey joined President Holoman and Dean Hill for the signing and is thrilled to see this already deep connection between the two schools strengthened.
“When you look at the folks who have come from Centenary into ministry – both lay and clergy – it really does read like a ‘who’s who’ for United Methodism, particularly in Louisiana," she said. "I think this match might be one of those made in heaven! This is a partnership that will continue a legacy that’s so important to our life and work here in Louisiana and to the future of the United Methodist Church."
Today’s news comes on the heels of more good news
for Centenary as the school was recently designated a Tier One National Liberal Arts College for the seventh straight year in U.S. News & World Report rankings. Centenary is the only liberal arts college in Louisiana to earn the Tier One distinction.