Cline, Dr. Pierce


- 1943
As one thinks of Dr. Pierce Clime, now that he has gone to his eternal abode, certain characteristics stand out very clearly, characteristics, which we who knew him best can never forget. Of him it can rightly be said that he had a cheerful disposition. That was not something with him, which was put on from the outside, but it was a very part of him. It was in him, giving to him a radiant and charming personality. This is worth recording because cheerfulness is rooted in faith, faith in Gad, faith in men, and faith in the ultimate triumph of right over wrong. Such a man can face cruel facts without the loss of hope and he can meet the stern realities of life and march steadily on. Such a man was, Dr. Pierce Cline.
Dr. Cline was a gentleman, a Christian gentleman, possessing in large measure those rare qualities of soul which are found only in those whose lives are linked with God and whose faith is centered in things eternal. Thus he brought to his life as a Christian a devotion and a loyalty which more than anything else makes a man worthy to bear the name of his Lord. As head of a Christian institution of learning he emphasized, both by precept and example, those Christian ideals of man-hood and womanhood upon which civilization rests and without which there can be no hope for a better world.
His mind was a vast storehouse of knowledge. He had an under-standing mind and few man could see more clearly the meaning of world events and world trends than did Dr. Clime. People listened to him as one who knew, and who was able to interpret for them things that were beyond their grasp. He had a prophetic mind. Because of his knowledge of the past, his understanding of the present and his ability to interpret, he was able to predict with rare accuracy things to come. This, too, was an evidence of his faith in God, whose will is supreme and whose purposes are eternal.
Dr. Cline was a man of magnanimous spirit; so elevated in soul that it was impossible for him to stoop to little things or to be greatly influenced by the littleness of others. Those who were intimately associated with him knew full well that criticism or any misunderstanding of his motives hurt him very much, as they would any sensitive soil who sought only that which was right and good. But in his heart there was no bitterness toward any man and the spirit of revenge was foreign to his very being. This was true because he loved people, loved them too much to hate anyone,, and in return people loved him, loved him for himself.
As head of a Church school it should never be forgotten that Dr. Cline was preeminently a Churchman. He was that before he came to Centenary, and he was that through all the years of his association with this college. His ideals were Christian ideals, his attitudes were Christian attitudes and his influence, on both old and young, was a Christian influence. He was a true man, full of faith and good works.
Dr. Cline was connected with Centenary College - for more than twenty years, first as a valued member of the faculty and for the past ten years as its honored president. With full appreciation of the valuable service rendered by others, it can be said that no man has made. a larger or a more lasting contribution to this institution than he. Quietly, and by the sheer force of his towering, personality, he added luster to the honorable name of Centenary College. He turned the thoughts of people toward this institution as something that was worth their interest, and as offering to them an opportunity to make an investment in human life. Because they believed in him they believed in Centenary College, and in the minds of most people to think of one was to think of the other. It is recognized fact that men of means invest their money in an institution largely because of their confidence in the man, or men, who direct its affairs, and it is simple truth to say that the enlarged Centenary of which we are now so proud, with its magnificent buildings and increased facilities, has been made possible because men believed in the ability and the integrity of Dr. Cline. He laid no claim to genius and it never entered his mind that he possessed rare gifts. But he was a genius, if by ‘that we mean the ability to do big things on a grand scale and do them with die humility and the simplicity of a little child. The student body loved him, loved him for himself, because of what he was, a man with a heart of gold to whom they could go with their problems and find sym-pathy and understanding and guidance.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 82-84, 1943 by F. M. Freeman.

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