Florida school chooses Centenary’s president as its new leader

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SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. David Rowe has much to be proud of after more than six years as President of Centenary College. When he took the helm in August 2009, Dr. Rowe challenged Centenary to “define church-related liberal arts education for the 21st Century.” The College responded by globalizing students’ educational experiences, shoring up institutional finances and integrating the College’s curricular and co-curricular offerings.

Today, Dr. Rowe announced he is leaving the Shreveport school next year to lead Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida. He will remain at Centenary through July 1, 2016.

“Leading in a different educational sector will pose a new and exciting set of learning and growth challenges for me,” he wrote in a message to the Shreveport campus, “but I am so fortunate to be able to draw on the learning and growth that each of you made possible for me here at Centenary.”

Lake Highland Preparatory School serves 2,000 pre-K through grade 12 students. It is the eighth largest member of the National Association of Independent Schools in the U.S.

LHPS Board Chairman David Jablonski is delighted with their choice of president. “As a successful CEO, an educator, and a parent, Dr. David Rowe brings a breadth and depth of vision and experience that will propel Lake Highland on its mission to be the School of Opportunity for all our students. We are very pleased he will be joining Lake Highland as President.”

George D. Nelson, Jr., Chair of the Centenary College Board of Trustees, issued a statement on behalf of the board. “I salute David for his leadership in positioning Centenary to compete in a challenging higher education landscape. My colleagues and I hate to see him go, but we send our best wishes and support to him and his family as they begin their transition to Florida. We have begun to talk with search firms and will soon form a presidential search committee that will be inclusive of the various College stakeholders.”

Dr. Rowe became the 30th president of Centenary College at a time when, he says, “most small liberal arts colleges found themselves at existential crossroads.”

New Centenary students now begin their college career with an international experience.  Under Dr. Rowe’s leadership, Centenary developed the Centenary in Paris program, during which all first-year students participate in an immersive academic August term which includes a ten-day trip to Paris. Students also earn “Passport Points” by attending campus cultural events which can be redeemed for up to $2,000 towards a second international educational experience. As a result, more than 70% of Centenary students have completed some form of international educational experience, and that percentage is expected to grow.

Other structural changes make it possible for students to “Do More in Four” years at Centenary, including earning a Bachelor’s degree in a traditional arts and sciences field and a professional Master’s degree within four years at no extra cost.

During Rowe’s tenure the faculty identified three 21st Century Global Challenges with which every Centenary graduate should be able to engage: Living a Meaningful Life, Living a Sustainable Life and Expanding Our Circles of Relationships.

Centenary also moved from being unranked by US News and World Report into that publication’s top tier of national liberal arts colleges. Centenary is currently Louisiana’s only Tier One National Liberal Arts College.

Forbes recently awarded Centenary the only “A” grade in the state for college and university financial health. Charitable giving to Centenary under Dr. Rowe’s leadership totals just over $50 million.

Prior to Centenary College, Dr. Rowe served as Vice President for Advancement at LaGrange College, LaGrange, Georgia.