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Contact: Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120, lstewart@centenary.edu

Centenary Kicks Off Academic Year with President's Convocation Program by Noted Jack London Authorities Drs. Earle Labor and Jeanne Reesman; 3 Eminent Scholars Chairs to be Installed

Dr. Milo Shepard

Dr. Jeanne Reesman

Dr. Earle Labor

SHREVEPORT, LA – The 100th anniversary of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild is the theme of Centenary College’s annual President’s Convocation, which kicks off the 2003-04 academic year. The public program will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26 in Centenary’s Brown Memorial Chapel.

Speakers will be two noted London authorities: Dr. Earle Labor, who is Centenary’s George A. Wilson Chair of American Literature, and Dr. Jeanne Campbell Reesman, a 1977 Centenary graduate, who is Ashbel Smith Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Labor is an internationally renowned London scholar who has more than 80 scholarly articles and reviews, as well as 12 books, to his credit. He is nearing completion of his definitive biography of London, Jack London: An American Life, which has been contracted with Farrar, Straus & Giroux. His convocation remarks are titled “Centenary, Jack London and the Good Shepards.”

The title refers to a special guest at the event, Dr. I. Milo Shepard, great-nephew of Jack London. Shepard manages the Jack London Ranch, Vineyards and Estate in Glen Ellen, Calif. He is benefactor of the Jack London Collection housed in the Samuel P. Peters Building at Centenary. The collection is currently on display at the Meadows Museum of Art and will continue through Nov. 16.

Dr. Reesman has a number of books, including two co-authored with Labor. She is executive coordinator of the Jack London Society and was honored by the Jack London Foundation as the "Jack London Woman of the Year" in 1995. She will speak on “Answering the Call: Life after Centenary.”

Centenary will also install three faculty members in prestigious Board of Regents Eminent Scholars Chairs. They are Dr. Cynthia J. Brame, the Mattie Allen Broyles Inaugural-Year Research Chair; Dr. Ronald A. Martin, the Albert Sklar Chair in Chemistry and Dr. David A. Stafford, the Bill and Sarah James Chair of Psychology.

The annual convocation, held this year on the second day of fall semester classes, also gives special recognition of this year’s senior class, who march in academic regalia, and to the incoming first-year students, who join the procession and sit is reserved seats.

The program will also include the anthem “A Festive Psalm” by the Centenary College Choir under the direction of Dr. Will K. Andress, organ music by Dr. Hollice Watson, presentation of the Honor Code book by Honor Court Chief Justice Alex Lu, invocation by Chaplain Betsy B. Eaves, and benediction by Trustees Chairman William G. Anderson.

Leading the processional will be Dr. Labor, who is also grand marshal, and Dr. Rosemary Seidler, who is faculty marshal and professor of chemistry.

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