Centenary Inducts Newest Member Into Hall of Fame; Honors Other Alumni
SHREVEPORT, La.— Lieutenant General John Spencer Hardy, Class of 1938, was inducted into the Centenary College Hall of Fame January 29 during the Centenary College Annual Alumni Awards Dinner. The award is the highest honor given by the Alumni Association and recognizes Centenary graduates who have distinguished themselves in both their profession and in service to others as well as the college.
In addition, the Alumni Association also presented its Honorary Alumna designation to Carolyn Querbes Nelson and Victoria Lefevers, Professor Emeritus; the Alumni Loyalty Award to Jane Hutchinson James, Class of 1957; and the Young Alumni Leadership Award to Denis Poljak, Class of 1994.
All five honorees were recognized at the Centenary Alumni Awards Dinner during Homecoming Weekend festivities. The honorees were recognized for:
Alumni Hall of Fame: Lt. Gen. John Spencer Hardy, Class of 1938
David Rowe, John Spencer Hardy, and Cindy Gleason Johnson '81
Lieutenant Gen. John Spencer Hardy has served his country and Centenary College well. A retired United States Air Force lieutenant general and 1938 graduate of Centenary, Hardy was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the College in 1971 and became a Life Member in 2005. He funded the John Spencer Hardy and Elizabeth Virginia Doyle Hardy Endowed Professorship in memory of his first wife, who also graduated from Centenary in 1938. In addition to his role as a Trustee, he also served as the 1938 Class Agent for many years. Hardy was a "non-traditional" student, attending classes while stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. HE was a career officer in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1935 until 1970 having been commissioned a second lieutenant in 1937. In 1942 he went to England where he served with The Eighth air Force and was named Chief of Operations in 1943. For his work during this period of massive airpower buildup in England, he received the Distinguished Service Medal. Lt. Gen. Hardy is the epitome of an alumnus who has made a meaningful, lifelong connection to his alma mater. He and his wife, Norma Ann, attend virtually every special event the College holds, and can be found at least three days a week in the Fitness Center. For his impressive career of service to our country and his enduring commitment to Centenary College, the National Alumni Association is pleased to induct Lt. Gen. Spencer Hardy into the Alumni Hall of Fame.
Honorary Alumna: Carolyn Querbes Nelson
David Rowe, Carolyn Querbes Nelson, and Cindy Gleason Johnson '81
Carolyn Querbes Nelson comes from a family that has supported Centenary for many years, even though none of them graduated from the College. Carolyn is certainly no exception to the list of generous Nelson family supporters. Much of her time is devoted to the Meadows Museum of Art where she serves as a Life Member of the Board of the Friends of the Meadows. Her generous contributions of time, talent and treasure are invaluable to the operation. She understands just how essential contributions such as these are to the success of the museum since she served as one of its directors after it opened in 1976. Carolyn currently serves on the board of the Robinson Film Center, an important community partner with Centenary College, where she is a strong advocate of its many educational offerings. Following her father's death in 2004, she financed the remolding and decorating of the conference room in Centenary's administration building. The beautiful Nelson Board Room now serves as a permanent home for many of her father's books, papers and pieces of art. She also funded the George D. Nelson Sr. Endowed Professorship in memory of her father on behalf of the family. Carolyn has adopted Centenary as if it was her own alma mater and has left her mark of excellence on the campus. The National Alumni Association is pleased to make it official by naming her Honorary Alumna 2010.
Honorary Alumna: Victoria Lefevers, Ph.D., Professor Emerita
David Rowe, Victoria Lefevers, and Cindy Gleason Johnson '81
Dr. Vicki Lefevers came to Centenary College at the very beginning of her career and has not left since. She will not let a little thing like retirement keep her away from the place that she has loved and called home for nearly 30 years. Vicki is still an important part of the campus community and adds value to any experience that she shares with (now fellow) alumni. Prior to her retirement in the spring of 2009, Dr. Lefevers was Professor and Chair of the Health & Exercise Science Department and served on every faculty committee at some point during her tenure. She has received degrees from Southern Arkansas University and Texas Women's University, but as one of her nominator's stated, "...her life's service has been to Centenary College and she has been a solid rock to her students, advisees and student-athletes for decades." Vicki is known for her commitment to helping others, usually going beyond the call of duty for her students, colleagues and friends, As another nominator put it, "Vicki is a great source of comfort for friends in need or in difficult or stressful situations. She has a great compassion." Whether she is taking photographs at alumni events, driving those who otherwise would not be able to attend, or showing up to say hello and give a pat on the back to former students when they visit, Vicki is always supporting alumni relations efforts in some way. She truly deserves the distinction of Honorary Alumna 2010.
Alumni Loyalty Award: Jane Hutchinson James, Class of 1957
David Rowe, Jane Hutchinson James, and Cindy Gleason Johnson '81
Ms. Jane James is a longtime supporter of Centenary College having involved herself in many aspects of the College. Currently a Trustee, Jane previously served on the President's Advisory Council, is a member of the Women's Endowment Quorum and recently joined the Paul Marvin Brown Planned Gift Society, Jane is quick to support Centenary projects in their earliest stages, which shows her belief and confidence in her alma mater. These convictions were evident when she stepped forward as the lead donor to the student-initiated Leadership Fountain project as well as when she made a substantial lead gift to the Centenary's Fulfill the Promise campaign. Jane continues to fund the Charles Moore Hutchinson Endowed Scholarship and makes annual gifts to the Great Teachers and Scholars Fund as well. Her ongoing financial commitment to the College covers three important areas: unrestricted annual support; designated, capital support; and endowed and legacy gift support. She and her husband, D.R. James, live in El Dorado, Ark., but keep a home in Shreveport for their frequent visits to her hometown and Centenary. With a generosity of spirit that shines through in her warm smile and friendly demeanor, Jane is always a welcomed sight on campus and is a most deserving recipient of this year's Alumni Loyalty Award.
Young Alumni Leadership Award: Denis Poljak, 1994
David Rowe, Denis Poljak, and Cindy Gleason Johnson '81
Denis Poljak believes in giving back to those who have helped him succeed. He came to Centenary from Bosnia and Herzegovina on a tennis scholarship and quickly became a permanent member of the Centenary Community. His parents and brother Davor '95 have also made Shreveport their home, He even brought his wife, Susannah Walter, back home from New Orleans, and they love raising their son, Thomas, here. Denis has a successful career as First Vice President and Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney where he works with a select group of high net worth clients and their families. He received his CIMA® designation from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and his CFP® from the College of Financial Planning. He completed his MBA at Louisiana Tech University in 2003 and is preparing to defend his dissertation for a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Sarajevo. It is important to him to complete his educational circle by earning his Ph.D. from his homeland. But Shreveport is clearly his home now and he continues to give back to Centenary in many ways. Poljak has served on the Alumni Association Board, returned to campus to speak to business and international students, started the Coach Jimmy Harrison Endowed Scholarship in memory of his beloved coach and mentor, and has asked fellow tennis alumni to join him in supporting it. He is a longtime supporter of the C-Club, has been a corporate sponsor of the Center for Family-Owned Business, and makes annual gifts to the College personally as well. We are fortunate that this young alumnus chose to make Centenary his home in the early 1990s, and we are grateful for this opportunity to recognize and thank him for his ongoing leadership and support.