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Katherine Turner Cheesman, Jimmy Turner to Organize 50th Reunion for Class of '47

Contact: Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service
318-869-5120 or 869-5709

SHREVEPORT, LA--"This has to be the first time that a brother and sister have organized a 50th Class Reunion at Centenary," Katherine Cheesman said with a laugh. She and her brother Jimmy will be planning the activities for the Class of 1947 for Alumni Weekend set for March 13-15 next year.

Both Katherine and Jimmy feel this is a time to celebrate. They agree that "to be a 50-year survivor of college graduation is a special achievement these days." And they plan to make the 50th reunion a memorable, happy occasion.

Among special activities will be a tour of the City of Shreveport on Saturday afternoon during Alumni Weekend. Jimmy has been conducting tours of the city for ten years and reports that he has many tales to relate.

Katherine is also coordinating plans for the overall weekend after having been inspired by the successful 65th reunion of the Maroon Jackets in March 1996. "At the Maroon Jacket reunion everyone had so many great memories and good times to share--surely we can capture that spirit at class reunions, too," she said.

In his retirement, Jimmy is maintaining the accounting records for Walter Hawkins Real Estate Co. Katherine retired from First Baptist Church as business administrator and is an active trustee of Centenary College, having served since 1970.

Both remember their college years as a significant time in the history of Centenary College. The 1947 class was the first big graduating class for veterans who came back to school after World War II. It was a time of major change for the college, with its enrollment burgeoning from 350 to 1558 students registering at mid-semester as young GIs claimed the GI Bill to get a college degree.

Small classes exploded into big classes and new teachers joined the faculty to teach the student body which had quadrupled. Social life, which had languished during the war, gathered momentum. Through all the changes, however, Centenary continued to maintain its high standard of excellence.

Plans for a greater Centenary took shape under the inspired leadership of President Joe J. Mickle. The Science Building and Chapel became a reality.

The Turner siblings are looking forward to reminiscing with their classmates from this significant era in the life of Centenary. After all, those were the days.